Conceptualizing, Creating, & Controlling Constructive and Controversial Comments: A CSCW Research-athon

Many social media platforms provide features for commenting, which often provide affordances for people to give feedback to others. Around the theme of advancing research about online comments, this workshop aims to bring together a diverse range of researchers for cross-discipline community building and productive mixed-methods research. The workshop is structured around a research “hackathon,” where participants actively work on producing initial stages of research, theory, and design related to a central dataset (in the case of this workshop, public comments from a historical corpus). Participants will form collaborative teams to tackle questions of interest that move forward current thinking around online comment behaviors, participants, quality, and design. The one-day workshop is led by 5 researchers, and it will accommodate up to 32 participants.

Call for Workshop Applications

The CCCCCCCR workshop in Portland aims to bring together researchers and practitioners to work collaboratively in a "research-athon/hackathon" style workshop. We invite participants with both qualitative and quantitative backgrounds to collectively investigate a shared commenting dataset (everyone will be granted access to a collection of shared, similar datasets from Reddit) in order to generate immediate questions, hypotheses, findings, designs, and theories.

We invite proposals from academic, industry, public sector, and activist researchers that touch on commenting in relation to:

The workshop will be held on Sunday February 26th, 2017, from 8:30-5:00.

Additionally, two weeks before CSCW, participants will be expected to attend a 1-hour pre-conference online video conference meeting, where workshop organizers will provide access to datasets, organize topic areas with suggested teams (based on workshop applications, but these are flexible), and answer any questions. We will also point participants with specific interests to particular portions of the dataset. (For any participants who wish to explore qualitative methods – e.g., conduct interviews during workshop time – we will ask them to consider plans for this work at this point before the workshop.)

We invite short applications of no more than 4 pages including references in the ACM Extended Abstract Format. Applicants should answer 4 brief, but required, statements as part of their workshop application:

  1. A short statement about their experience as a commenting researcher – along with research questions, projects, publications, etc. – to demonstrate their interest in and engagement with the research space
  2. A short statement about their personal experience as a commenter, to demonstrate their empathy for research subjects, problems, and designs
  3. A short statement about one or two research questions they are interested in working on during the workshop, specifically identifying at most two of the four themes, to demonstrate potential contribution at the workshop
  4. A short statement on specific ways in which they could collaborate on commenting research with someone from a different methodological background, to demonstrate potential for collaboration (e.g., if the applicant is a quantitative researcher, we ask them to consider qualitative intersections with their own work, and vice versa; for mixed-methods researchers, we ask them to explain how they might help facilitate these cross-method connections

A PDF-version of the Extended-Abstract-formatted application should be sent to by 8:00pm PST on January 10th.

Any questions about this workshop can be directed to:

For information about CSCW workshops, please see the CSCW workshops page, or the registration page. for any additional workshop questions, please email

Organizing committee

Eric Gilbert is an Assistant Professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. His research is in social computing broadly, and he has a new grant from the NSF on moderating online comments with machine learning.

Cliff Lampe is an Associate Professor in the School of Information at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on sociotechnical features of social computing systems that lead to prosocial outcomes. His research covers social media, civic participation, and commenting systems among other topics.

Alex Leavitt got his PhD from the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California, where he studied social media interactions and collaboration, focusing his dissertation on breaking news commenting on reddit. He currently is a Quantitative UX Researcher at Facebook.

Katherine Lo is a PhD student in the Department of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine. Her research focuses on how moderators develop practices to maintain healthy and safe communities in online platforms, in particular she examines the practices employed by moderators and users in vulnerable communities.

Svetlana Yarosh is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science & Engineering at University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on the positive benefits of comments in online health communities (particularly those focused on recovery from substance use disorders), such as increased social connectedness and exchange of reciprocal social support.