Author: Joseph Reagle

Audience: Psychology of Interdependent Decision Making class

Question: I set out with the goal of trying to consider a particular community in the context of our readings. With respect to the interdependent decision-making I found the cognitive literature to be relevant and the game theoretic literature less so.




Polieness and perspective taking

Interdependent decision making


The Wiki way

"Wiki wiki" means "super fast" in the Hawaiian language

1995 project for each Web page editing

To add a numbered list item with a link to the Wikipedia one simply types:

# this provides a link to [[Wikipedia]]

Wikipedia history

The consequence of this quick and informal approach was not foreseen – or, rather, was pleasantly surprising

Wikipedia is the populist offshoot of the Nupedia project started in March of 2000 by Jimbo Wales and Larry Sanger.

"There was considerable resistance on the part of Nupedia's editors and reviewers, however, to making Nupedia closely associated with a website in the wiki format. Therefore, the new project was given the name ‘Wikipedia’ and launched on its own address,, on January 15 [2001]"

Wikipedia proved to be so successful that when the server hosting Nupedia crashed in September of 2003 it was never restored.

NPOV: an epistomological stance

The Neutral Point of View policy seeks to achieve the "fair" representation of all sides of the dispute such that all can feel well represented.

Articles should explain without advocating, characterize without engaging, and honor the intellectual independence of the readers by refraining from dogmatism.

While the perception is that NPOV is the source of much debate, it may act rather as a heat shield: reducing conflict and otherwise channeling outstanding arguments in the productive context of the primary goal of developing an encyclopedia

Politeness and ...

Neutral Point of View counsels that,

Staying Cool When the Editing Gets Hot advises that if one is being attacked one should “just ignore it,” “politely ask the person to stop”, and most amazingly: “Edit their words to remove the insulting part—rephrase it as a simple statement of their beliefs, for example.”

Perspective taking

Permits one to identify hidden commonalities (i.e., using of similar words for different concepts or different words for similar concepts) and unique information (Boland and Tenkasi 1995) in order to form a more valuable synthesis.

"Misunderstanding the interest of one's negotiation opponent can lead to erroneous attributions (Morris, Larrick, & Su, 1999), a failure to maximize joint gains (Thompson & Hrebec, 1996), and impasses (Thompson, 1990)" (Galinsky and Mussweiler2001).

Carnevale and Probst (1998) found that competitive situations, or even the expectation of them, lead to more rigid black-and-white thinking relative to cooperative situations.

Yankelovich’s (2001) notion of dialog which relies upon the notion of empathy:

This is why discussion is more common than dialogue: people find it easy to express their opinions and to bat ideas back and forth with others, but most of the time they don't have either the motivation or the patience to respond empathically to opinions with which they may disagree or that they find uncongenial.


In the presence of social conflict Carnevale and Pruitt (2004:3) identify the following strategies that can be used in negotiation.

(Examples from Lamest edit wards ever.)


In continuing disputes, participants can volunteer to a truce (refrain from editing the article) and "cool off," or, failing such magnanimity, an administrator might protect/lock the page for a period.

Users can conduct polls or invite comment from the larger community in order to gain perspective – but it might also expand the debate.

Failing informal resolution, participants may request mediation by a third-party and even obtain an advocate on one’s behalf.

As a last resort, users might request arbitration that can produce an enforceable decision. (These last two steps are characterized as joint decision-making and third-party decision-making by Carnevale and Pruitt (2004:4)).


  • Nearly all Wikipedia interactions are positive-sum
  • One's interest is grounded in ideology
  • Is there a reservation price or BATNA?
  • Time and effort are the input, any output is a collaborative non-divisiable product with extraordinarily variable valuations – based in the "eye of the beholders."