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Informed by the theory of social constructivism and computer-mediated communication (CMC), wiki-mediated collaborative writing has been increasingly implemented in second or foreign language classes. However, to date, no research has addressed students’ interaction and negotiation of their social relationship during wiki-mediated collaboration. Drawing on politeness theory, particularly Brown and Levinson (1987)’s taxonomy of politeness strategies, this study analyzed the wiki-mediated discourse of one collaborative writing group in a Chinese EFL context. This particular writing group consisted of three EFL college students at a southwestern university in China. This article examined specifically how this small group actively engaged in social interaction by adopting politeness strategies during asynchronous communication in a wiki “Discussion” module. Results revealed that this small group used three types of politeness strategies, i.e. positive, negative, and bald on record skillfully, to establish friendship, solidarity and respect while completing their collaborative writing tasks smoothly and efficiently. This study validates the value of linguistic politeness strategies in the analyses of social interaction occurring in computer-mediated discourse and also suggests some pedagogical implications.


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