Joseph Seering

Below are recent publications related to my current work.

Moderator Engagement and Community Development in the Age of Algorithms

Joseph Seering, Tony Wang, Jina Yoon, Geoff Kaufman - New Media and Society

"Online communities provide a forum for rich social interaction and identity development for billions of internet users worldwide. In order to manage these communities, platform owners have increasingly turned to commercial content moderation, which includes both the use of moderation algorithms and the employment of professional moderators, rather than user-driven moderation, to detect and respond to anti-normative behaviors such as harassment and spread of offensive content. We present findings from semi-structured interviews with 56 volunteer moderators of online communities across three platforms (Twitch, Reddit, and Facebook), from which we derived a generalized model categorizing the ways moderators engage with their communities and explaining how these communities develop as a result. This model contains three processes: being and becoming a moderator; moderation tasks, actions, and responses; and rules and community development. In this work, we describe how moderators contribute to the development of meaningful communities, both with and without algorithmic support."

PDF | SAGE Publications link pending

The Social Roles of Bots: Situating Bots in Discussions in Online Communities

Joseph Seering, Juan Pablo Flores, Saiph Savage, Jessica Hammer - CSCW 2018

"Bots, or programs designed to engage in social spaces and perform automated tasks, are typically understood as automated tools or as social "chatbots." In this paper, we consider bots’ place alongside users within diverse communities in the emerging social ecosystem of audience participation platforms, guided by concepts from structural role theory. We perform a large-scale analysis of bot activity levels on Twitch, finding that they communicate at a much greater rate than other types of users.We build on prior literature on bot functionalities to identify the roles bots play on Twitch, how these roles vary across different types of Twitch communities, and how users engage with them and vice versa. We conclude with a discussion of where opportunities lie to re-conceptualize and re-design bots as social actors who help communities grow and evolve."

PDF | ACM DL link pending

Applications of Social Identity Theory to Research and Design in Social Computing

Joseph Seering, Felicia Ng, Zheng Yao, Geoff Kaufman - CSCW 2018 Best Paper AwardBest Paper Award icon

"Research in computer-supported cooperative work has historically focused on behaviors of individuals at scale, using frames of interpersonal interaction such as Goffman’s theories of self-presentation. These frames prioritize research detailing the characteristics, personal identities, and behaviors of large numbers of interacting individuals, while the social identity concepts that lead to intra- and inter-group dynamics have received far less attention. We argue that the emergent properties of self-categorization and social identity, which are particularly fluid and complex in online spaces, provide a complementary perspective with which to re-examine traditional topics in social computing. We discuss the applicability of the Social Identity Perspective to both established and new research domains in CSCW, proposing alternative perspectives on selfpresentation, social support, collaboration, misbehavior, and leadership. We propose a set of methodological considerations derived from this body of theories and accompanying empirical work. We close by considering how broad concepts and lessons from social identity provide a valuable lens for inspiring future work in CSCW."

PDF | ACM DL link pending

Design Challenges for Livestreamed Audience Participation Games

Seth Glickman, Nathan McKenzie, Joseph Seering, Rachel Moeller, Jessica Hammer - CHI PLAY 2018 Honourable MentionHonorable Mention icon

"Livestreamed APGs (audience participation games) allow stream viewers to participate meaningfully in a streamer’s gameplay. However, streaming interfaces are not designed to meet the needs of audience participants. In order to explore the game design space of APGs, we provided three game development teams with an audience participation interface development toolkit. Teams iteratively developed and tested APGs over the course of ten months, and then reflected on common design challenges across the three games. Six challenges were identified: latency, screen sharing, attention management, player agency, audience-streamer relationships, and shifting schedules. The impact of these challenges on players were then explored through external playtests. We conclude with implications for the future of APG design."

PDF | ACM DL link pending

Audience Participation Games: Blurring the Line Between Player and Spectator

Joseph Seering, Saiph Savage, Michael Eagle, Joshua Churchin, Rachel Moeller, Jeffrey P. Bigham, Jessica Hammer - DIS 2017

"In this paper we explore audience participation games, a type of game that draws spectators into a role where they can impact gameplay in meaningful ways. "To better understand this design space, we developed several versions of two prototype games as design probes. We livestreamed them to an online audience in order to develop a framework for audience motivations and participation styles, to explore ways in which mechanics can affect audience members’ sense of agency, and to identify promising design spaces. Our results show the breadth of opportunities and challenges that designers face in creating engaging Audience Participation Games."


Shaping Pro and Anti-Social Behavior on Twitch Through Moderation and Example-Setting

Joseph Seering, Robert A Kraut, and Laura Dabbish - CSCW 2017 Best Paper Honorable MentionHonorable Mention icon

"Using millions of messages sent in Twitch chatrooms, we explore the effectiveness of methods for encouraging and discouraging specific behaviors, including taking advantage of imitation effects through setting positive examples and using moderation tools to discourage antisocial behaviors. Consistent with aspects of imitation theory and deterrence theory, users imitated examples of behavior that they saw, and more so for behaviors from high status users. Proactive moderation tools, such as chat modes which restricted the ability to post certain content, proved effective at discouraging spam behaviors, while reactive bans were able to discourage a wider variety of behaviors."


Mapping Outcomes in an Undergraduate Aerospace Engineering Program

Joseph Seering, Luwen Huang, and Karen Willcox - 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

"Student learning outcomes have long been established as an important component in the process of developing subject content, communicating expectations to students, and designing effective assessments.2 Tis project focused on mapping the relationships among outcomes across the undergraduate curriculum in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. Through this project, we expanded upon existing sets of outcomes and created new sets where none previously existed to connect subjects in the undergraduate curriculum in an integrated framework."