Social Norms + Design

Project Image
An example of what the community would argue not to do to new members.

Project Contributors

Jessica Pater

Online communities are shaped by the individuals designing them - from the actual building of the infrastructure to the design of the policy - and those that utilize them. There are a certain criteria of the HCI community prescribes as "best practices" when creating an online community. This research is focused on what happens when a community deviates from these norms. Are they sustainable? Can design decisions be more contextual and inter-depenednet? If they are, what type of third place does this create for users to engage? To investigate these questions we conducted a case study of the Something Awful Forums, one of the longest-running online communities in existence. We conducted interviews of moderators and general community members - both seasoned and new to the platform - to understand the impacts of design decisions on their everyday use.

Related Publications

Just awful enough: the functional dysfunction of the something awful forums

Pater, J. A., Nadji, Y., Mynatt, E. D., & Bruckman, A. S. (2014, April). Just awful enough: the functional dysfunction of the something awful forums. In Proceedings of the 32nd annual ACM conference on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 2407-2410). ACM. [link] [pdf]