department of informatics

Conflict in a digital place

TitleConflict in a digital place
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsHalabi, A., B. Zimmermann, and M. Courant
JournalFirst Monday
KeywordsCommunity Informatics, Conflict, Digital Ownership, HCI Design, Infrastructure Studies, Syria

This paper discusses the issue of conflict over the Internet. It focuses on situations where disagreements between users connect with specific choices in the design of a digital infrastructure, and it argues that engagement in design activities can be used as a tool to analyse and probe such issues. It presents an ethnographic study of VOCI, a community of students based in Syria that witnessed a major conflict between its core members during the early 2010s. This conflict evolved around issues of control and governance, and eventually translated into a shared concern of how access and ownership of digital places are configured. This article introduces the design of Modus, a platform for shared proprietary rights over the Internet, as an alternative way to manage digital ownership.

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