I am studying the Wikipedia community. This website has clear rules elaborating what the site is about, how to make the best use of it, how to contribute to Wikipedia, and how to give feedback and questions. The link is as follows: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:About. In brief, Wikipedia welcomes everyone’s contribution. Even if the contributor is not an expert of a topic, she/he still can express her/his own opinions without being afraid of making a mistake. Contributors are instructed to express neutral viewpoints and respect their fellow Wikipedians’ viewpoints. If there is a need for negotiation, Wikipedia provides the talk page and asks for the following of dispute resolution.
When examining the talk page of the topic: cheesecake, I found three examples of interpersonal conflicts and how users resolve them:
User Leopardmon blanked the page due to vandalism. User Seaphoto mentioned there is no need to blank it because the page can be reverted to the latest unvandalized version. User Seaphoto even took a further action to call for page protection for the article.
User 22.214.171.124 expressed his/her disagreement with User Seaphoto and thought that Wikipedia violated its’ policy of neutral viewpoints. User Seaphoto did not discuss with User 126.96.36.199 on the policy of neutral viewpoints; instead, User Seaphoto said he/she was reverting the talk page because User 188.8.131.52 did not discuss about the subject but Wikipedia, which is irrelevant to the subject.
User League X explained the reason he/she added some information to the Wikipedia page. User Seaphoto pointed out the problem of the way League X added information and suggested the alternative.
The three examples in Wikipedia illustrate the salient benefits of member maintenance:
1. Peer oversight is proved to be an effective way to improve the quality of the posts (Cosley, 2005)
2. The policies as guidelines influence the Wikipedian community and sustain it (Madison, 2006).
3. The indoctrination of newbies by senior community members can increase site participation and social support (Gazan, 2009) since the reduction of low-quality content may more successfully keep valuable members and make contributors believe that their effort and contributions can lead to a better performance, representing part of the community’s performance (Cosley, 2005).
4. The community’s self-awareness can intimidate potential roguish behaviors. If the number of rogues increases in a community, the overall participation in Wikipedia will very likely to fall (Gazan, 2007).
Example 1 and 3 show the sunny day of the users, who got the answers after interacting with other community users. Example 2 shows that the user 184.108.40.206 wanted to discuss one of Wikipedia’s policies, but it turned out to be non-negotiable. If I were the administrator of Wikipedia, I would open a space for people like 220.127.116.11 to discuss his/her thought about neutrality of viewpoints. I understand that for Wikipedia, it is easy to ask its members to follow the pre-set rules. However, according to Gazan (2009), open debate on normative standards can have positive effects on the community. So far, I do not find any unwritten rules because of the clear rules and well-functioning member maintenance of this website.