Leveling the Playing Field in Video Game Design: Transcending Knowledge Roles by Removing Divisions Among and Privileging of Knowledges

Rachel N. Simons, Kenneth R. Fleischmann, and Loriene Roy

This paper presents a theoretical model of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) design that describes the division of users’ and designers’ knowledge roles within the design process. Through examining how the role of the user has been discussed within the social informatics, human-computer interaction, and science and technology studies literatures, we argue that considering the role of the user and their knowledge within design is a multi-variate problem. Accordingly, our model orients the knowledge work involved in the ICT design process along two primary axes: the division of knowledge role expertise between user and designer; and the privileging of knowledge role prestige of user or designer. The “ideal” center of the two axes in this model would represent a design process consisting of user-designer hybridity (transcending knowledge divisions), wherein diverse knowledge among users and designers is equally prestigious (transcending knowledge privileging). After providing an overview of the model, we present a case study of how the model might be used to consider Native and indigenous peoples’ participation in video game design as users and designers by discussing several example games. We conclude by discussing some of the implications for using this model to orient research and design practice, especially for broadening the participation and self-articulation of marginalized and underrepresented groups in ICT design.

Rachel N. Simons is a doctoral student in the School of Information at The University of Texas at Austin, where she focuses on diversity and ethics issues in ICT development, use, and education. She uses primarily qualitative research methods to understand diversity within the context of individuals' daily experiences with ICT. Her dissertation research aims to better understand diversity in collaborative video game design work, including an analysis of diversity as represented by: underrepresented and marginalized group participation, the roles that organizational structure may play in supporting diverse perspectives, and the effects of cooperative ICT tool selection and use in representing and/or cultivating diversity and diverse perspectives. In addition to her SIG Social Informatics workshop presentation at ASIS&T, she is also first author for long and short ASIS&T proceedings papers, and she was recently selected to participate in the ASIS&T Doctoral Colloquium.


Questioning Science with Science: The Evolution of the Vaccine Safety Movement

Kolina S. Koltai and Kenneth R. Fleischmann

This paper sets out to understand the values that motivate vaccine safety advocates who question the safety of vaccines and oppose vaccination mandates. As is generally the case for public scientific controversies, the vaccination debate is inherently asymmetrical. The vast majority of medical researchers advocate for vaccination mandates. While a (smaller) majority of the general public also supports vaccination mandates, vaccination mandates are opposed by a vocal and growing minority. This minority is generally dismissed by most mainstream voices in the scientific literature and the mass media as uninformed and irrational. However, efforts to sway these individuals through public health campaigns have been largely ineffective to date. To understand the factors that motivate individuals within the vaccine safety movement, we conducted interviews with ten individuals who self-identify as vaccine safety advocates, asking them about the values and information behaviors that have shaped their skepticism of vaccines. Using thematic analysis, we identified four key themes that reoccurred across these interviews: benevolence toward children, intellectual curiosity about vaccines, skepticism toward scientific elites, and respect for the scientific method. The results of this study can help us to understand how values motivate individuals to take positions outside of the mainstream in other public scientific controversies, such as around climate change and genetically modified foods. Further, the findings help to demonstrate that enhanced understanding of the values that motivate vaccine safety advocates can help us to create shared dialogues that unite rather than divide factions within the vaccination debate, moving from conflict to consensus.

Kolina S. Koltai is a doctoral student in the School of Information at The University of Texas at Austin, where she focuses on public scientific controversies and the socio-environmental and cognitive mechanisms that influence how people make decisions about those controversies, including human values. She has previous research experience in psychology and human computer interaction and has worked with NASA, AFRL, and the USAF on collaborative research projects. Her collaborative research was recently awarded the Best Ergonomics in Design Article Award from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES).


Human Values and Trust in Scientific Journals, the Mainstream Media, and Fake News

Nitin Verma, Kenneth R. Fleischmann, and Kolina S. Koltai

What factors influence trust in online information? As Americans increasingly get information from social media, public distrust in the mainstream media is growing, and ‘fake news’ is becoming an important new phenomenon. This paper examines the factors that influence trust in scientific claims posted via social media, including the use of hyperlinks and the significance of readers’ values. We describe a crowdsourcing-based experimental design that used Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform. The core of our experiment was a set of ten scientific findings reported in open-access, peer-reviewed scientific journals, which were in turn linked to within articles in both the mainstream media and ‘fake news’ sites. Our data analysis explored relationships between trust and the presence or absence of hyperlinks, and between trust and human values using nonparametric statistical methods. In terms of the influence of hyperlinks on trust, we found that inclusion of hyperlinks to scientific journals, mainstream media articles, and even hidden URLs led to higher trust than hyperlinks to ‘fake news’ sites or posts without hyperlinks (p < 0.001). Participants who clicked on hyperlinks to scientific articles placed higher trust in the claims than those who did not (p < 0.001). In terms of the influence of values on trust, we found that values had the most impact in cases where individuals saw, but decided not to click on, hyperlinks; this finding seems to indicate that in the absence of firsthand examination of the hyperlinked sites, participants tend to rely more heavily on their values to determine their trust in a scientific claim. These findings indicate that the presence and absence of hyperlinks and the values of the reader both significantly impact trust judgments.

Nitin Verma is a doctoral student in the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin. His research interests focus on misinformation and trust in online information. He completed his MS in Information Studies from the Texas iSchool in 2017, and previously earned degrees in Electronics and Informatics. He has professional experience as a software engineer, and has prior research experience working with Dr. Unmil Karadkar as a Graduate Assistant on a project funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that seeks to create a dark archive of historically significant mental health records from the Central State Hospital in Virginia.


1:15pm to 2:45pm


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