Public comment sentiment on educational videos: Understanding the effects of presenter gender, video format, threading, and moderation on YouTube TED talk comments by G. Veletsianos, R. Kimmons, R. Larsen, T. A. Dousay & P. R. Lowenthal (2018)

http://tinyurl.com/yyk5dnrw

Women Scholars’ Experiences with Online Harassment and Abuse: Self-Protection, Resistance, Acceptance, and Self-Blame by G. Veletsianos, S. Houlden, J. Hodson, &  C. Gosse

http://tinyurl.com/y2tja24n

In Public comment sentiment on educational videos: Understanding the effects of presenter gender, video format, threading, and moderation on YouTube TED talk comments, G. Veletsianos, R. Kimmons, R. Larsen, T. A. Dousay & P. R. Lowenthal conduct a study on YouTube comment sections of TED talk videos using mostly quantitative research methods.  They explore the positive/neutral/negative connection of the comments section based on the video being presented by a male, female, or animation.  The study found that most comments were neutral.  Furthermore, male presenter’s comment sections were generally more neutral when compared to female presenters whose comment sections were more polarized. It is also suggested that less polarize comment sections could be achieved with the use of animated videos, although this method does put the onus of controlling comments on the presenter and not the commenter.  Interestingly, results assert that negativity in comments begot negativity and the same with positivity.  It is suggested that limiting negative comments may produce a healthier comment section.

Another study, Women Scholars’ Experiences with Online Harassment and Abuse: Self-Protection, Resistance, Acceptance, and Self-Blame by G. Veletsianos, S. Houlden, J. Hodson, &  C. Gosse, uses a qualitative research method, interviewing 14 female scholars about their experiences with online harassment to better understand the coping methods taken by the scholars.  Results found that self protection, resistance, self blame, and/or acceptance of harassment were all used by participants as coping methods.

Both articles assert that harassment of female scholars is more prevalent than it is for their male counterparts.  Implications from the research shows that institutions must take time to warn scholars of the potential hazards of online interaction as they encourage those scholars to have an online presence.  They can do this by providing training for the professional use of social media and demonstrate how they will support faculty being harassed online, both preventatively and otherwise.

It should be noted that neither study explored other potential causes for negative online feedback beyond gender, neglecting factors such as class, ability, religion, or race.  It is entirely possible that one or multiple other factors could have triggered negative responses.  Accounting for this would have greatly improved both studies but also radically expanded their scope and likely would have not been within the studies time frame or budget.  Furthermore, it should be noted that the Women Scholars’ Experience With Online Harassment and Abuse studies participants were all from English speaking countries and were generally affluent.

Both studies appear thoughtful in their approaches despite taking differing methods to reach their conclusions.  I find myself attracted to qualitative research over quantitative as I feel it is more inclusive/equitable and less about turning opinions into numbers.  Qualitative methods appear require more work which can be seen by the 14 interviewees chosen as compared to the Public comment sentiment on educational videos study which uses thousands of anonymous YouTube commenters as their data.

Both articles audiences are post secondary graduate students, academics, and other university/college faculty.  The general message being to both that if they are going to push faculty and online students into a potentially hazardous online space they will need to prepare them for the realities that await them, especially the women.  It is asserted that institutions need to also have female inclusion when addressing online harassment issues in order to make sure that their concerns and needs are met.

In class, we had the pleasure of meeting with a member of both studies, George Veletsianos.  I found meeting the researcher in person to be very interesting.  It is very easy to see researches as faceless people and not recognize the human and humanity behind the research.  One thing that I found very interesting was when George mentioned why they only used 14 interviewees.  I thought the number was exceptionally low but after his explanation that after 14 interviews they were just repeating themselves and not gaining any new knowledge it made a to more sense to me.  George came across as very caring and passionate about his work and I really appreciate his willingness to admit where his weaknesses were and how he would recruit others to help him with his research to make up for those short comings.  Overall the experience was very informative and well worth the time.