[Air-l] naturally occurring conflicts?

Jimmy Wales jwales at wikia.com
Tue Mar 27 19:39:20 PDT 2007

I believe that a fruitful area of research in this areas would involve 
insights from a game-theoretic approach to social interactions to 
analyze how the rules of various kinds of software people are using to 
interact influence social behavior, sometimes in predictable ways, and 
sometimes in unpredictable ways.

In a totally unmoderated forum, where the members of the community have 
no means or ability to exclude people, the only remaining form of 
punishment for bad behavior seems to be more of the same kind of bad 
behavior: flaming.

Wikis introduce some great benefits for the creation of a less hostile 
social environment.  Flaming comments can be easily hidden by other 
community members before they cause a general flame war.  Editors can be 
banned by the community in a transparent and open way.  Pages can be 
temporarily locked to allow for a cooling down period.

But there is much room for research here, I think, because each change 
to the software induces further changes to the social norms.

What is the impact in a wiki setting of turning on or off the ability 
for not-logged-in users to edit?  (In practice this mostly means 
allowing people to edit anonymously rather than pseudonymously... an 
important distinction.)

What would happen if adminship were given automatically based on number 
of edits?  What would happen if adminship were given through a strict 
voting process?  What would happen if adminship were given through a 
strict voting process by existing admins?  What if everyone was an admin 
by default?


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