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PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e38869. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0038869. Epub 2012 Jun 20.

Dynamics of conflicts in Wikipedia.

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Department of Theoretical Physics, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Budapest, Hungary.


In this work we study the dynamical features of editorial wars in Wikipedia (WP). Based on our previously established algorithm, we build up samples of controversial and peaceful articles and analyze the temporal characteristics of the activity in these samples. On short time scales, we show that there is a clear correspondence between conflict and burstiness of activity patterns, and that memory effects play an important role in controversies. On long time scales, we identify three distinct developmental patterns for the overall behavior of the articles. We are able to distinguish cases eventually leading to consensus from those cases where a compromise is far from achievable. Finally, we analyze discussion networks and conclude that edit wars are mainly fought by few editors only.

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