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Author Bio & Research Blog


Good Faith Collaboration

The Culture of Wikipedia

Joseph Michael Reagle Jr.
Foreword by Lawrence Lessig

The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

Web edition, Copyright © 2011 by Joseph Michael Reagle Jr. CC-NC-SA 3.0

(Partial) Japanese translation


Wikipedia's style of collaborative production has been lauded, lambasted, and satirized. Despite unease over its implications for the character (and quality) of knowledge, Wikipedia has brought us closer than ever to a realization of the centuries-old pursuit of a universal encyclopedia. Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia is a rich ethnographic portrayal of Wikipedia's historical roots, collaborative culture, and much debated legacy.


Praise for Good Faith Collaboration

"Reagle offers a compelling case that Wikipedia's most fascinating and unprecedented aspect isn't the encyclopedia itself — rather, it's the collaborative culture that underpins it: brawling, self-reflexive, funny, serious, and full-tilt committed to the project, even if it means setting aside personal differences. Reagle's position as a scholar and a member of the community makes him uniquely situated to describe this culture." —Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing

"Reagle provides ample data regarding the everyday practices and cultural norms of the community which collaborates to produce Wikipedia. His rich research and nuanced appreciation of the complexities of cultural digital media research are well presented. Stylistically, the book was a pleasure to read. Good Faith Collaboration is an important contribution to understanding the collaborative culture of media production and the open content community. The production processes and practices of Wikipedia represent a fascinating tale in media ethnography." —Lee Humphreys, Journal of Communication.

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"Joseph Reagle's account of what makes Wikipedia tick debunks the vision of a shining Alexandria gliding towards free and perfect knowledge and replaces it with something far more awe-inspiring: a humane, and human, enterprise that with each fitful back-and-forth elicits the best from those it draws in. In an era of polemic and cheap shots that some attribute largely to the Internet's influence, he shows how even those of wildly varying backgrounds who disagree intensely can see themselves as embarked on a common, ennobling mission grounded in respect and reason." —Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School and Kennedy School, Professor of Computer Science, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and author of The Future of the Internet — And How to Stop It

"Joseph Reagle is one of a very few people who are both deeply engaged participants in online community and first-rate scholars of it. In Good Faith Collaboration he provides the best explanation to date of how a communally created encyclopedia went from 'crazy idea' to the most important reference work in the English language in less than ten years, and what Wikipedia's massive global experiment in its collaborative culture means for the future of ours." —Clay Shirky, NYU, author of Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations

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