Bryant, S. L., Forte, A., & Bruckman, A. (2005). Becoming Wikipedian: Transformation of participation in a collaborative online encyclopedia. In M. Pendergast, K. Schmidt, G. Mark, and M. Acherman (Eds.); Proceedings of the 2005 International ACM SIGGROUP Conference on Supporting Group Work, GROUP 2005, Sanibel Island, FL, November 6-9, pp. 1-10. Retrieved February 7, 2007, from http://www-static.cc.gatech.edu/~aforte/BryantForteBruckBecomingWikipedian.pdf
Curt mentioned that this article is heavily cited in journal articles and conference presentations related to the topic of wikis. I thought the authors provided a thought-provoking analysis of the ways in which novices become enculturated into the Wikipedia community. As individuals become move from novices to "experts" in this community, the roles shift from user to contributor to guardian. While articles tend to note the limitations of the study, the authors' disclosure in this particular piece made me question how generalizable their findings are to the average Wikipedia user.
In the Conclusions, the authors state, "Participants in this study were strategically recruited in ways that ensured awareness of community norms and active participation in community spaces. These were active, committed members." The Ns were also really small in this study - only 9 participants - and these individuals were not necessarily your typical Wikipedia user. Based on this data, it is unclear how the authors can claim that their findings may suggest an "emerging genre." For this group, it is, but expanding the claim beyond that is questionable. This is a rather brief article that is likely an abbreviated version of a much larger document. Thus, it is possible that in the editing process, details that would support the authors' claims were deleted for the sake of space. If not, the authors' conclusion is a stretch.