First Monday 2020-09-14T20:26:51-05:00 Edward J. Valauskas Open Journal Systems <p><em>First Monday</em> is one of the first openly accessible, peer–reviewed journals solely devoted to resarch about the Internet. <em>First Monday</em> has published 1,971 papers in 292 issues,&nbsp;written by 2,811 different authors over the past 24 years. No subscription fees, no submission fees, no advertisements, no fundraisers, no walls.</p> Manufacturing rage: The Russian Internet Research Agency’s political astroturfing on social media 2020-09-01T07:57:33-05:00 Ahmed Al-Rawi Anis Rahman <p>This paper examines social media ads purchased by the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA). Using a public dataset, we employ a mixed method to analyze the thematic and strategic patterns of these ads. Due to Facebook and Instagram’s promotional features, IRA managed to microtarget audiences mostly located in the United States fitting its messages to suit the audiences’ political, racial, gendered, and in some cases religious backgrounds. The findings reveal the divisive nature and topics that are dominant in the dataset including: race, immigration, and police brutality. By expanding on the theoretical conceptualization of astroturfing strategy that focuses on carefully concealing the identity and intention of actors behind social media activities, we argue that IRA has added political astroturfing as a powerful tool at a low cost contributing to the broader Russian geopolitical disinformation campaign strategies. The IRA made use of the business model of Facebook and Instagram in an attempt to further divide its targeted audiences and by highlighting mostly negative issues with a potential goal of fuelling political rage.</p> 2020-08-16T09:56:24-05:00 Copyright (c) 2020 First Monday Feeding the troll detection algorithm 2020-09-01T07:57:31-05:00 Vlad Achimescu Dan Sultanescu <p>The authenticity of public debate is challenged by the emergence of networks of non-genuine users (such as political bots and trolls) employed and maintained by governments to influence public opinion. To tackle this issue, researchers have developed algorithms to automatically detect non-genuine users, but it is not clear how to identify relevant content, what features to use and how often to retrain classifiers. Users of online discussion boards who informally flag other users by calling them out as paid trolls provide potential labels of perceived propaganda in real time. Against this background, we test the performance of supervised machine learning models (regularized regression and random forests) to predict discussion board comments perceived as propaganda by users of a major Romanian online newspaper. Results show that precision and recall are relatively high and stable, and re-training the model on new labels does not improve prediction diagnostics. Overall, metadata (particularly a low comment rating) are more predictive of perceived propaganda than textual features. The method can be extended to monitor suspicious activity in other online environments, but the results should not be interpreted as detecting actual propaganda.</p> 2020-08-19T11:58:55-05:00 Copyright (c) 2020 First Monday The strength of no-tie relationships: Political leaders’ Instagram posts and their followers’ actions and views 2020-09-01T07:57:29-05:00 John Parmelee Nataliya Roman <p>Drawing on research into electronic word-of-mouth communication, tie strength, and homophily, this study examines the actions of those who follow political leaders on Instagram as well as followers’ perceptions of the influence leaders’ posts have on their political views. The influence of leaders’ posts, as measured by a survey of followers, was also compared with strong-tie sources of opinion leadership, such as friends and family, and weak-tie sources, including co-workers and acquaintances. Findings indicate that posts from leaders whom followers usually agree with are seen as influencing followers’ views more than any other source, which is noteworthy given the nonexistent nature of the relationship. Implications for the study of tie strength on social media are also discussed.</p> 2020-08-22T06:47:40-05:00 Copyright (c) 2020 First Monday A decade of writing on Wikipedia 2020-09-14T20:26:51-05:00 James P. Purdy <p>This article reports what observable writing activities characterized three Wikipedia articles, <em>archive, design</em>, and <em>writing</em>, over a three-year period from 2012–2014. It then compares these results to writing in these same three articles 10 years earlier, from 2002–2004. Results show that articles were longer and more referenced in 2012–2014. The most frequent written contributions in 2012–2014 were adding and deleting content, followed by vandalizing and reverting vandalism. Ten years earlier, content addition was likewise the most frequent activity, though vandalism and its removal were not found. The least frequent written contributions in 2012–2014 were organizing and formatting content. Both activities occurred more often 10 years earlier. The number of contributors grew significantly in 2012–2014, though during both time periods approximately ¾ of participants contributed only once. These results support that writing in Wikipedia continues to support notions of revision and collaboration valued in the discipline of writing studies. However, the revision and collaboration that occurred were limited. Thus, more robust approaches to these concepts are needed when using Wikipedia to teach writing. More broadly, Wikipedia contributors need to focus more on organizing and formatting article content for readers.</p> 2020-08-03T15:17:54-05:00 Copyright (c) 2020 First Monday Measuring the development and communication of open design communities: The case of the OpenAg Initiative 2020-09-01T07:57:39-05:00 Rodrigo Argenton Freire Evandro Ziggiatti Monteiro <p>Open collaborative development and transparent design processes are often associated to the concept of open design (OD). Studies in remote collaborative processes are still recent and a wide number of aspects of OD remain unclear. This study explores an OD project by mining data in collaboration platforms. As our research object, we selected the Open Agriculture Initiative. Data was mined from its online forum, and Github, a development platform. Social network analysis (SNA) and topic modeling techniques were used to explore four research questions. We comment on these questions highlighting differences between both platforms, stakeholder participation and personal interests, community changes over time, activity volume and latent topics. Finally, we conclude by indicating possible pathways to investigate OD as an emergent phenomenon by using data mining techniques.</p> 2020-08-06T15:10:51-05:00 Copyright (c) 2020 First Monday Arab diaspora online media in Sweden 2020-09-01T11:32:52-05:00 Mahitab Ezz El DIn <p>With the increase in migration to the Western countries, social media became the alternative space for Arab diaspora to meet and bring in the issues of their concern. It is also a platform where one can examine the identities of migrants. In this article I analyze the comments in one of the most popular Arab diaspora platforms in Sweden where I identify migrant identity and aspects of integration as well. Combining a quantitative and a qualitative approach the study results show an internal conflict as well as two types of identities, internal and external. The identities are found in themes discussing racialization, counter racialization, citizenship and foreignness, Belongingness/Swedishness and political involvement.</p> 2020-08-09T14:51:34-05:00 Copyright (c) 2020 First Monday “I sexually identify as an Attack Helicopter”: Incels, trolls, and non-binary gender politics online 2020-09-01T07:57:35-05:00 Khandis Blake Megan Godwin Stephen Whyte <p>Recent public debate on gender identification has provided new alternatives to the traditional binary divergent titles of “man and woman”. Some contributors to this discussion have proposed a more regressive position regarding gender equity and identity awareness, instead choosing to mock online discussion by relabeling their own gender as different forms of military hardware (“attack helicopters”). The describing characteristics of these individuals are unclear. Using a sample of respondents (<em>N</em>=20) to the 2016 Australian Sex Survey, we explore some key demographics of those identifying as inanimate objects of modern warfare, and those simply rejecting the possibility of non-binary alternatives. Our archetype analysis delineates participant characteristics into two subpopulations of “Incel” and “Troll”, and identifies key differences in their demographics, personality traits and online behaviours. On average, the study population presents as single Caucasian males, high school educated, with average to low incomes, and some degree of non-heterosexual attraction. While cyber aggression and trolling are well researched areas, further qualitative and quantitative research is warranted into new growing sub-populations such as Incels, and how they differ from other individuals and groups online.</p> 2020-08-10T19:34:50-05:00 Copyright (c) 2020 First Monday Blockchain in education: Opportunities, applications, and challenges 2020-09-01T07:57:27-05:00 Mara-Florina Steiu <p>This paper discusses the opportunities and challenges of applying blockchain technologies in the education sector. The key blockchain-in-education applications discussed are the digitalization and decentralization of educational certifications and the enhancement and motivation for lifelong learning. Some of the key challenges explored are data protection laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Protection Act, which pose impediments for application developers and scalability challenges that arise because of slow-speed blockchain transactions and the Scaling Trilemma. Additionally, market adoption and innovation challenges highlight that blockchain-in-education is a relatively immature innovation that governance bodies within educational institutions often disregard or perceive cautiously.</p> 2020-08-24T19:30:53-05:00 Copyright (c) 2020 First Monday