The article in this issue researches the importance of peer review in a decision involving promotion. The promotion is not for tenure but for Wikipedia Adminship. Kordzadeh and Kreider use logistic regression for their analysis since the decision is binary. The article is both interesting and important.
Since Wikipedia either is or is becoming (depending upon your view) one of the most trusted sources of popular information it is an interesting journey to understand how those administrators entrusted with the accuracy and truthfulness of Wikipedia content is sustained. The increasing volume of Wikipedia articles, over 37 million, and the growing number of specialty fields within Wikipedia require the addition of new adminships. For the reputation of Wikipedia to remain high the process for selecting adminships needs to be viewed as transparent and valid to both the persons seeking adminships and to Wikipedia users in general.
The article is important to academicians who recognize the parallels to their own promotion process. It can be obscure to those wishing promotions. It is embarrassingly obscure to many of the people judging the quality of the person being reviewed. When combined with the additional complexity of how online communities govern themselves. Reading the section on “Online Community Trust in Administrators” reminds me of conversations I’ve had with junior faculty over the years when they ask the question “what do I need to accomplish in research and teaching in order to achieve tenure?”
George Schell, Editor
Revisiting Request for Adminship (RfA) within Wikipedia: How Do User Contributions Instill Community Trust?
Nima Kordzadeh and Christopher Kreider