The negotiation of contributions in public wikis
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
This dance expresses the textuality and forms of dialogue which are typical of public wikis.
It uses “participatory processes” to reflect in the dance, the dimension of participation underlying the study. We have collectively created the choreographical line of the dance, from the following principle: a gesture is a word, a sentence begins with a letter, is followed by development and a conclusion (movement closing the sequence). It is also possible to dialogue, by observing and incorporating pieces of other sentences. Because it was participatory, the dancers were able to develop a personal phrasing which would be their contribution to a public wiki.
The two first dancers are programmers. They create the wiki (the space where the actions take place), represented here by the circle. They encode a few lines, implement packages, then create a homepage. Their role is then to maintain the device.
I appear in the dance reflecting my role, being the researcher who passes by, looks at the layout and chooses to observe what happens.
The first contributions are individual, some contributors approach, curious about the invitation created by this open space, some of them are timid to cross the line.But as we are in a epistemic project, readability and legitimacy of the overal production is important. Gradually, tension arises (dance becomes violent) about the utility of each contribution. To break the tension, someone imposes silence and proposes to "negotiate" for a collective solution.
A first negotiation takes place. This is a fan shaped discussion. A asks a question, B responds by dancing back at A, C also interacts only with A, D also directs its movement to A. Whether on the lists or on discussion pages, fan threads rarely seem to lead to the creation of knowledge: B, C, D do not communicate with each other and every proposal ignores the previous one.
A second type of negotiation is proposed, this time of a linear form. When A proposes a movement, B answers to A, C then turns to B and D replies to C. It is in the linear thread that uncertain knowledge is discussed in depth. The actions of everyone are taken up and discussed: the group tries to solve an epistemic question.Some focus on the content (looking at her hands), some focus on the social link (large movements).
Contribution negotiations within linear threads, attention to the content and attention to the social links lead to the creation of a collective text where the dancers finally work together, adding bits of text and achieving an aesthetic collective choreography.
Because these contributions are public, the researcher as any informed reader, has access to the rich history of contributions and shows up in the end, looking at her material.
Finally, the music chosen, is by D'incise, the author of free music that accompanied the end of my writing. To know more about the inspiration and the process of this fantastic experiment, please see the “Wiki-dance / Making of” at vimeo.com/14399403.