Embodiment and Gameplay in Networked Publics

Embodiment and Gameplay in Networked Publics

Karin Hansson (Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden) and Love Ekenberg (International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria & Stockholm University, Sweden)
DOI: 10.4018/IJPADA.2017040104
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Abstract

Decision-making in self-organized information systems such as online collaborative data production systems can be understood as an autonomous system beyond centralized power of nation-states and their various institutions, mediated by social media tools where crowd feedbacks are aggregated in a variety of reputation mechanisms. These more informal sources are however not without problems. Group biases easily appear and assumed credible sources do not necessarily provide more accurate information, in particular when it comes to more complex problems and when a diversity of perspectives or certain expertise is required. To this adds the practical problem that there is a lack of efficient technology design to support equal representation and analysis of representativeness. This article focuses on the representativeness issue and, while providing an overview over principles and some tools for crowd sourced data production, suggests a framework for making patterns of bias in collaborative information production online more transparent.
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Introduction

There has been an underlying enthusiasm in some trends of e-governance, striving to decentralize the information control to broader groups of stakeholders and thereby strengthen democratic decision making in the development of more participatory and innovative governments (Hansson, Belkacem & Ekenberg, 2014). Loosely speaking, the core idea with such deliberative and participatory processes is that a broad public discourse is essential for reaching a shared understandings of the problems at stake. The latter is perceived to be fundamental in the context of semi-public and public spheres, in particular those supported by social media, extended social relations and reputation mechanisms for verifying trustworthiness of information. Consequently, supporters of a so called open government envision a more transparent and deliberative democracy where the civil society, similar to peer production networks online, setting the agenda as well as decentralizing support mechanisms, services and solutions, and where, e.g., open data access facilitates transparency, accountability, general decision making and innovation. The concept of a more collaborative government in this sense have been explored more thoroughly by, e.g., (Heeks & Bailur, 2007; Roy, 2003; Yildiz, 2007) and, particularly during the last few years, a notion of a more fundamental and covering institutional transformation has been developed, where social media applications support various functions and to some extent actually create a new potential within different research areas with overlapping and sometimes changing meaning like e-government, e-participation and open data. These concepts sometimes, but far from always, include participatory aspects of government such as crowd-sourcing and distributed decision making mechanisms to make the government more informed and effective as some of the data production, management and use are distributed to a diversity of actors in the public and private sectors (Hansson, Belkacem & Ekenberg 2014). Transparency is recognized as being fundamental in this context. Except for the obvious connection to trust, it is also important in the sense of understanding the whole information process, why, e.g., Bannister and Connolly (2011) suggest that transparency in the online contexts not only should be about data, but also include the information and decision process behind, i.e., who is behind the information as well as where, when, how and why it was produced.

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