I am E. Whittaker, a second year PhD student in Information Science at the University of Michigan. I am currently (April – July 2018) working for the Wikimedia Foundation as an intern, studying incivility on talk pages. I am working with Aaron Halfaker and the ORES team. The full write-up of the study can be found on m:Research:Civil_Behavior_Interviews.
I am focusing fairly heavily on conducting interviews with editors. I am particularly interested in speaking to editors who may be members of marginalized communities – incivility as defined in the research literature excludes marginalized people systematically from the conversation, and this will affect the nature of the conversation. My overarching research agenda (i.e., not specific to one project, but what I’m working on over the course of my PhD + career) is working on solutions to incivility that allow all people to speak comfortably in potentially contentious debates. I want to look beyond thinking about civility as “mere politeness”, and focus instead on discouraging even subtle actions that drive people away from certain spaces. Focusing on profanity and slurs is not enough, and my hope is to find a way to detect these non-obvious forms of incivility. I am working toward this end with my current project with Wikimedia, which is why I am focusing so heavily on conducting interviews with editors.
If you are interested in further academic material on the topic of incivility, I strongly recommend:
Coe, Kenski, & Rains, 2014
Stryker, Conway, & Danielson, 2016
- Papacharissi, Zizi (2004). "Democracy online: civility, politeness, and the democratic potential of online political discussion groups". New media & society. 6: 259–283 – via SAGEpub.
- Coe, Kenski, & Rains (2014). "Online and Uncivil? Patterns and Determinants of Incivility in Newspaper Website Comments" (PDF). Journal of Communication: 658–679.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Gervais, Bryan (2015). "Incivility Online: Affective and Behavioral Reactions to Uncivil Political Posts in a Web-based Experiment". Journal of Information Technology and Politics. 12: 167–185.
- Stryker, Conway, & Danielson (2016). "What is political incivility?". Communication Monographs. 83: 535–556.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)