Research

Myself and my research group work broadly in the area of online communities, governance and ethics, and participatory media (sometimes, but not always, at the same time!). We are the Internet Rules Lab (IRL) because we study rules on the Internet, but also ways in which the Internet rules. Below are a list of current and recent research projects roughly divided into themes. If you are a current or prospective CU student who might be interested in working with me, please feel free to email and tell me about your interest in any of these topic areas!

Note that some projects are listed more than once for categorization purposes!

TECHNOLOGY ETHICS AND PRIVACY

Public perceptions of research ethics. How “public” is public content, from the point of view of those who have shared it? What can we learn from social media users about privacy and content norms that can inform best practices around research? When there are controversies around research ethics, what factors contribute to the public’s concern? (Collaborations with Nicholas Proferes at University of Kentucky, CU Comm PhD student Blake Hallinan, and CU INFO PhD students Brianna Dym and Natalie Garrett)  [Currently funded by the National Science Foundation as part of the larger PERVADE team] [Paper (Social Media + Society)]

Research ethics for vulnerable communities. As researchers, how should we take into account norms and special safety considerations for vulnerable communities online, particularly in the context of using public data? Our first case study for this question is LGBTQ fandom communities. (Lead Researcher: INFO PhD student Brianna Dym) [Paper (CSCW Poster)]

TOS and Data Scraping. Is it okay for researchers to violate Terms of Service? What could we learn from actual data scraping provisions? (Collaboration with ATLAS student Nate Beard and INFO faculty Brian Keegan)

Public opinion of privacy and ethics. Analysis of comments on news articles about privacy controversies, getting at attitudes and reactions “in the wild.” (Collaboration with CU Comm student Blake Hallinan) [Paper (CHI)]

Perceptions of data risk. How do experts and non-experts perceive risk around emerging, big data technologies? (Lead Researcher: CS PhD student Mike Skirpan) [Paper (CHI)]

Content & privacy on Facebook. Qualitative+quantitative analysis of Facebook content, discerning whether there are substantive differences in content based on privacy settings. Large corpus of Facebook status updates gathered from Mechanical Turk. (Conducted as a collaboration with other social computing PhD students and faculty at Georgia Tech.) [Paper (CSCW)]

TECHNOLOGY POLICY

Impact of DRM/copyright on technology use. A large-scale content analysis of DMCA anti-circumvention exemption proposals, asking: How is copyright law preventing people from using technology the ways they want to?

Copyright & online creative communities. Casey’s dissertation (“The Role of Copyright in Online Creative Communities: Law, Norms, and Policy”), incorporating research funded by the National Science Foundation, can be downloaded here. This work was featured in media outlets such as The New York Times, Engadget, and The Escapist.  [Paper 1 (CSCW), Paper 2 (CSCW), Paper 3 (CSCW)]

ONLINE GOVERNANCE

Moderation and norms in online communities. How do communities create their own rules, where do rules come from, how do they relate to invisible social norms, and how do moderation practices enforce them? What can we learn from human practices that could help support algorithmic moderation? (Lead Researcher: INFO PhD student Aaron Jiang)

Community-created rules on Reddit. A large-scale analysis of subreddit rules, beginning with qualitative and quantitative characterization and moving into analysis of rule creation and enforcement. (Collaboration with InfoSci colleague Jed Brubaker, PhD student Aaron Jiang, and undergraduate researchers) [Paper (ICWSM)]

Social Media TOS. How are the Terms of Service across social media sites similar and different, particularly when it comes to the behavior they allow or disallow? What can TOS tell us about governance in these kinds of communities? (Lead researcher: ATLAS student Nate Beard)

Harassment policies for social media. An analysis of Terms of Service and other online policies that social media platforms use for governing harassing behavior. (Lead Researcher: Jessica Pater at Georgia Tech) [Paper (GROUP)]

Ownership of shared social media. Who “owns” a group photo on Facebook? How do users’ perceptions of their rights compare with those conferred by technical architecture or by law/policy?  (Collaboration with InfoSci colleague Jed Brubaker)

Social norms in design. Interview study of designers and users of a large, open-source fan fiction archive that was built to specifications of an existing community with existing social norms and values. Focus on principles of feminist HCI. [Paper (CHI)]

ONLINE COMMUNICATION & SOCIAL MEDIA

Practices and interpretations around GIFs. How do we use GIFs to communicate? What is the impact of platform affordances on GIF use? How do we interpret them, and what kinds of communication challenges does this medium pose? (Lead researcher: PhD Student Aaron Jiang) [Paper 1 (CHI LBW), Paper 2 (CSCW)]

Content & privacy on Facebook. Qualitative+quantitative analysis of Facebook content, discerning whether there are substantive differences in content based on privacy settings. Large corpus of Facebook status updates gathered from Mechanical Turk. (Conducted as a collaboration with other social computing PhD students and faculty at Georgia Tech.) [Paper (CSCW)]

Fandom online community migration. How has fandom moved across different technologies over time? For example, what caused the shift from Livejournal to Tumblr? Based on an interview study, moving into surveys. (Collaboration with PhD student Brianna Dym)

FAN COMMUNITIES

Privacy and safety in fan communities. Fandom communities, which have a large number of LGBT participants, have specific privacy and safety norms and concerns. How can researchers and platforms research and design around those norms, and how can we better support these communities? (Lead Researcher: PhD Student Brianna Dym)

Queerness in fan fiction & video games. Analysis of content tags on video game fan fiction, with an eye towards how queer identity is represented and re-written. (Lead Researcher: PhD Student Brianna Dym)

Fandom online community migration. How has fandom moved across different technologies over time? For example, what caused the shift from Livejournal to Tumblr? Based on an interview study, moving into surveys. (Collaboration with PhD student Brianna Dym)

Fandom, crowdsourcing, and accessibility. Exploring possibilities of accessible comic books for the visually impaired, using crowdsourced descriptions from comic book fans. (Collaboration with Shaun Kane in the Computer Science department) [Paper (ASSETS Poster)]

Learning in fan communities. Analysis of interview data with (predominantly women) fan fiction writers about learning technical skills while participating in fandom. [Paper (CSCW)]

Social norms in design. Interview study of designers and users of a large, open-source fan fiction archive that was built to specifications of an existing community with existing social norms and values. Focus on principles of feminist HCI. [Paper (CHI)]

Copyright & online creative communities. My dissertation (“The Role of Copyright in Online Creative Communities: Law, Norms, and Policy”), incorporating research funded by the National Science Foundation, can be downloaded here. This work was featured in media outlets such as The New York Times, Engadget, and The Escapist.  [Paper 1 (CSCW), Paper 2 (CSCW), Paper 3 (CSCW)]

LEARNING (around technology)

Learning in fan communities. Analysis of interview data with (predominantly women) fan fiction writers about learning technical skills while participating in fandom. [Paper (CSCW)]

Ethics education. How can we best teach technology ethics? Integrated across curriculum? With speculative fiction? [Paper (SIGCSE)]

INCLUSIVITY (in technology, design, and culture)

Research ethics for vulnerable communities. As researchers, how should we take into account norms and special safety considerations for vulnerable communities online, particularly in the context of using public data? Our first case study for this question is LGBTQ fandom communities. (Lead Researcher: INFO PhD student Brianna Dym) [Paper (CSCW Poster)]

Social norms in design. Interview study of designers and users of a large, open-source fan fiction archive that was built to specifications of an existing community with existing social norms and values. Focus on principles of feminist HCI. [Paper (CHI)]

Fandom, crowdsourcing, and accessibility. Exploring possibilities of accessible comic books for the visually impaired, using crowdsourced descriptions from comic book fans. (Collaboration with Shaun Kane in the Computer Science department) [Paper (ASSETS Poster)]

Queerness in fan fiction & video games. Analysis of content tags on video game fan fiction, with an eye towards how queer identity is represented and re-written. (Lead Researcher: PhD Student Brianna Dym)

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