Caring About Dissent: Online Community Moderation and Norm Evolution

Bingjie Yu, Katta Spiel, Leon Watts

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding

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Care has a powerful influence on potentially disruptive social encounters because practising care means exposing a group's core values, which, in turn, has the potential to strengthen identity and relationships in communities. We use the ethical practise of care as a lens to explore normative processes in online community moderation, especially as disruptive actors become more and more challenging. Dissent is as inevitable in online communities as it is in their offline counterparts. However, dissent can be productive by sparking discussions that drive the evolution of community norms and boundaries. Different skills and methods of support are required, if moderators are to respond to dissent effectively. Our work draws on a long-term analysis of moderation practices in the MetaFilter community, focusing on cases of intervention and response. We address the relevance of care as it is evidenced in these MetaFilter exchanges, and discuss what it might mean to approach an analysis of online moderation practices with a focus on nurturing care. We consider how CSCW researchers might make use of care-as-nurture as a frame to identify multi-faceted and nuanced concepts characterising dissent and to develop tools for the sustainable support of online communities and their moderators.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVolunteer Work: Mapping the Future of Moderation Research - A CSCW '19 Workshop
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2019


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