Effects of Anonymity on Comment Persuasiveness in Wikipedia Articles for Deletion Discussions

EMNLP (NLP+CSS) 2020  ·  Yimin Xiao, Lu Xiao ·

It has been shown that anonymity affects various aspects of online communications such as message credibility, the trust among communicators, and the participants’ accountability and reputation. Anonymity influences social interactions in online communities in these many ways, which can lead to influences on opinion change and the persuasiveness of a message. Prior studies also suggest that the effect of anonymity can vary in different online communication contexts and online communities. In this study, we focus on Wikipedia Articles for Deletion (AfD) discussions as an example of online collaborative communities to study the relationship between anonymity and persuasiveness in this context. We find that in Wikipedia AfD discussions, more identifiable users tend to be more persuasive. The higher persuasiveness can be related to multiple aspects, including linguistic features of the comments, the user’s motivation to participate, persuasive skills the user learns over time, and the user’s identity and credibility established in the community through participation.

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