There is an item in PLoS ONE on one of my favorite topics: Wikipedea. This study examines the Dynamics of Conflicts in Wikipedia
… we build up samples of controversial and peaceful articles and analyze the temporal characteristics of the activity in these samples. On short time scales, we show that there is a clear correspondence between conflict and burstiness of activity patterns, and that memory effects play an important role in controversies. On long time scales, we identify three distinct developmental patterns for the overall behavior of the articles. We are able to distinguish cases eventually leading to consensus from those cases where a compromise is far from achievable. Finally, we analyze discussion networks and conclude that edit wars are mainly fought by few editors only.
Sounds like trolls to me.
This is one of more interesting graphs produced by Science (the practice, not te magazine) to date this year:
Bottom line: Conflict and “editorial wars” are actually fairly uncommon, but those uncommon cases consume a large amount of editorial resource. The research shows that consensus is usually reached in a short amount of time (but the story is more complex … see the origination article for details).
What the article does NOT address is the quality of the article when the consensus is reached. I do not personally regard “consensus” as the ideal objective.
Yasseri, T., Sumi, R, Rung, A, Kornai, A, & Kertész, J (2102). Dynamics of conflicts in Wikipedia PLoS ONE, 7 (6) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0038869