Joseph Reagle

ʤoʊzəfrigəl 🔉

JOH-sehf REE-gehl 🔉

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blog · cv

Wikipedia @ 20 Hacking Life

Reading the Comments Good Faith Collaboration

I like to learn, share, and help. I write and teach about popular culture, digital communication, and online communities. Presently, my focus is on online advice forums, especially on Reddit as u/reagle-research.

In 2020, MIT Press published Wikipedia @ 20: Stories of an Incomplete Revolution. In it, scholars, journalists, contributors, and activists reflect on lessons learned, insights gained, and myths busted during their engagement with Wikipedia’s two decades.

Hacking Life: Systematized Living and its Discontents (2019) was an inaugural book in MIT Press’s Strong Ideas series. Hacking Life is about the life hacking approach to a life of too much: Too much work, too much stuff, too many choices. Systematized living allows us to focus, simplify, and block out distractions—at the risk of ignoring those left at the periphery.

Earlier work includes Reading the Comments (2015), in which I argue online discourse is only as bad as we let it be, and it can only be understood by reading the comments at the bottom of the Web. Before that, in Good Faith Collaboration (2010), I argued that Wikipedia is the realization of the centuries-old pursuit of a universal encyclopedia, achieved by way of a novel mission and culture.

I also write about online pop-culture (“infocide” and “FOMO”) and have a handful of papers related to geek feminism. (“Geek Policing: Fake Geek Girls and Contested Attention” is my favorite.)

I am an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Northeastern University. I’ve also had the pleasure of being a fellow (in 1998 and 2010) at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard. During its life, I was honored to serve as an advisor to the Ada Initiative (“supporting women in open technology and culture”).

A long time ago I was a Computer Science student at UMBC. I then moved to Cambridge and completed the Masters program in Technology and Policy at MIT. After a brief time as a consultant in New York City, I returned to the MIT Lab for Computer Science as a policy analyst and W3C/IETF Working Group chair and editor. After almost a decade in Cambridge, I left for New York again to articulate and contextualize my experience with new media and collaborative communities at NYU’s Department of Media, Communication, and Culture. I concluded my graduate studies at NYU with a doctoral dissertation on the history and collaborative culture of Wikipedia. I’ve been able to speak about my work with popular media, including The Economist and The New York Times.

In addition to the publications in my curriculum vitae, you can also read my research blog. If you are bored, you could check out my even older work including student projects from MIT and UMBC, and twenty years’ worth of photos and writing on the Web.

I live in Cambridge; when I travel, I like to visit waterfalls and vegan restaurants. I’m a geek, no doubt, and enjoy walking, biking, baking, photography, and haiku. Much of the walking and biking is with my partner, Nora, and the dogs we’ve had the pleasure to know including Bella, Casper, and Nixie.

Copyright (1997-2024) Joseph Reagle