A commenter posts a lot of content, to which an authoritative finger is raised in objection to that commenter's not letting others contribute.

Prompt suggesting letting others post

Opens up the discussion to more people

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Inference

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What It Is

When a user writes the majority of an online conversation’s posts, they will receive a dialog on future attempts to contribute, which suggests that they step back and allow others to participate.For example, on the open-source forum, Discourse, when a user is composing a new reply, if they already wrote 80% or more of the posts in the thread, a just-in-time message appears to the side to inform them of that statistic and ask if they might want to let other folks contribute more before responding.

When To Use It

In longer form online discussions with more than three participants.

What Is Its Intended Impact

  • Dominant poster becomes more contemplative about the role they play in a forum, and perhaps more conscientious about letting others speak
  • May make less prolific users feel less intimidated by the idea of contributing to the discussion
  • May build towards equity in prompting people of privilege who are used to having the spotlight to make room for others who are often without that privilege.

How We Know It Works

How We Know It Might Work

Why It Matters

Special Considerations

There should be an option to disable this notification in specific contexts where having one person be the focus is specifically encouraged: such as Reddit-style Ask Me Anything (AMA) discussions. In the case of Discourse, there were specific instances where implementing this intervention was found to be counterproductive.

The intervention should consider the engagement that the poster on the thread has received before being deployed. This could be reduced by using courteous, calm language to not shame the user for posting.

This intervention also makes the assumption that dominant voices taking a step back will naturally make others feel more welcome. That’s a pretty strong assumption, which warrants testing.

Examples

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Citations

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Further reading

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