Information Fortification: An Online Citation Behavior

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Association for Computing Machinery
In this multi-method study, we examine citation activity on English-language Wikipedia to understand how information claims are supported in a non-scientific open collaboration context. We draw on three data sources-edit logs, interview data, and document analysis-to present an integrated interpretation of citation activity and found pervasive themes related to controversy and conflict. Based on this analysis, we present and discuss information fortification as a concept that explains online citation activity that arises from both naturally occurring and manufactured forms of controversy. This analysis challenges a workshop position paper from Group 2005 by Forte and Bruckman, which draws on Latour's sociology of science and citation to explain citation in Wikipedia with a focus on credibility seeking. We discuss how information fortification differs from theories of citation that have arisen from bibliometrics scholarship and are based on scientific citation practices.