Cross-linguistic controversy shapes - MSc Thesis

Wikipedia is one of the main sources of information to which people access when they need a fast information (alexa.com). The encyclopedia is now available in 288 linguistic editions (May 2015), written and maintained by more than thirty-nine million registered users worldwide.

The collaborative creation of Wikipedia’s contents not only guarantees a large coverage of topics but also facilitates a quick update of the entries, according to their current state of development. But, at the same time, the different training of users who edits and the delicacy of some topics might make the creation process more difficult. To overcome the problem, the Wikipedia communities drew up a series of guidelines, including the invite to maintaining a neutral point of view (NPOV). Users are therefore required to produce articles that “represent quite proportionally and, as far as possible, without bias, all significant positions views collected from reliable sources”.
But what happens when a topic takes on a different meaning depending on the cultural background? Culture is a factor that strongly affects the construction of knowledge and plays an important role in critical issues profiling. The same neutrality is culturally subjective and can not be reduced to an universal definition: cultural differences influences the structure of articles, the contents contained in it and produces a uneven distribution of changes activity between the page’s sections, dictated by the interests of the community. The goal of the project is to verify how much of the cultural perception of a controversial issue can emerge using a semi-automated analysis to examine more language versions of the same article. The final output of the survey is a panoramic view of ideologies, priorities and behaviours own of different editions users which emerges in their linguistic definition of a particular social controversy.

Team Credits

Marta Croce

  • Graphic Designer Freelance
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Marta Croce
Graphic Designer Freelance