This simple intervention is a message for new users of a platform or new members of an online community.
It has three key elements:
This intervention has been shown to:
This can appear as an automated comment to a new user's post, as an automated personal message, or as an interstitial upon entry.
Researchers at Cornell's Citizen and Technology Lab conducted a two-year project with r/feminism on Reddit to test an idea for reducing harassment. After presenting 1,300 users with this intervention, they found that messages explaining that harassers were a minority increased newcomer comments by 20% on average. This effect persisted across the full 10-week period of the experiment.
This could be useful for reassuring and empowering marginalized voices who would otherwise be silenced by hostility. It may also help with polarization, as it helps newcomers and outsiders to an online community more accurately gauge hostile users as being the minority that they are, rather than seeing them as representative of the entire community and treating that community accordingly.
A grade of Convincing is reserved for interventions for which the majority of evidence is peer-reviewed experiments that have yet to undergo attempts at replication.
This is the second highest grade that we give interventions.
Do you think this intervention could have more benefits, unacknowledged drawbacks, or other inaccuracies that we've neglected to mention here?
We always welcome more evidence and rigorous research to back up, debunk, or augment what we know.
If you want to be a part of that effort, we'd love to have your help!Email us
Reduces spread of mis- and disinformation