Am I right in thinking Wikipedia gets better studies than blogs? If it is true, it may be because it provides such great data for a study. I used to spend hours and days and weeks comparing two versions of a poem or an essay or a scientific article. So I am astonished to find that Wikipedia has a history page with all previous versions lined up (that alone can take a literary scholar weeks), and then it will compare any two versions and point out the changes. And it says who made the changes, and links to their page, where one can often find what other edits they have made. This huge body of data has been used by a group at IBM Research Laboratories to make 'History Flow' visualisations that show how an article develops (Viégas, Wattenberg and Dave 2004; Viégas, Wattenberg, Kriss and van Ham 2007). The data have also been used (along with some statistics on page views that one can't find on a Wikipedia history page) by Priedhorsky and his colleagues to show the build-up of information on articles, and the effects of vandalism (Priedhorsky, Chen, Lam, Panciera, Turveen and Riedl 2007). Pfeil, Zaphiris, and Ang correlated the kinds of changes made in the different language editions with traits of national cultures drawn from Hofstede (Pfeil, Zaphiris and Ang 2006). And John Jones has used the information in the editors' comments to categorise the kinds of revisions made (for instance, macro or micro) in featured articles and articles that didn't get FA status (Jones 2008). Emigh and Herring (2005) compare the statistics on article length, word length, and various qualitative stylistic features, for Wikipedia, Everything2 (which I hadn't heard of), and the Columbia Encyclopedia, reminding me that Wikipedia's collaborative process is not the only way to do it.
There have also been studies of authorship that go beyond this huge trove of data. Bryant, Forte, and Bruckman (2005)interviewed Wikipedians, and they show some interesting differences of perspective between novice and experienced users. Rosenzweig (2006) has a thoughtful piece that goes beyond his immediate concern, knowledge about history. (He was the first, I think, to raise issues about the style of Wikipedia entries). There have been many magazine articles on Wikipedia, but he most informative and enthusiastic is the novelist Nicholson Baker's review in the New York Review of Books, which captures some of the obsessional quality of editing (2008). He's reviewing Broughton (2008), which is more than it seems from the title, not just a user's manual, but a thoughtful guide to the phenomenon and the practices of Wikipedians. And of the many books coming out now on Wikipedia, the most interesting comments are from Alex Bruns.
And then there are the critics. Most just give a sort of gut response, without much argument or experience with wikis, but I have found interesting remarks in articles by two experienced editors of print encyclopedias (McHenry 2004; Crystal 2007), and in the comments on criticisms by Jaron Lanier (2006).
Baker, N. (2008). The Charms of Wikipedia. New York Review of Books 55(4): 6-10. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/21131
Broughton, J. (2008). Wikipedia: The Missing Manual. Sebastopol, CA, O'Reilly Media.
Bryant, S., A. Forte, et al. (2005). Becoming Wikipedian: Transformation of participation in a collaborative online encyclopedia. Group '05.www.cc.gatech.edu/~asb/papers/bryant-forte-bruckman-group05.pdf
Crystal, D. (2007). On not being a speech therapist. DCBlog. http://david-crystal.blogspot.com/2007_01_01_archive.html
Emigh, W. and S. Herring (2005). Collaborative authoring on the web: A genre analysis fo two on-line encyclopedias. HICSS - 38, IEEE Press
Jones, J. (2008). Patterns of revision in on-line writing: A study of Wikipedia's featured articles. Written Communication 25(2): 262-289
Lanier, J. (2006). Digital Maoism: The hazards of the new online collectivism. The Edge. http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/lanier06/lanier06_index.html
McHenry, R. (2004). The Faith-Based Encyclopedia. TCSDaily: Technology, Commerce, Society. http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=111504A
Pfeil, U., P. Zaphiris, et al. (2006). Cultural differences in collaborative authoring of Wikipedia. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 12(1). http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol12/issue1/pfeil.html
Priedhorsky, R., J. Chen, et al. (2007). Creating, destroying, and restoring value in Wikipedia. Group '07, Sanibel Island, Florida. http://www-users.cs.umn.edu/~reid/papers/group282-priedhorsky.pdf
Rosenzweig, R. (2006). Can History Be Open Source? Wikipedia and the Future of the Past. The Journal of American History: 117-146
Viégas, F., M. Wattenberg, et al. (2004). Studying cooperation and conflict between authors with history flow visualisations. CHI 2004
Viégas, F., M. Wattenberg, et al. (2007). Talk before you type: coordination in Wikipedia. 40th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. http://www.research.ibm.com/visual/papers/wikipedia_coordination_final.pdf