Wikipolitics

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Discussion

Vasilis Kostakis:

"The advent of Web 2.0 has enabled large scale interactions in unprecedented ways via emerging web technologies such as wikis:

Wikis are sites that support the development of…collective infrastructures that are highly flexible and open, suggesting that the systems that use them will be egalitarian, free, and unstructured. Yet it is apparent that the flexible infrastructure of wikis allows the development and deployment of a wide range of structures…Wikis have captured the imagination of many because…they support unencumbered, highly flexible, very visible, and accessible collaboration...[All] these features have led many…to wax eloquently about the possibility of new types of work and organization which are peer-based, nonhierarchical, non-bureaucratic, emergent, complex, and communal (Butler, Joyce & Pike, 2008, pp. 1101,1108).

Butler, Joyce & Pike (2008, p. 1108) arrive at the conclusion that the “true power of wikis lies in the fact that they are a platform that provides affordances which allow for a wide variety of rich, multifaceted organizational structures”. According to Suoranta and Vaden (2008, p. 11) wikis ideally exemplify the Habermasian potential of digital technology, as they “seem to promise almost limitless global open collaboration in terms of content production, discussion and argumentation”. In our conceptualization of wikipolitics we follow the general vein of the two relevant issues published by Re-public Journal [1]. The concept of wikipolitics is related to the integration of wiki technologies (or wiki like technologies) and values such as openness, mass collaboration, equipotentiality [2], holoptism [3], heterarchy [4], communal evaluation, and sharing (as introduced by Wikipedia) within the production of politics. So, we consider as wikipolitics not only the processes that use, in particular, wiki technologies, but also those which are premised on most of the aforementioned wikivalues. It should be stressed that wikipolitics is only a means to an end and not vice versa; it is not normative by its nature. The focus in the design of democratic information and communication processes, and thus wikipolitis processes, should be premised on procedures, rather than on truthful results (Rawls, 2003). In addition, a great challenge for wikipolitics is to “efficiently steer and correctly administer the information overflow of a very large number of participants” (Hilbert, 2004, p. 21). “New information technologies are not simply tools to be applied, but processes to be developed”, Castells (200, p. 31) points out."

Extensive discussion of wikipolitics in the source paper cited below.

Examples

Deliberatorium

Vasilis Kostakis:

"The first one is the deliberatorium platform –it is still in an experimental phase- that is being developed by Iandoli, Klein & Zollo (2008) and can offer very interesting occasions for investigation. The researchers are trying to create a platform that will allow for collective deliberation, suggestions formulation and decision-making concerning important complex issues such as the climate change. Their platform, which initially was called collaboratorium and now has been renamed to deliberatorium, is relied upon argumentation in order to avoid problems and flaws that the wiki technologies carry. They examine how online virtual communities are working and use certain models of process deliberation. The difference between deliberatorium and wikis is that the former supports the organization of knowledge through reasoning, using argument maps and assessment tools. Those maps outline the formulated ideas and suggestions in such a way that the users can easily monitor and participate in the processes. Empirical results show that for the moment the deliberatorium functions effectively and smoothly containing participants that are dispersed in various geographical areas."


Wikipolitics Greece

Vasilis Kostakis:

"The second wikipolitics project, called wikipolitics, developed by the dominant socialist party in Greece, Pasok and supported by Re-public Journal and the newspaper Ta Nea, is a platform for collaborative politics. Every citizen can participate -providing his/her ideas, comments, views, suggestions and criticism- in the formulation of questions that the parliamentary members of Pasok will present at the sessions in the Greek parliament. To become more specific, the citizens can either submit their comments and suggestions regarding a political thesis/question by a member of the parliament; or propose topics appropriate to be investigated. We will examine later in detail these two wikipolitics cases, but before that we discuss in depth the wikipolitics concept."

More extensive discussion of this case in the source paper cited below.

Source

From the draft version of:

THE ADVENT OF OPEN SOURCE DEMOCRACY AND WIKIPOLITICS Vasilis Kostakis, Institute of Public Administration, Tallinn University of Technology, Ehitajate Tee 5, 19086, Tallinn, Estonia