Today was my allotted time for 'Show and Tell', where I would be discussing my idea and concept for the first time to other people in the studio. Overall the idea was well received with Chris and the others giving me good feedback on where to explore next.
Reddit was discussed for a quite a while, as well as the idea of 'online spaces' after Iona brought up a new recent feature of Reddit's called the serious flag - users could apparently flag their posts or threads as 'serious' to expect genuine and helpful comments and answers to their concerns. This suggested to me that Reddit is obviously self aware about their site being misused or is not generating the responses they are expecting (internet trolls, insincere answers, general rudeness etc.). This gave me something else to explore and I was particularly interested in how tagging a post as 'serious' affected the way people react to the post.
We also discussed 4chan, a site that is notorious for being part of the 'darker side of the internet'. Here, opinions are much more controversial about topics and users are always generally out to get a response from other users. This was a site I would generally like to avoid using in my research, but it raises the question of anonymity on the internet and why people do and say certain things when they can hide behind their screens. Anonymity has consistently been something I've wanted to explore through out this project, but I always intended to explore it as a design option, and not really contribute it to my research. This is something I should change.
Chris also asked me to consider what type of questions people ask online. To do this, I decided to workshop this idea by putting up three large sheets around the different studios (1st/2nd year studios, the 3rd year studio and the 4th year studio) to ask the question "What questions do you use Google to answer?' and awaited the results. Chris also asked that I consider that kind of knowledge needs to be shared - should craft knowledge be shared?
I began considering the different ways I would engage the users on the platform other than just using conversation. I planned to appeal to user's egos by rewarding users for participation, possibly through the use of gamification - the more the user participates, the more points they would receive that could be redeemed further down the line (business sometimes offer rewards by accumulating points). Reddit's karma system is an example of this - the karma is virtually useless but it gives users a certain level of status amongst the community. The more good posts they make, the more karma they receive. While the reward itself should be the fact that they learn something, this will never encourage users to actually use the app in the first place.
Finally, I will need to look into the problems of online spaces, as well as do some market research on sites such as Quora, who currently have one of the best question and answer based communities.