On Thursday and Friday I have attended IPP2016: The Platform Society, convened by the Oxford Internet Institute (University of Oxford). This academic conference belongs to the biennial Internet, Politics, and Policy (IPP) academic conference series and was designed to gather scholars interested in analysing online platforms and how they shape societies. My attendance was motivated by the acceptance of our recent research work “Detecting Platform Effects in Digital Democracy”. In particular, I presented how we inferred interventions in the online platform Menéame, as well as the effects of such interventions in terms of online deliberation.
In addition, our work and the article “Discriminating Tastes: Customer Ratings as Vehicles for Bias” by Alex Rosenblat et al, were honoured with the Best Paper Prize. Personally, I find this acknowledgment of great value because of the strong competitive nature of this conference which succesfully fills the gap between social and computer scientists in order to discuss how to solve relevant societal challenges.
Online discussions are the essence of many social platforms on the Internet. Conversations in online forums are traditionally presented in a hierarchical structure. In contrast, online social networking services usually show discussions linearly by sorting messages in chronological order. How discussion networks are affected by choosing a specific view has never been investigated in the literature. In this article we present an analysis of the discussion threads in Meneame, the most popular Spanish social news platform. In January 2015, this site turned the original linear conversation view into a hierarchical one. Our findings prove that the new interface promoted new discussion network structures. In particular, the hierarchical view increased deliberation and reciprocity based on the rhizomatic structure of discussions