Cyberbullying on Wiki Sites


Recently, I spoke about cyberbullying on Wiki-type sites at the annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia.  Let me first say that the community (employees of the company and volunteer supervisors and contributors) is top-notch.  I absolutely loved being with them, witnessing their contagious passion for improving user experience on the site, and hearing their vision for the future.  They were wonderful, highly-motivated, kind-hearted, and very, very smart.

Many people who don’t actively contribute in Web 2.0 user communities such as don’t realize that cyberbullying is a nontrivial problem in these settings.  Apart from spamming and general harassment, Wiki-based communities also have to wrestle with: Flaming (angry and insulting interaction between users); Trolling (posting controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant messages to provoke other users into an emotional response); Blanking (deleting a good answer in its entirety); Vandalizing (spoiling the quality of user contributions or pages); and Misadvising (providing incorrect or harmful answers to another’s question(s)).

After going through a number of examples of cyberbullying on, I provided them with an evaluative rubric I created through which they could filter problematic content or pages or posts they saw.  This would allow them to make distinctions as to what is cyberbullying, and what is not – and then respond accordingly.  They have (and are continuing to implement) technological solutions to problem behaviors on the site, but I shared with them a variety of site-specific social solutions that I believe can help promote community self-regulation and the maintenance of a warm, inviting culture for new and existing users.  The presentation was very well-received, and I look forward to working with them further as they continue to grow and expand.


  1. I didn't even know such terms as "flaming","blanking" and "trolling" existed in the context of online communication. Thanks for keeping us educated and updated on this subject. That's exactly the reason I read this.

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