Why some Wikipedia disputes go unresolved

Wikipedia has enabled large-scale, open collaboration on the internet’s largest general-reference resource. But, as with many collaborative writing projects, crafting the content can be a contentious subject. Often, multiple Wikipedia editors will disagree on certain changes to articles or policies. One of the main ways to officially resolve such disputes is the Requests for Comment (RfC) process. Quarreling editors will publicize their deliberation on a forum, where other Wikipedia editors will chime in and a neutral editor will make a final decision. Ideally, this should solve all issues. But a novel study by MIT researchers finds debilitating factors — such as excessive bickering and poorly worded arguments — have led to about one-third of RfCs going unresolved. For the study, the researchers compiled and analyzed the first-ever comprehensive dataset of RfC conversations, captured over an eight-year period, and conducted interviews with editors who frequently close RfCs, to understand why they don’t Continue reading Why some Wikipedia disputes go unresolved