April 6, 2017: Seminar - Casey Fiesler: "Regulation Beyond Code: How Rules Mediate Our Interactions with Technology and with Each Other"


Regulation Beyond Code: How Rules Mediate Our Interactions with Technology and with Each Other

Casey Fiesler
University of Colorado Boulder
April 6, 2017
11:00 a.m., Room 1000 SEO


The nature of our interactions with technology do not stop with code. There are many other factors that regulate how we can interact with technology--law, Terms of Service, ethical judgments, or social norms. Sometimes these different sources of rules work together, sometimes they conflict, and sometimes they are impossible to understand. Moreover, a usability problem may not be about the technology itself, but about the rules that govern how we can use it. This talk surveys a series of research projects that examine the impact of regulation on technology use and online interactions. How do people in online creative communities make complex decisions about what and how they can share in contexts where the law is gray, like remix? What usability problems do copyright control technologies present? How do online social platforms govern behavior through policy, and what kinds of rules do communities create for themselves instead? Finally, I suggest that designing for community self-governance and existing social norms may be the best solution for regulating behavior and encouraging positive community interactions.


Casey Fiesler is an assistant professor and founding faculty in the Department of Information Science, and Computer Science by courtesy, at University of Colorado Boulder. Armed with a PhD in Human-Centered Computing from Georgia Tech and a JD from Vanderbilt Law School, she primarily conducts research in the areas of online communities, law and ethics, and social norms. Her dissertation research focused on the role that copyright law plays in online creative communities. She is also a copyright activist (having interned at Creative Commons and currently part of the legal committee for the Organization for Transformative Works) and occasional commentator on issues related to women and technology. Her work has won Best Paper Awards and Honorable Mentions at CHI and CSCW, as well as a Burton Award for legal writing.

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