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Accepted Paper:

Organising participation in data-based projects  
Judith Fassbender (University of St Andrews Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society Berlin) Tristan Henderson (University of St Andrews)

Short abstract:

We investigate how participatory data-based projects maintain their relations to the community they emerged from, or aim to serve. To do so we conduct case studies of six projects which offer alternatives to the circumstances they critique, through participatory governance and maintenance processes.

Long abstract:

Participatory data-based projects often develop in response to data-malpractices. Such projects can be institutionalisations of community organising of datafied publics themselves (bottom-up) or they may be reactions of established organisations, aiming to serve and include affected groups (top-down).

In both cases, the professionalisation and management of these projects raise the question how those organisations maintain their relations to the community they emerged from, or aim to serve. To understand this question, we are conducting case studies of projects, which offer alternative solutions to the circumstances they critique or contributions to dissolve opaqueness; by employing participatory processes in the project’s governance and maintenance. In particular, we are investigating how participatory elements are employed to follow people's needs and wishes.

We analyse three comparative pairs of cases (one top-down, one bottom-up):

- two alternative menstruation tracking apps, which process data on the user device rather than the provider's end;

- two resources for reverse engineering ad-targeting;

- two speech training datasets balancing multi-dimensional biases.

Following Light et al. (2018), we conduct a walkthrough of the project's interfaces to the public and analyse the vision, operating model and governance. By interviewing people in the facilitating organisation we further investigate the organisation of participation and the constitution of the participating public.

We aim to provide insights into how the interests of datafied publics can be supported and into the challenges of structurally organising respective relationships. Further, we hope to sharpen our understanding of the interwovenness of normative and hands-on participation within the panel.

Traditional Open Panel P142
Datafied publics
  Session 1 Thursday 18 July, 2024, -