Productive Wikis: How Reviewer and User Bias Shape Perceptions of Text
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This thesis looked at how bias manifested among writers, readers, and editors of ten texts within a collaborative environment. Specifically, the study examined the observations of the thirty participants within an online environment to evaluate shifts in viewpoint in how they regarded the texts when comparing versions created by a single writer and versions that had been edited by multiple participants. A “wiki” environment was used for the study. This “wiki” environment, akin to more a strictly regulated version of the Wikipedia project, allowed the study to tightly classify participants into exclusive roles of writer, editor, or reviewer. These roles were then used to analyze how participants interacted with the text based upon their designation as a writer, editor, or reviewer of the text. By comparing these results and the narratives of the case study, the thesis examines the merits of statistical and humanistic evaluation in technical communication with an eye toward the need for terministic clarity in emergent technologies. In this study, the wiki provides the core cipher for that discussion by evaluating the use of this case study’s wiki environment in comparison to other existing wikis to determine how this difference in codification affected the study’s results.