June 23, 2005
A Case of Mutual Aid: Wikipedia, Politeness, and Perspective Taking
Reagle, Joseph. “A Case of Mutual Aid: Wikipedia, Politeness, and Perspective Taking.” Proceedings of Wikimania 05. http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Wikimania05/Paper-JR1. 5 July 2005.
Reagle explores facets of mutual aid and interdependent decision making within the context of Wikipedia. (His discussion of mutual aid includes several brief, useful references to Kropotkin and anarchism.) He also focuses on participation as a cooperative endeavor and interdependent decision making.
The author disputes the widely held conception of Wikipedia as a contentious community, noting that Requests for Arbitration (52 archived, 0 active) and Requests for Mediation (74 archived, 8 active) were strikingly low in view of the fact that 13,200 active users and 135,763 registered users were listed at that time. Vandalism is also statistically uncommon. Dispute resolutions are generally civil and follow politeness and negotiation norms. The intersubjectivity and interdependence built into the system often account for this; wikipedia etiquette demands “perspective-taking,” (consideration of an opponent’s perspective) and dialogue.
(Link post from Many 2 Many.)