Gaming against the greater good

  • Ryan McGrady Emerson College
Keywords: Wikipedia, online communities, authority, new media


Wikipedia has grown to be one of the most visited Web sites in the world. Despite its influence on popular culture and the way we think about knowledge production and consumption, the conversation about why and how it works - or whether it's credible at all - is ongoing. This paper began as an examination of what the concept of "authority" means in Wikipedia and what role rhetoric might play in manufacturing this authority. Wikipedia's editors have functioned well as a community, having collaboratively developed a comprehensive set of social norms designed to place the project before any individual. Hence ideas like authority and rhetoric have only marginal roles in day-to-day activities. This paper takes an in-depth look at these norms and how they work, paying particular attention to a relatively new guideline that exemplifies the spirit of the Wikipedia community - "Gaming the system."

Author Biography

Ryan McGrady, Emerson College
Ryan McGrady is a New Media Studies graduate student in the department of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College (Boston).
How to Cite
McGrady, R. (2009). Gaming against the greater good. First Monday, 14(2).