About Me

I am a social scientist and technologist. In both roles, I work to understand the social dynamics that shape online communities. My work focuses on communities engaged in the peer production of digital public goods free culture and free software—like Wikipedia and Linux. For most of my life, I have also participated in these communities as an activist, contributor, and leader. I spend most of my time consuming, and increasingly often producing, academic articles, software, blog posts, essays, books and talks.

You can follow my latest musings and projects on my weblog Copyrighteous. I microblog infrequently as mako@social.coop in the Fediverse and as @makoshark on Twitter.

Organizations and Affiliations

My active affiliations include:

  • Community Data Science Collective: I am a member of the Community Data Science Collective (CDSC). The CDSC is an interdisciplinary research group made of up an incredible team of researchers at number of different universities and from the world beyond academe. The collective's work is focused on the study of online communities. Our research is deeply interdisciplinary, most frequently consists of “big data” quantitative analyses, and lies at the intersection of communication, sociology, and human-computer interaction. I founded the CDSC with Aaron Shaw.
  • University of Washington: I am an Associate Professor in the University of Washington Department of Communication. I am also an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Human-Centered Design & Engineering, the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, and the Information School and I am affiliated with a variety of centers, programs, and organizations at UW. Details about my research are on my academic page. You can see my teaching page for information about on my courses, workshops, and lectures.
  • Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University: I am spending the full 2023–2024 academic year as a Fellow at CITP. I am working on independent research and am based in Princeton, New Jersey.
  • Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University: I am a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center where I am pursing my own research. I helped coordinate the center's cooperation group as a Fellow for several years.
  • The Debian GNU/Linux Project: I am Debian Developer and maintain several packages and routinely sponsor the upload of several others. In the past, I have served on the Project Leader Team (AKA Project Scud) and acted as the Hardware Donations Manager (AKA Project Quartermaster) and Accountant tracking and managing funds and hardware internationally. My packaging work is documented here.
  • Ubuntu: I am member of the Ubuntu project and was a core developer for the first 15 years of the project's life. For six years, I served on Ubuntu's Community Council governance board. I was involved in issues related community, policy and governance as well as technical work. During the Ubuntu project's first year, I worked for Canonical Ltd. doing Free Software activism and advocacy and helping build user and developer communities around the distribution.
  • Wikimedia/Wikipedia: I am an active contributor to several Wikimedia projects where I add content and edit frequently. These include:
    • English Wikipedia: I edit Wikipedia articles on many topics and often incorporate Wikipedia into my teaching. Good places to learn more are my English Wikipedia user page and contribution history
    • Cascadia Wikimedians User Group: I am an active participant in Wikimedia events in Cascadia, I attend and sometimes help organize monthly meetups and other events in Seattle, and I am a board member of our (still inchoate) user group.
    • Wikimedia Foundation (WMF): For about a decade, I served on the advisory board for the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization that supports Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. The board appears to have been disbanded but I still help out the WMF in whatever ways I can.
    • I've helped out Wikmiania in many other ways over the years and contributed to many other Wikimedia projects. A more complete accounting can be found on my page on the Wikimedia Meta-Wiki.
  • AcaWiki: I have written and published hundreds of freely licensed summaries of academic articles on this wiki dedicated to that purpose. My AcaWiki user page contains more detail about my contributions and links to the summaries that I started.
  • Definition of Free Cultural Works: Along with Erik Moeller from the Wikimedia Foundation, I founded this project to work with the free culture community to help provide a set of explicit goals to help the free culture movement development, inspire, and grow.

Please see my Additional Affiliations Page for a list of my old, dormant, minor, and more advisory affiliations.

Other Webpages

  • Revealing Errors: A weblog where I try to reveal the power and influence that technology has on our lives by unpacking and analyzing errors that reveal the frequently hidden technological systems around us.
  • Wikipedia User Page: My "user page" is similar to a homepage but it's in more flux (it's a wiki after all) and tends to focus on items that are interesting to me in Wikipedia.
  • My Advogato Page where I used to keep a (very infrequently updated) diary of my work on free software projects. (no longer updated)
  • GPG Keys for use in secure communication with me.

Contact Information


General: mako@atdot.cc
Research/Teaching: makohill@uw.edu

Visit my contact information page for information on how to reach me via snailmail, phone, email, IRC, or several flavors of instant messaging.