Mapping Controversies: Abortion Debate

Could it be that Wikipedia’s heavy focus on the legal part of the debate is a way of bypassing the more unclear parts of the controversy?Visual network of the all the 1052 pages linked to from the text body of our dataset.

We then removed all nodes which was only linked to once.

Colouring was made with the modularity tool.

Made with Gephi.

Regions, Religion and Regulation:Prevalence of regional notions shown by size.

For understanding how the topic unfolded in different regions, we investigated the prevalence of several english speaking countries.

By conducting a keyword search for national terms and grouping these (i.


“Irish”, “Ireland” and “Irishmen”) we see two geographical clusters (Canadian and Irish), closely related to that made by the modularity tool.

We furthermore see that American notions heavily influences the network.

Prevalence of religious notions shown by size.

We found great interest in the green cluster, which is a result from using the modularity tool.

To explore this, we made keyword searches for Islam, Judaism, Christianity and Catholicism.

Each constructed by searching for several words covering the faith (i.


“muslim” and “Islam”).

By comparing these we both see that religion is greatly related to each other, all of them being very present in the bottom left, while also seeing their differences as with Catholics being more present in the “Irish” section.

Prevalence of different juridical terms shown by size.

When investigating the networks we noted that a large part of linked pages were of court cases.

We therefore decided to investigate the extent of this topic influencing the debate.

We see that “law” heavily affects the debate allover, while “court case” is mostly situated in the upper left, with a majority being within the orange cluster.

Most interesting is perhaps the differences between prohibition and regulation (both groups composed by the verb and noun).

We see that prohibition is more prominent within the “religious” green cluster.

This might be due the religious communities being more prone to talk about prohibiting abortion, whereas regulation might be more of a juridical topic.

As some clusters also have a geographical resemblance (as argued above) the differences here might be due to either culture or language differences.

Semantically unfolding the hairball:We made a semantic analysis using the program CoreTexT.

We expected the centrality of United States to be lessened, due to the programs normalization of weights (prioritizing unique connections higher than common connections).

The fact that the term “United States” is in orange, is as commonly used in the text related to abortion debate, does not contradict a bias towards English speaking nations.

If we follow the edge between the largest orange node onwards to the largest green node we see a semantic connection between “the United States” and “Supreme Court”.

While it is fairly easy to explain why these two would be connected, because of the legal institution “the Supreme Court of the United States”, we also see that the “Supreme Court” acts as a bridge node for a cluster with a canadian abortion theme.

This furthermore support our understanding of an english speaking bias.

If we continue upwards from the orange and the dark green cluster symbolising the united states with their legal system and a Canadian equivalent, we find another court-related cluster in yellow.

This is also focused on the U.


courts but not only on a Supreme Court level.

At the bottom of the picture we find a connection between “Catholic”, “March for Life”, “John Paul II” and “Decriminalising abortion”.

this tells us that the english speaking countries on Wikipedia, presents abortion as a legal matter while we mostly see “Europe” and “France” in relation to religion and women’s rightsNetwork of co-occurring noun phrases extracted through semantic analysis using CorTexT.

Timelines and politics:The point we are trying to make with the timeline visualization of edits in both the wikipedia pages on the Eighth and the Thirty-sixth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland, is that they both go through the same process of editing.

All four graphs have similar spikes around the same months.

While the Thirty-sixth Amendment is a new wikipedia page created on the 18 January 2018, you can see how the spikes in revision amount and unique users involved in the editing are connected by time period.

A similar trend is visible on the visualizations of the editing history of the eighth amendment.

While we know from reading the content of the eighth amendment of the Constitution of Ireland that it forbids the use of abortion, and that the thirty-six amendment opens up for the possibility to circumvent the eighth amendment if need be.

The content of the two wikipedia pages explains the connection between the two and the need for the simultaneous revision of the two pages.

The similar spikes we see within the editing community from unique user activity shows the relevance of the changes.

We analyse the number of unique editors on both pages as an indicator of a political change to the two amendments of the Constitution of Ireland.

Revision history of the Wikipedia page concerning the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland.

Revision history of the Wikipedia page concerning Thirty-sixth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland.

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