“The right information”: perceptions of information bias among Black Wikipedians

Boryung Ju (School of Library and Information Science, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA)
Brenton Stewart (School of Library and Information Science, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Publication date: 26 September 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine motivators that drive Black Wikipedia contribution. The authors explore motivations around content contribution, effects of gender on motivations and self-perceptions of Black Wikipedia labor.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 318 Black American Wikipedia contributors completed an online survey. The authors employed both quantitative and qualitative methods in the study including descriptive statistics, multivariate (MANOVA) and univariate (ANOVA) analysis of variance to examine gender differences in Wikipedia content contribution. In addition, open-ended responses were evaluated, through content analysis, to make inferences on their perceptions of Wikipedia labor.

Findings

This paper identifies racial identity and perceptions of information quality as strong motivators in content contribution among Black Wikipedians. Motivators are gender variant; men are more motivated than women with the lone exception being racial identity. Additionally, the study identifies Wikipedia as a contested space among Black contributors and is a site of resistance.

Originality/value

Black Wikipedians information activity is a relatively new and understudied phenomenon. This paper presents new insight and a deeper understanding of Black Wikipedians’ motivations for information sharing behaviors in the most popular encyclopedia on the internet.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors share co-first authorship. This study was supported by funding from Brenton Stewart’s Russell Long Professorship.

Citation

Ju, B. and Stewart, B. (2019), "“The right information”: perceptions of information bias among Black Wikipedians", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 75 No. 6, pp. 1486-1502. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-02-2019-0031

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Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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