distribution of resilience

Assume that (our understanding of) the changeability of information in Wikipedia has undergone the trajectory of categories. In other words, it has undergone a trajectory from binary (something either is/isn't information, so all entries are equally subject to change) to spectral (some information is more x [insert metric, e.g. politically charged] than other information, so some entries are more subject to change than others) to typological (there are different types of information, so entries for different types of information have different subjectivities to change). If subjectivity to change sounds too subjective, use the word resilience, then check the history of an entry, and track how often changes have been made. The entry for science has been resilient for a while whereas that for social network has undergone lots of change recently.

The broader question is: how to categorize information into different types? And more specifically: what typology would emerge if information were categorized according to its resilience in Wikipedia? One possibility is information hierarchy, which splits the enchilada into data, information, knowledge, and wisdom. Considering that data is used to generate information, which is used to create knowledge, and so on, wisdom may be the least likely to change. But Wikipedia is only about information. Hmm. Another possibility is Funtowicz & Ravetz’s post-normal science, which splits it up into applied science, professional consultancy, and post-normal science (see image). But again, Wikipedia is about information; not science. (I’m aware that I’m littering this post with Wikipedia links, but if you don’t know the difference between information and science, check the talk pages of both entries in Wikipedia.) Still, these two typologies may be illuminating. Re information hierarchy, could information be categorized into concentric types? And re post-normal science, F&R’s axes of choice are decision stakes and systems uncertainty for science; what would be the relevant axes for information?

Wikipedia has been criticized for advertising itself as the encyclopedia anyone can edit, yet being increasingly resilient to editage; I’d argue that only certain types of information are increasingly resilient. At the net level, there’s a trade-off between editability/dynamism and quality/governance. But if you look at the distribution of resilience across all entries, there certainly is one.

Plus, their resilience to change itself changes through time. The entry for science was malleable, but as Wikipedia's governance system emerged, it has become more resilient, to the point of having been on lockdown at a few points along the way...