Understanding dispute resolution online: Using text to reflect personal and substantive issues in conflict

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Understanding dispute resolution online: Using text to reflect personal and substantive issues in conflict is a 2010 conference paper written in English by Billings M., Watts L.A. and published in Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings.

[edit] Abstract

Conflict is a natural part of human communication with implications for the work and well-being of a community. It can cause projects to stall or fail. Alternatively new insights can be produced that are valuable to the community, and membership can be strengthened. We describe how Wikipedia mediators create and maintain a 'safe space'. They help conflicting parties to express, recognize and respond positively to their personal and substantive differences. We show how the 'mutability' of wiki text can be used productively by mediators: to legitimize and restructure the personal and substantive issues under dispute; to actively and visibly differentiate personal from substantive elements in the dispute, and to maintain asynchronous engagement by adjusting expectations of timeliness. We argue that online conflicts could be effectively conciliated in other text-based web communities, provided power differences can be controlled, by policies and technical measures for maintaining special 'safe' conflict resolution spaces.

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