Your Day in 'Wiki-Court': ADR, Fairness, and Justice in Wikipedia's Global Community

23 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2014 Last revised: 18 Jul 2015

See all articles by Sara Ross

Sara Ross

York University, Osgoode Hall Law School

Date Written: March 1, 2014


Wikipedia has quickly become the largest volume of collected knowledge on the planet, but it is also one of the busiest centers for dispute resolution in the world. From small groups of individuals negotiating article changes on “talk pages”, to the involvement of hundreds of people in the formation of the community consensuses needed to implement new policies, to the use of binding arbitration to create final conflict resolutions, the Wikipedia community has developed a complex network of norms and rules that funnel all disagreements and intractable differences through a series of progressively more involved dispute resolution processes. I provide an overview and analysis of the dispute resolution processes used by the community and will look to the successes and limitation of these processes. A number of flaws will be identified including the ability for vocal minorities to dominate the Wikipedia community consensus. A systemic bias will be identified in the behavioural landscape of the community and, finally, it will become apparent that there is room for growth in the website’s inclusiveness, primarily through addressing the logistical realities of a potential user’s access to the time, materials, and knowledge needed to become a contributing member of the Wikipedia community.

Suggested Citation

Ross, Sara, Your Day in 'Wiki-Court': ADR, Fairness, and Justice in Wikipedia's Global Community (March 1, 2014). Osgoode Legal Studies Research Paper No. 56/2014. Available at SSRN: or

Sara Ross (Contact Author)

York University, Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

North York, Ontario

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