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Stuart Geiger Published in Information, Communication, and Society - News/Research - Berkeley Center for New Media

Stuart Geiger Published in Information, Communication, and Society

15 Apr, 2014

Stuart Geiger Published in Information, Communication, and Society

BCNM DE R. Stuart Geiger has had his paper "Bots, bespoke code, and the materiality of software platforms" published in Information, Communication, and Society as part of their annual special issue for the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) conference. Best of all, you can download a free copy of the article at Stuart's website!

Check out the abstract below:

Abstract: This article introduces and discusses the role of bespoke code in Wikipedia, which is code that runs alongside a platform or system, rather than being integrated into server-side codebases by individuals with privileged access to the server. Bespoke code complicates the common metaphors of platforms and sovereignty that we typically use to discuss the governance and regulation of software systems through code. Specifically, the work of automated software agents (bots) in the operation and administration of Wikipedia is examined, with a focus on the materiality of code. As bots extend and modify the functionality of sites like Wikipedia, but must be continuously operated on computers that are independent from the servers hosting the site, they involve alternative relations of power and code. Instead of taking for granted the pre-existing stability of Wikipedia as a platform, bots and other bespoke code require that we examine not only the software code itself, but also the concrete, historically contingent material conditions under which this code is run. To this end, this article weaves a series of autobiographical vignettes about the author’s experiences as a bot developer alongside more traditional academic discourse.