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Erasing “Property Lines”: A Collaborative Notion of Authorship and Textual Ownership on a Fan Wiki

Computers and Composition Volume 28, Number 1 ISSN 8755-4615 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


The collaborative affordances of the wiki, in conjunction with local literacy practices, have important implications for the development of contemporary online notions of authorship. Using discourse analytic methods focused on the talk pages of several World of Warcraft Wiki (WoWWiki) articles, this essay seeks to identify particular patterns of language use in the interactions between members of this online voluntary writing group in order to identify how contributors think about authorship in a clearly collaborative writing space. Candace Spigelman's (1998) theoretical construct of “habits of mind” and James Paul Gee (1989) theory of discourse are used to describe more or less effective ways of collaborating on writing in this context. The findings suggest the direction of this writing is toward much more collaborative and communal notions of authorship—ones in which the meaning of “collaborative” and “authorship” are being redefined. Successful collaborative writing on WoWWiki is a result of writers sharing common “habits of mind,” and collaboration can be disrupted by those who hold more author-centric perspectives of textual ownership.


Hunter, R. Erasing “Property Lines”: A Collaborative Notion of Authorship and Textual Ownership on a Fan Wiki. Computers and Composition, 28(1), 40-56. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved January 26, 2022 from .

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