The front stage and the back stage – the Wikipedia community’s treatment of ‘Je suis Charlie’

Activity: Talk or presentationScience to science


This study examines Wikipedia’s encyclopaedic representation of the slogan ‘Je suis Charlie’, how it has changed over time and how Wikipedia editors have negotiated the meaning of the slogan on the Wikipedia discussion page associated with the slogan.
Although one of the most visited sites on the internet (Alexa, 2016), Wikipedia has not been subject to in-depth linguistic research attention - scholarly work on the website has mostly focused on e.g. issues connected to the idea of Neutral Point of View (NPOV) in Wikipedia articles different aspects of Wikipedia authorship and collaboration and conflict resolution on Wikipedia (e.g. Borra et al., 2015; Emigh & Herring, 2005; Greenstein & Zhu, 2012). Furthermore, KhosraviNik discusses the more general point of social media in linguistic research and, in the course of this discussion, classifies Wikipedia as one example of a social media platform (KhosraviNik, 2016).
Still, contrary to other social media, Wikipedia has a definitive common goal, namely the creation of an encyclopaedia that attempts to present the Neutral Point Of View (NPOV) on issues in Wikipedia articles, Goffman’s front stage (Goffman, 1959; Tannen & Trester, 2013). In order to facilitate the collaborative creation of a comprehensive and NPOV encyclopaedia, each article page is accompanied by a Talk Page (TP), the back stage (Goffman, 1959; Tannen & Trester, 2013), which allows Wikipedians to discuss editing and content decisions regarding the article in question. Additionally, the website allows almost real-time creation of new articles and permits site visitors to access past versions of an article to observe change over time.
Thus Wikipedia permits an examination of how a current topic – the slogan Je suis Charlie (JSC) – is treated and how this treatment might have changed over time. Specifically, the site allows an insight into a) what the Wikipedia community considers/has considered the NPOV
Period16 Jul 201721 Jul 2017
Event titleInternational Pragmatics Association
Event typeUnkonwn
Degree of RecognitionInternational

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

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