Contentious categories

Katherine Thornton


Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia created entirely of user‐generated content. Roughly two years after Wikipedia began, the community decided to create a category system to organize the content of the site. The category system has changed over time, as have conceptualizations of what role it should serve in Wikipedia. In this paper, I consider six months of discussion about the design and implementation of the category system in Wikipedia. I analyze the comments editors shared and attempt to understand how these early decisions shaped the category system as it currently exists.

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