Research into online communities has been a growing field of investigation across academic disciplines and has the capacity to provide insight into how users form their own groups online and organise their practices. Additionally, it advances understanding on how the affordances of platforms shape these practices and the relationships between platforms used and possible mechanisms for moderation. Certain factors make this type of research challenging – something experienced in Horizon’s ‘Everything in Moderation’ project – in particular gaining access to online communities. An increasing number of groups choose to post in more private end to end encrypted spaces, which makes it difficult to identify them and approach them for the purposes of research. Furthermore, and reflective of the current diverse political climate, online communities often focus on controversial and inflammatory topics and can be mistrustful of outsiders, including researchers. EFRESH will explore these challenges and identify practices to address them.
Project start date 4.9.2023 – 31.8.2024
EFRESH is a Horizon Agile Round 3 project