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inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #26 of 96: Joseph Reagle (joseph-reagle) Thu 17 Sep 15 07:31
    
@jonl Both Zimbardo and Milgram (and others) did electric shock
experiments. Zimbardo was testing deindividuation on the part of
hooded subjects; Milgram was testing the authority of the
facilitator.

"Are some people better than others at expressing and reading social
cues in an environment that's primarily text?" Interesting question!
I'm not aware of any research on that topic! It'd be a neat
experiment to conduct.
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #27 of 96: Joseph Reagle (joseph-reagle) Thu 17 Sep 15 07:31
    
@tcn Although bumpy at first, I think the U.S. courts are moving to
recognize likes, tweets and such as speech. In the concluding
chapter I discuss a 2009 sheriff election in which employees of the
Hampton Sheriff’s Office *liked* the Facebook page of their boss's
opponent and were subsequently fired. The original judge said
"merely 'liking'" was not sufficient but he was overturned on
appeals.

http://legaltimes.typepad.com/files/usca4-facebook.pdf
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #28 of 96: Joseph Reagle (joseph-reagle) Thu 17 Sep 15 07:31
    
@dodge1234 This sounds like this:

https://www.facebook.com/help/community/question/?id=10151818947231605

Sounds like find your liking behavior suspicious. The annoying thing
is that such decisions are opaque and, no doubt, some innocent
people get swept up in the algorithm. Of course, if they made it
more transparent, the scammers would abuse that information.
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #29 of 96: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 17 Sep 15 09:51
    
Speaking of "suspicious behavior" on Facebook, I think you mentioned
the Justin Carter case in the book. Worth discussing in this context
how someone's misreading or misunderstanding of a comment can land
someone in jail. In the Carter case, he had posted jokingly (if in
very bad taste), "I'm f---ed in the head alright. I think I'ma (sic)
shoot up a kindergarten and watch the blood of the innocent rain
down and eat the beating heart of one of them." Seeing the post in
context, an experienced commenter would understand that it wasn't
serious. However someone in Canada, who was clearly not amused, went
so far as to report the comment to police in Texas, where Carter
lives. This resulted in a five month imprisonment.
http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/12/tech/social-media/facebook-jailed-teen/

Are you aware of other, similar cases? How can we prevent
misunderstandings from driving overreactions, given the broad and
diverse range of public comment?
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #30 of 96: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Thu 17 Sep 15 11:07
    
There were a lot of eye-openers for me in your book. On page 16 for
example, ..."many are unaware of the illicit markets in which
followers, reviewers and commenters are bought and sold."

What's going on here?
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #31 of 96: Joseph Reagle (joseph-reagle) Thu 17 Sep 15 12:32
    
@tcn Simpmly, fakers and manipulators are trying (and often
succeeding) to game Web comments for their own benefit. Kashmir Hill
recently wrote an article about these illicit markets as well: 

http://fusion.net/story/191773/i-created-a-fake-business-and-fooled-thousands-
of-people-into-thinking-it-was-real/
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #32 of 96: Joseph Reagle (joseph-reagle) Thu 17 Sep 15 12:34
    
jonl, there are other cases like Justin Carter's -- I also mention
the London airport one. I'm also thinking about #istandwithahmed of
the past week. Do you see any parallels? We just seem so fearful
now.
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #33 of 96: Dodge (dodge1234) Thu 17 Sep 15 13:29
    
I'm a fairly innocuous Liker. Pretty picture. Pretty flowers. Pretty
garden. Nice kitty. Funny video. Interesting antique. What could I
possibly have liked that has them blocking  me from adding Home and
Garden to my repertois?
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #34 of 96: Nancy White (choco) Thu 17 Sep 15 15:13
    
RE :

>"Are some people better than others at expressing and reading
social
cues in an environment that's primarily text?" Interesting question!
I'm not aware of any research on that topic! It'd be a neat
experiment to conduct.

yes, it would be VERY interesting. One of the skills we used to
teach online facilitators was to try and read posts in different
tones and voices and then ask themselves if they had the sense they
really understood the tone and nuance. Within a cohort of about 25,
we usually had 3-4 who had an incredible knack for being open to
meaning and interpretation while the rest were often quickly sure
they knew -- and when we debriefed, most of them really didn't have
a grip on interpreting a post. 
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #35 of 96: Cliff Dweller (robinsline) Thu 17 Sep 15 15:41
    
That sounds like a description of Well misunderstandings. 
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #36 of 96: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Thu 17 Sep 15 15:42
    
(choco) I wonder if that might not be cleared up (and probably
gamed) when voice messages start being added and/or replacing text
messages?
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #37 of 96: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Thu 17 Sep 15 15:46
    
Re <31> I was amazed at all the gaming going on in marketing for
things like fake followers on Twitter accounts and phony reviews on
Amazon. Guess I shouldn't have been, but didn't realize how
pervasive it all is.

Is it off topic or better saved for later, to talk about
'reputation' - what people will do to get it and whether the word
even has value any more?
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #38 of 96: Joseph Reagle (joseph-reagle) Fri 18 Sep 15 03:43
    
(choco) was that facilitators at The WELL? Do you have a pointer to
the training guides? I'd love to learn more. This would be an
interesting topic for my Online Communities course.
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #39 of 96: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 18 Sep 15 08:50
    
<choco> used to do regular online facilitation trainings and founded
an online facilitation Yahoo group. I'm realizing that facilitation
is a big part of the puzzle here. This is something we lack in
"drive-by posting" environments like Facebook and Twitter, and in
many comments sections. Hosting or facilitation is a strength of
online communities like the WELL, and one reason we work as
communities vs "activity streams." 

I monitored comments for Financial Times some years ago, and at the
time they had no barriers to entry: you could be totally anonymous,
and you could spoof the identities of those participants who chose
to identify themselves consistently. So we were monitors, not
moderators, and much of our work was removing spoofed posts and
spam. 

When Wired Magazine was operating forums at Hotwired, they hired me
as "moderator," but was quickly terminated for participating,
WELL-style, in the conversations.

So there are different ways to define "facilitation," and so many
more different ways to surface as a participant.

Facebook facilitation is not human, but algorithmic. Is this
effective? Would conversations on Facebook be better if they were
moderated by humans?
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #40 of 96: Craig Maudlin (clm) Fri 18 Sep 15 09:45
    
I'm behind schedule and haven't finished reading the book yet -- but
have enjoyed what I've read so far.

Jon's question swerves close to one I'm trying to formulate, which has
somthing to do with the comparing the nature of conversations on
ad-supported sites (like FB, etc) with converations on sites (like
the Well, etc) where there is no advertising influence.

But asking about ad-supported vs non-ad-supported isn't quite what I
want because there's another class of site that might be described
as not *yet* ad-supported. In other words, these are sites that seem to
be managed with the intent of building up a large user-base, which can
be later be 'monitized' -- usually via some form of advertising.
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #41 of 96: Joseph Reagle (joseph-reagle) Fri 18 Sep 15 10:02
    
<jonl> and <clm>, Shirky address these questions in his Microsoft
Research talk "Why do comments suck?" [1]. He distinguishes between 
publishing and community frames. He claims that publishing sites
actually "want people to forward the article to a million friends,
shut up and then read another article." They often relegate the
comments to the bottom of the page and that this is their failing as
platforms must confront: "Good. Big. Cheap. Pick two."




[1]:
http://research.microsoft.com/apps/video/default.aspx?id=180323&r=1
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #42 of 96: descend into a fractal hell of meta-truthiness (jmcarlin) Fri 18 Sep 15 14:18
    

I'm an old online person having started with Usenet back in the "dark
ages" where information was mostly to be trusted and people polite. We
left that relative "Garden of Eden" a long time ago in internet terms,
of course.

One thing I've wondered about is how the culture of a site is created
and maintained. Some anonymous sites I've been on are as polite as the
Well where people's names are known. (The Well is sometimes not polite,
of course). I think those sites are where discussion is the purpose
and moderation is clear and effective. And there is often an informal
line of politeness where people can disagree sometimes vehemently but
trolling is quickly discouraged by the members as well as the moderators.

News sites I find as described upstream here. The comments are not worth
much of anything except for amusement. 
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #43 of 96: Joseph Reagle (joseph-reagle) Sat 19 Sep 15 07:25
    
<jmcarlin> My book about Wikipedia [1] is addressed to this very
question of how can prosocial collaboration emerge in light of
Godwin's Law (we end up antagonized with one another) and some
difficult people. It was a combination of people's personalities,
which influenced emergent culture, technology, and contingency.

[1]: http://reagle.org/joseph/2010/gfc/
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #44 of 96: Ari Davidow (ari) Sat 19 Sep 15 08:49
    
I've just been viewing the Clay Shirky talk referenced above, and it 
leads me to wonder about the extent to which we can group all web 
comments together. You address this partly in your book when addressing 
reviews on Amazon and Yelp, for instance, separate from comments on a 
YouTube video or an item on a news site.

One important framing is something that Shirky raised: Is the goal of the 
commenting to build/strengthen community (recognizing that there are also 
limits to how big the community can be for this to be an effective 
medium?) vs. publishing--providing a way to dump off personal digital 
detritus as part of the publisher's intent to increase page views (and ad 
views).

Is there a visible difference? How do sites signal it, or are they 
basically still bound by the costs that make maintaining a community in a 
large site is financially impossible.
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #45 of 96: Craig Maudlin (clm) Sat 19 Sep 15 09:36
    
Thanks for the link, this worked for me:

<http://research.microsoft.com/apps/video/default.aspx?id=180323>

In the video, Shirky seems really to be addressing what I would call the
ad-supported sites, which are, as he says, striving for maximum scale
at low cost. His observations about Gawker were interesting, basically
noting the success of their algorithm that seems work by effectvely
reducing the visiblity (scale?) of the worst comments and threads.

Also interesting is the institutional bias he mentioned that surfaces
in the tension between politics and commerce. There are lots of links
in support of commercial action where there are few (if any) links in
support of political action. (On media sites)

Not suprising to us today, perhaps, but he notes that he's given up the
'those dumbheads' theory (dumbheads who just don't understand what they
are doing) in favor of the notion that they understand completely and
are simply acting in accordance with their narrow, economic self-
interests.
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #46 of 96: Craig Maudlin (clm) Sat 19 Sep 15 09:37
    
slipped by (ari)
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #47 of 96: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sat 19 Sep 15 10:16
    <scribbled by tcn Sun 20 Sep 15 09:10>
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #48 of 96: those Andropovian bongs (rik) Sat 19 Sep 15 10:39
    
This article caught my attention, and although a bit hyperbolic, seems 
relevant to the discussion.

<http://www.salon.com/2015/09/18/apple_just_did_something_that_has_journalists_
scared_for_the_future_heres_what_you_need_to_know/>
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #49 of 96: Kevin Wheeler (krome) Sat 19 Sep 15 15:34
    
I am just finishing the book and it occurs to me that so any of
these places wouldn't exist without the comments, the community that
wouldn't exist without a place to gather.

I didn't take the facts as negative but it reminded me how difficult
it can be to describe to those who haven't been on the net since
before there was a web how I take everything I read, until I can
trust someone, with a very large grain of salt.
  
inkwell.vue.483 : Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Reading the Comments
permalink #50 of 96: Kevin Wheeler (krome) Sat 19 Sep 15 15:35
    
And there's no editing on the WELL: "any" = many.
  

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