Robert W. Gehl is a user on scholar.social. You can follow them or interact with them if you have an account anywhere in the fediverse. If you don't, you can sign up here.
Robert W. Gehl @robertwgehl

Two grad students and I are doing research on and "the politics of federation," and so far for data/materials, we've collected: interviews with admins, 70 Masto threads on the topic, dozens of blog posts, and ~170 Masto CoC statements. It seems like a lot, but... what are we missing? Suggestions welcome!

· Web · 4 · 3

@robertwgehl Random sample of tweets with matched random sample of toots from several different time periods (e.g. around major news events, etc.), label tweets and toots with metadata like "supports alt-right or Nazi philosophy", "contains racial slur," etc. and compare samples

@bgcarlisle Not a bad idea! With the right coding scheme, that may reveal distinctions in terms of populations. Question, though: what's a random sample in Masto, given that any 1 entry point may not federate with all others?

@robertwgehl Take the list of instances from joinmastodon.com and choose a sample of toots weighted by the number of users or toots on that instance

@robertwgehl Other things you could possible code for:

* Does the post contain actual original content?
* Is the post a link to a news source with commentary?
* Is this a hot take on the topic of discussion du jour?
* Is the user posting this identified as a bot?
* Does the user claim to be an individual or a Brand™?

@robertwgehl Is this material going to be made openly available?

@VickySteeves Yes, in a variety of ways -- we will share drafts with interviewees, and we plan to publish in an open access journal. Of course, we will redact information where we do not have permission/we are asked not to share it.

@robertwgehl Hrmmm. what sort of research? I'd say either interviews or case studies with users (who may or may not be aware of the politics) otherwise it seems a touch self-selecting. Perhaps a wide-canvassing survey asking questions which signal awareness of politics of masto without using the words?

@robertwgehl Without a sense of "here are the percentages of users aware of/impacted by the politics of federation" the persuasive power of the interviews and ... likely quite angry threads.... is not nearly as persuasive as a representation of the community.

@robertwgehl Something on actual number of users would be nice. Like, how many accounts are "active" (say, posted in the last 3 months), how many users have alt-accounts, &c.