Drawing from Theories of Justice to Respond to Online Harassment

This research will investigate how theories and models of justice can be designed into online systems for people and technology to more effectively and productively respond to online harassment. Modeled after the U.S. justice system, whose importance is cemented in the preamble of the U.S. Constitution, this project seeks to respond to online harassment in ways that promote perceptions of fairness of process and outcome and reduce likelihood of future harassment by both the offender and the community. The proposed work will first 1) audit existing site policies and practices for responding to online harassment and map those to theories of justice; and 2) investigate how Internet users assess and respond to harassment based on characteristics of the site, offender, post, and community. Then, it will propose and evaluate interventions that 3) promote perceptions of fairness in process and outcome in response to harassment; and 4) reduce likelihood of future harassment. Finally, it will provide a public-facing interactive tool that 5) trains Internet users to identify and improve their own orientations toward retribution online; and 6) provides educational content for high school and college students to learn theories, methods, and opportunities in the field of computing through a robust set of case studies in online harassment.

Start date: 8/1/2018

End date: 7/31/2022


National Science Foundation: $909,213