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This page is part of the Proceedings of Wikimania 2005, Frankfurt, Germany.

A Case of Mutual Aid: Wikipedia, Politeness, and Perspective Taking[edit]

  • Author(s): Joseph Reagle
  • License: GFDL
  • Slides: [05, 2005]
  • Video: -
  • Note: Paper, presentation 30 minutes

About the author: Joseph Reagle is a PhD Candidate studying collaberative cultures, specifically the Wikipedia, at NYU. See also his homepage:


This paper explores the character of "mutual aid" and interdependent decision making within the Wikipedia. I provide a brief introduction to Wikipedia, the key terms associated with group decision making, and the Wikipedia dispute resolution process. I then focus on the cultural norms (e.g., "good faith") within Wikipedia that frame participation as a cooperative endeavor. In particular, I argue that the "neutral point of view policy" policy is not a source of conflict, as it is often perceived to be, but a resolution shaping norm. However, the naive understanding that this policy is about an unbiased neutrality is also problematic. I conclude by identifying some notions from negotiation literature that may be inappropriate or require adaptation to the Wikipedia case.


A Case of Mutual Aid: Wikipedia, Politeness, and Perspective Taking is available.