The effects of perceived anonymity and anonymity states on conformity and groupthink in online communities: A Wikipedia study



Groupthink behavior is always a risk in online groups and group decision support systems (GDSS), especially when not all potential alternatives for problem resolution are considered. It becomes a reality when individuals simply conform to the majority opinion and hesitate to suggest their own solutions to a problem. Anonymity has long been established to have an effect on conformity, but no previous research has explored the effects of different anonymity states in relation to an individual's likelihood to conform. Through a survey of randomly chosen participants from the English-language Wikipedia community, I explored the effects of anonymity on the likelihood of conforming to group opinion. In addition, I differentiated between actual states of anonymity and individuals' perceptions of anonymity. His findings indicate that although people perceive anonymity differently depending on their anonymity state, different states of anonymity do not have a strong effect on the likelihood of conforming to group opinion. Based on this evidence, I make recommendations for software engineers who have a direct hand in the design of online community platforms.