Josh and @mzargham here with a proposal. Tl;dr: invite a few ethnographers into SourceCred’s Discord to document and understand the conversations and decision-making in the SourceCred community.
What we’d like to do:
So, @mzargham and I have recently been working with a group of digital ethnographers (Ellie Rennie, Primavera De Filippi, Kelsie Nabbens, and others) on a research project related to Discord and blockchain communities called “Metaethnography”. With the mods’ permission, a few of these researchers would love to join the community, listen, and try to understand the issues that the SC community is going through right now. We know that the community has been struggling with some decisions lately, e.g. this conversation around a new SourceCred DAO, and while we don’t want to influence any present conversations, we do hope that this ethnographic perspective (and any documentation or writing produced) will help the SourceCred community grow and evolve in the long-term.
How we plan to do this:
A couple of ethnographers affiliated with the Metaethnography project will join the SourceCred Discord to observe conversations and ask the occasional question. To deal with the ethics requirements of studying communities, we’ve also built an “ethical research bot” that helps manage consent—this allows us to ensure that no one will be quoted in the ethnographic research without their specific consent. The bot will also help facilitate communication with researchers, so that we can involve and support those already committed to supporting and understanding the SourceCred community.
Why we’re doing this:
We are academic researchers trying to understand how and why (online) communities make decisions and govern themselves. The fact that SourceCred is a tool for online governance makes this doubly-important. We are also interested in understanding how to improve the way we conduct digital ethnography today—thus “Metaethnography”.
To get started, we will need an admin or mod to give us written consent (preferably in an email, though over Discord or Discourse is fine).
Josh and Zargham