I'm now in the "Politics and the Web" session at Web Science 2016, and we're starting with a paper by Pablo Loyola, whose focus is on politics in Chile. This work is interested in the collective decision-making processes involved in constructing new legislation, and builds on the voting behaviours of MPs and on drafts-in-progress of new bills. Are these processes influenced by the funding that MPs receive from corporate interests?
Next at Web Science 2016 is Sergej Sizov, who focusses on the economic value of Web advertising. This is surprisingly difficult to calculate, and Sergej begins with the hypothetical example of a small Web advertising campaign. We may make a range of assumptions about click-through and purchase rates, but variance matters: in a substantial number of cases, campaigns may generate no profit whatsoever.
Next up at Web Science 2016 is Claudia Orellana-Rodriguez, whose interest is in how journalists spread the news on Twitter. Journalists now regularly engage on social media platforms, but there still is only a very limited understanding of how platforms like Twitter can be used most effectively.
Next up at Web Science 2016 is Walid Magdy, whose focus is on social media commentary following the terrorist attacks in Paris in late 2016. Immediately after the attacks, sympathy with Paris was expressed on Twitter – but as the attacks were linked with Islamist terrorists, anti-Muslim messages also began to appear.
The next session at Web Science 2016 is on information dissemination and engagement. It begins with a paper by Miriam Fernandez, whose focus is on promoting behavioural changes to combat climate change. Over the past years, there have been multiple social media campaigns that promote more environmentally responsible behaviours; what can these campaigns learn from theories of behaviour change, and how can these theories be translated into computational methods?
Day two of Web Science 2016 begins with a keynote by Jure Leskovec, whose interest is in antisocial behaviour in social media spaces. He begins by noting that the Web has moved from a document repository or library to a social space, where users contribute content and provide feedback to each other. Platforms for this include the main social media spaces, as well as Reddit, StackOverflow, and the comment sections of news sites.
These two metaphors for the Web – as a library and as a social space – are very different from each other, especially in how users are policed and controlled. In the latter model, one user's experience is a function of other users' experiences, and the question thus becomes how to keep users engaged and promote positive, constructive behaviour – and how to police the small groups of users who disrupt the community and have a disproportionately large effect on all other users' experiences.
The third presenter in this Web Science 2016 session is Tu Ngoc Nguyen, who reintroduces us to the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. This is a useful service, but searching it is not necessarily straightforward. Is it possible to draw on the non-content features to improve search results?
The next WebSci 2016 presenters are Katharina Kinder-Kurlanda and Katrin Weller, who argue that it is necessary to address the digital divides in data accessibility in social media research. They interviewed a large number of social media researchers, and what emerges from this work is that much data sharing is already taking place, but under varying circumstances.
The next WebSci 2016 paper session starts with a presentation by Pei Zhang, which introduces what she calls the Content-Linking-Context model, or CLC. The context for this is legislation such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the European e-Commerce Directive, as well as various national legislation in the EU.