Dynamics of Disagreement: Large-Scale Temporal Network Analysis Reveals Negative Interactions in Online Collaboration
Disagreement and conflict are a fact of social life. However, negative interactions are rarely explicitly declared and recorded and this makes them hard for scientists to study. In an attempt to understand the structural and temporal features of negative interactions in the community, we use complex network methods to analyze patterns in the timing and configuration of reverts of article edits to Wikipedia. We investigate how often and how fast pairs of reverts occur compared to a null model in order to control for patterns that are natural to the content production or are due to the internal rules of Wikipedia. Our results suggest that Wikipedia editors systematically revert the same person, revert back their reverter, and come to defend a reverted editor. We further relate these interactions to the status of the involved editors. Even though the individual reverts might not necessarily be negative social interactions, our analysis points to the existence of certain patterns of negative social dynamics within the community of editors. Some of these patterns have not been previously explored and carry implications for the knowledge collection practice conducted on Wikipedia. Our method can be applied to other large-scale temporal collaboration networks to identify the existence of negative social interactions and other social processes.
- Pub Date:
- November 2016
- Computer Science - Social and Information Networks;
- Computer Science - Computers and Society;
- Physics - Physics and Society
- Forthcoming in Scientific Reports