Friday, May 17, 2013

Study Areas

 This research will take place throughout India, though I will be carrying out much of my research while being based out of Bangalore, India. I have chosen to be based here during the research because the current India Chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation is based here, and their physical presence allows me better access to their resources as well as their activities and events. My interactions and co-operation with the Chapter will help to provide legitimacy to my attempts to engage the editing community, as well as strengthen my ability to gain access to the various Indic-language editing communities.

However, due to the nature of Wikipedia and the Wikipedian community as well as the various other online communities I may choose to engage, I predict that the majority of the fieldwork for this research project will take place in online spaces via online means. Because Wikipedia itself is an online platform that does not possess one single specific physical location, its editing communities also exist predominately in online spaces and tend to be comprised of members from varying geographical locations. This would make it very difficult to interact with multiple editing communities in the physical world; therefore, I plan to use the mailing lists, Village Pumps1 and community pages of each Indic-language Wikipedia project as a means to communicate with and engage with each language-specific editing community. I have chosen these three resources as my “locations” of research as they are the main sites of interaction between the members of each community, and are therefore the principle online spaces where these communities exist.
Further, as the other online communities that I hope to use as research subjects are similarly characterized by their online existence, I will be using each communities' respective mailing list as the main “locations” of my research.

As for those data-gathering activities that must take place in the physical world (such as face-to-face interviews), due to the wide geographical distribution of the members of the editing communities in India, I cannot predict the exact locations where the research will take place at this point in time. However, the locations will most likely be dictated by the physical location of each editor that I would like to use as a research subject.

1 A “Village Pump” is a Wikipedia page that is used to discuss the technical issues, policies and operations of a specific Wikipedia project. Most Indic-language Wikipedia projects have their own Village Pump pages, though Wikipedia India, as it is community of Indian Wikipedians and not a specific Wikipedia project, does not have a Village Pump.

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