First Monday <p><em>First Monday</em> is one of the first openly accessible, peer–reviewed journals solely devoted to resarch about the Internet. <em>First Monday</em> has published 2,190 papers in 316 issues, written by 3,193 different authors over the past 26 years. No subscription fees, no submission fees, no advertisements, no fundraisers, no walls.</p> en-US <p>Authors retain copyright to their work published in <em>First Monday</em>. Please see the footer of each article for details.</p> (Edward J. Valauskas) (Nancy John) Mon, 05 Sep 2022 10:45:30 -0500 OJS 60 Disinformation networks: A quali-quantitative investigation of antagonistic Dutch-speaking Telegram channels <p>In the field of disinformation research, the study of antagonistic networks and discourse on the messaging platform Telegram has developed into an active area of investigation. To this end, recent literature has specifically set out to map the scale, scope, and narrative trends marking Telegram communities with ties to localised, European contexts. The present paper contributes to this line of inquiry by offering an empirically-informed exploration of far-right and conspiracist Telegram channels associated with Flanders and the Netherlands. Building on previous observations concerning the propagation of disinformation on social media, the paper proposes a typology of the antagonistic discourse and narratives that circulate within these public channels. It thereby seeks to reconcile the comprehensive perspectives afforded by ‘big data’ approaches with the analysis of Telegram in an event– and culture–specific context. Covering the period March 2017–July 2021, this paper specifically considers an inductively collected dataset of 215 public Telegram channels and 371,951 messages pertaining to the relevant contexts, and bridges gaps between quantitative and qualitative methods by combining visual network analysis with discourse analysis. This combined approach reveals an expanding, highly diverse and dynamic network of Telegram channels, marked by overlapping antagonistic narratives, including traces of international conspiracy theories such as ‘The Great Reset’ and QAnon. These observations contribute to our understanding of how an emerging ‘alt-tech’ platform harbours and interconnects antagonistic actors and narratives in a specific linguistic and political context.</p> Tom Willaert, Stijn Peeters, Jasmin Seijbel, Nathalie Van Raemdonck Copyright (c) 2022 First Monday Mon, 05 Sep 2022 00:00:00 -0500 Toxicity detection sensitive to conversational context <p>User posts whose perceived toxicity depends on conversational context are rare in current toxicity detection datasets. Hence, toxicity detectors trained on existing datasets will also tend to disregard context, making the detection of context-sensitive toxicity harder when it does occur. We construct and publicly release a dataset of 10,000 posts with two kinds of toxicity labels: (i) annotators considered each post with the previous one as context; and (ii) annotators had no additional context. Based on this, we introduce a new task, context sensitivity estimation, which aims to identify posts whose perceived toxicity changes if the context (previous post) is also considered. We then evaluate machine learning systems on this task, showing that classifiers of practical quality can be developed, and we show that data augmentation with knowledge distillation can improve performance further. Such systems could be used to enhance toxicity detection datasets with more context-dependent posts, or to suggest when moderators should consider parent posts, which often may be unnecessary and may otherwise introduce significant additional costs.</p> Alexandros Xenos, John Pavlopoulos, Ion Androutsopoulos, Lucas Dixon, Jeffrey Sorensen, Léo Laugier Copyright (c) 2022 First Monday Mon, 05 Sep 2022 00:00:00 -0500 The Syrian War on Facebook: A call for mixed methods <p>In this paper, I analyze thirty-two public Facebook pages that actively support a side in the ongoing Syrian turmoil to study users’ online expressions to test whether the war has translated metaphorically onto these Facebook pages. This study is in conversation with and contributes to the online political polarization scholarship, the role of online platforms in the “Arab Spring,” and the digital methods used to analyze online data in Arabic. I use a supervised, machine-learning approach to classify more than four million unique comments and more than seventy thousand unique posts, from Facebook to test whether the Facebook pages are becoming warring spaces where opposing parties “fight.” Or whether they are producing spaces for conversations and “connections”? Or whether they are just echo chambers? My findings show that these pages are producing echo chambers rather than becoming warring spaces or conversing spaces. My findings also show that religious expressions are overwhelmingly used by all sides. I conclude by suggesting future methodological and analytical approaches for research of Social Network Sites (SNS).&nbsp;</p> Toni Rouhana Copyright (c) 2022 First Monday Mon, 05 Sep 2022 00:00:00 -0500 Rebel personalities: Canada’s far-right media <p>This paper questions the influence of far-right media in Canada in light of the emergence of populist politics globally and the recent (2022) domestic truck protests, occupations and border blockades. In lieu of enumerating far-right activity online this paper questions the impact and funding sources of online influencers and news channels headed by former media and political staff. Canada’s Rebel Media organization has served not only as the leading far-right media hub, but also as an incubator of other personalities that have gone on to create other online news sites.</p> Greg Elmer, Anthony Burton Copyright (c) 2022 First Monday Mon, 05 Sep 2022 00:00:00 -0500 Why higher-level reading is important <p>Societies are facing fundamental transformations as digital technologies are changing the ways we live, interact, work, study and read. The social and cultural impact of the digitization process on reading skills and practices remains under-researched. While digital technologies offer much potential for new forms of reading, recent empirical research shows that the digital environment is having a negative impact on reading, in particular on long-form reading and reading comprehension. It also remains unclear whether the transition to digital media actually lives up to its promise of improving learning outcomes. Recent studies of various kinds indicate a decline of crucial higher-level reading competencies and practices, such as critical and conscious reading, slow reading, non-strategic reading and long-form reading. Current educational policy, meanwhile, relies heavily on monocultural standardized testing of basic reading capabilities and on growing use of digital technologies. Reading education, assessment, research and policy-making should focus more on higher-level reading practices in both adults and children in order to understand the development of reading skills and practices in an age increasingly dependent on a ubiquitous digital infrastructure.</p> André Schüller-Zwierlein, Anne Mangen, Miha Kovač, Adriaan van der Weel Copyright (c) 2022 First Monday Mon, 05 Sep 2022 00:00:00 -0500 “NoL, please be away from my life.” - Pejorative neologisms for stigmatizing males in Chinese micro-blogging <p>This study investigates the use of an emergent pejorative “<em>蝻</em>” <em>nǎn </em>by Chinese micro-blogging users on Weibo. The phonetic part “<em>南</em>” <em>nán </em>(south) of “<em>蝻</em>” (nymph of locust - NoL) is a homophone of “<em>男</em>” (male) in Chinese with a dehumanized quality; hence “<em>蝻</em>” was often used to devalue males, thereby churning out various associated neologisms in cyberspace. Data were collected from 898 unique Weibo postings included “<em>蝻</em>”. The focal neologisms were coded according to six identified linguistic structures, including “<em>蝻</em>” associated with identity pejoration, adjectives, affective terms, taboo terms, feminine gender markers and others. Underneath its superficial pejoration, we argue that “<em>蝻” </em>can be adopted as contextual strategies to counter gender issues via the above-mentioned language play, projecting a shifting gender ideology in China’s cyberspace.</p> Luoxiangyu Zhang, Yi Zhang Copyright (c) 2022 First Monday Mon, 05 Sep 2022 00:00:00 -0500 The effect of YouTube on traditional game culture of children <p>The main purpose of this study is to reveal the effects of YouTube game videos on traditional children game culture, observing changes in play behavior. We predicted that changes would occur due to new media technologies. Semi-structured in-depth interviews occurred with the mothers of 20 three-six-year-old children in Erzurum, a city in Turkey. A total 16 mothers provided their observations on the playing behaviors of children.</p> <p>Based on these interviews, it was determined that YouTube game videos had an effect on traditional game culture. While games are forms of play in which children behave naturally, enjoy participating and engage in their own distinctive behaviors, children who watch YouTube game videos develop new play habits that lead them to imitate people and events in YouTube videos, diminishing to some degree their creativity. YouTube videos change playing behaviors, transforming games into shows.</p> Nihan Çelik, Adem Yilmaz Copyright (c) 2022 First Monday Mon, 05 Sep 2022 00:00:00 -0500