My Dissertation Now Available

Greetings everyone…My dissertation “Network of Knowledge: Wikipedia as a Sociotechnical System of Intelligence” is now available here on the blog.

It will be permanently downloadable from the About Me page, but I also wanted to put it here on the front page in hopes that it might spur questions and comments.

A huge thanks to all of the bot operators and Wikipedia contributors who participated in the study. I plan to continue this research (once I get the IRB approval at my new institution) and would love to chat with other WP bot operators and people involved in the creation, maintenance, and governance of automated and semi-automated tools. Please email me if you’re interested.

The Problem with Crowdsourcing Crime Reporting

“Crowdsourcing is not entirely flawed in the Mexican context, though. We have seen people in various Mexican cities organize organically to alert one another of violent events, in real time. But these urban crisis management networks do not need institutions to function. However, law enforcement does, unless one is willing to accept lynching and other types of crowd-based law enforcement.” (Andrés Monroy-Hernández, Social Media Collective)

My connectome, myself

Neuroscientist Sebastian Seung is on a quest to map brain connections that reveal how our memories and personalities take root.

My connectome, myself - MIT News

Image: eyewire

” ‘The brain is like a vast jungle of neurons,’ Seung says. ‘They’re like trees that are all tangled up together, and people can help us explore that.’  Participants in the Eyewire project will help guide the computer program when it loses track of where a neuronal extension goes amidst the tangle of neurons.

‘The person can click the mouse and say color here, and the computer starts coloring again, and keeps going, and then stops again when it’s uncertain. So you’re guiding the computer,’ Seung says. Furthermore, the AI system becomes ‘smarter’ as people guide it, so it will need less and less help as it goes on.” (Anne Trafton, MIT News)

For $2 a Star, an Online Retailer Gets 5-Star Product Reviews

For $2 a Star, an Online Retailer Gets 5-Star Product Reviews - New York times

Photo: John Gress for The New York Times

“By the time VIP Deals ended its rebate on late last month, its leather case for the Kindle Fire was receiving the sort of acclaim once reserved for the likes of Kim Jong-il. Hundreds of reviewers proclaimed the case a marvel, a delight, exactly what they needed to achieve bliss. And definitely worth five stars.

As the collective wisdom of the crowd displaces traditional advertising, the roaring engines of e-commerce are being stoked by favorable reviews. The VIP deal reflects the importance merchants place on these evaluations — and the lengths to which they go to game the system.” (David Streitfeld,

Pentagon-funded games would crowdsource weapons testing

Pentagon-funded games would crowdsource weapons testing - Nextgov

Image: Dbrabham - Wikimedia Commons

“As weapons systems have become complex, the military’s methods for verifying that the software running on them is glitch-free and secure against hackers has fallen short. Formal verification is the process analysts use, through the application of mathematical theories, to determine if software code is free from bugs. Crowdsourcing this complicated task would help the Pentagon cut costs while it grapples with a shortage of computer security specialists.” (Dawn Lim, Nextgov)

Shorting Tinseltown

Shorting Tinseltown - New York MagazineHow the failure of the Hollywood Stock Exchange exposed the movie industry’s worst fear: financial transparency.

“Any new business where the criminal possibilities occur to you before the legitimate ones is probably doomed; it doesn’t take much of a mental leap to envision an army of Wilshire Boulevard Bialystocks and Blooms overseeing scams in which one could intentionally produce a bad movie with bankable stars and noisy marketing, short it, and make a mint when it underperforms. (Although then we’d have an explanation for Knight and Day.)” (Mark Harris, New York Magazine)

Check out the Hollywood Stock Exchange yourself (just for fun, of course).