Upcoming Events

Michael Evans: "Experts Rarely Make Policy"

Thursday, March 5, 2015 - 12:00pm

MIT Center for Civic Media

This event is now full.

Michael Evans will discuss how enabling policy makers and regular people to parse tough data allows for better decisions and informed communities.

Mike is a developer and previous Code for America captain with development interests firmly in the civic sphere. Founder of PishPosh.tv, he has worked with several startups including Forrst, Creative Market and Loveland Technologies developing products enabling people to learn new skills, and about the world around them.

Civic Media Lunch: Jill Dimond, "Anti-Oppressive Design: From Theory to Praxis"

Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 12:00pm

MIT Center for Civic Media

(RSVP required below.)

How can technological design consider and incorporate social justice frameworks? In this talk, Jill Dimond will give an overview of a vision for anti-oppressive design that not only considers the generative values of design, but also the practice in which the design is carried out. She will review her past and current work in the design of technologies that fight against harassment and violence in the streets and online. Dimond will also discuss the context in which this work is situated––namely, the worker-owned cooperatives movement. Specifically, she will examine the history and continued struggle to develop democratic workplaces in the United States and the world, and how they relate to the creation of anti-oppressive technologies. Dimond argues that in order to design and develop technologies that are anti-oppressive, we first must begin with ourselves.

Jill Dimond, Ph.D. is a scholar, full-stack developer/designer, and activist. She is a worker-owner of Sassafras Tech Collective (sassafras.coop), a worker-owned cooperative focused on building technologies for social justice. Her research and design interests lie at the intersection of social computing, social justice, and human-computer interaction. She holds a Ph.D. in Human Centered Computing from Georgia Institute of Technology and a bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the University of Michigan. She has worked for Google and as an interaction designer. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, NPR, BBC, and the Washington Post among others.

Civic Media Lunch: Joseph Reagle, "Comment's Mysteries"

Thursday, May 7, 2015 - 12:00pm

MIT Center for Civic Media

In his new book Reading the Comments: Likers, Haters, and Manipulators at the Bottom of the Web (MIT Press, 2015) Joseph Reagle visits communities of Amazon reviewers, fan fiction authors, online learners, scammers, freethinkers, and mean kids. He shows how comment can inform (through reviews), improve (through feedback), manipulate (through fakery), alienate (through trolling and hate), shape (through social comparison), and perplex us. While we are counseled to “avoid the comments,” Reagle argues that reading the comments permits us to ask important questions about human nature and social behavior. In this talk, he will reflect on four of those questions. What’s behind the boom and bust cycle of blog, comment, and community platforms? Second, can we trust online reviews? Third, why are comments often so hostile, sexist, and racist? And finally, how can we make sense of the product review: “saved my son’s life: 4/5 stars”?

Joseph Reagle is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Northeastern and a faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard. He taught and received his Ph.D. at NYU’s Department of Media, Culture, and Communication. As a Research Engineer at MIT he served as an author and working group chair within the IETF and W3C on topics including digital security, privacy, and Internet policy. His current interests include geek feminism and online culture.