From CommunityData

About Me[edit]

My name is Charles Kiene, and I study online communities and moderation teams with the Community Data Science Collective at the University of Washington. I graduated with a double major in Communications and Social Sciences in 2015 from the University of Washington. I'm currently a first year MA/ PhD student in the Department of Communication under Benjamin Mako [1] as my advisor.

Methodologically, I have a lot of experience using qualitative techniques, like in-depth interviewing and ethnography. As part of my PhD program, I am training in statistical methods to also leverage big social media data in ways to analyze macro level trends of organizational behavior and management strategies of online communities. Below are the past projects I've worked on and the resulting publications.

Research on Reddit[edit]

Surviving an "Eternal September": How an Online Community Managed a Surge of Newcomers - Abstract[edit]

"We present a qualitative analysis of interviews with participants in the NoSleep community within Reddit where millions of fans and writers of horror fiction congregate. We explore how the community handled a massive, sudden, and sustained increase in new members. Although existing theory and stories like Usenet's infamous "Eternal September" suggest that large influxes of newcomers can hurt online communities, our interviews suggest that NoSleep survived without major incident. We propose that three features of NoSleep allowed it to manage the rapid influx of newcomers gracefully: (1) an active and well-coordinated group of administrators, (2) a shared sense of community which facilitated community moderation, and (3) technological systems that mitigated norm violations. We also point to several important trade-offs and limitations."

Research on World of Warcraft[edit]

Abstract for Managing Organizational Culture in Online Group Mergers - Abstract[edit]

"Research in social computing has typically conceptualized community growth as a process through which a group welcomes newcomers individually. However, online communities also grow through formal and informal mergers, where groups of newcomers with shared experiences join in batches. To understand this process, we conducted a six month, comparative ethnography of two mergers of World of Warcraft raid guilds. While one merger led to a single, thriving community, the other led to the dissolution of both pre-merger groups. Analysis of our ethnographic data suggests that differences in managing organizational culture (a concept drawn from organization studies) led the successful and failed cases to diverge. The study contributes to our understanding of why some attempts to integrate members of different communities are more successful than others. We outline several ways that community leaders, researchers, and designers can effectively take organizational culture into account."

Research on Discord[edit]

We investigated the experiences of moderation teams that expanded their online communities from one platform Reddit to Discord, as well as the strategies of adapting to the new platform, through a series of interviews with moderators.

Currently under review for publication.