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Joel Kiskola: Technologies intervening in uncivil online discussion should be designed carefully

Tampere University
LocationKanslerinrinne 1, Tampere
Auditorium B1096 (100), Pinni B Building, City Centre Campus
8.12.2023 12.00–16.00
Entrance feeFree of charge
Millions of people use online discussion platforms daily to share their opinions, knowledge, and feelings with others. MSc Joel Kiskola presents in his doctoral research viewpoints that help designers to design better technological solutions for intervening in uncivil online discussion and promoting constructive dialogue.

"Constructive online discussions can be hindered by both uncivil conduct and efforts to suppress it. Interventions in uncivil discussion should be designed carefully," says Joel Kiskola.

In his doctoral dissertation, Kiskola examined what information is needed for designing visible technical solutions that intervene in uncivil online news commenting. He approached the topic from the perspective of Critical Design. Critical Design is a methodology for provoking discussion about the ethics of design and alternative design values.

"New technologies can impact people's rights, responsibilities, or liabilities both positively and negatively. Through technology design, designers shape the way we live, work, and interact with each other. There is a growing awareness that it is essential that this is well understood and strongly reflected in the design of technologies," says Kiskola.

Additionally, Kiskola asked ten Finnish journalists and nearly seven hundred online news commenters to react to and comment on different proposals of technologies for intervening in uncivil online discussion that he had created. Based on this, it was found what they believe characterizes high-quality technologies that intervene in uncivil online discussion.

"Based on the answers, online news commenters believe, for example, that a high-quality intervention helps them to avoid reading uncivil comments and posting comments that they regret."

The results of the doctoral research provide a wealth of critical perspectives on designing technical solutions for addressing the problem of uncivil online news commenting and online discussions in general.

Public defence on Friday, December 8

The doctoral dissertaton of MSc Joel Kiskola, titled Designing critical and practical user interface interventions in uncivil online discussion, will be publicly examined at the Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences of Tampere University in room B1096 (100) in the Pinni B Building (address: Kanslerinrinne 1, Tampere) at 12:00 on Friday, 8 December 2023.

Professor Jeffrey Bardzell (Pennsylvania State University) will act as the opponent. The custos will be Professor Thomas Olsson (Tampere University).

The doctoral dissertation is available online.

The doctoral defense can be followed remotely.