Phd Proposal by Scott Appling

Primary tabs

Title: The Effects of Identity Characteristics in Online Community Intervention Design


Scott Appling

Human-Centered Computing Ph.D. Student

School of Interactive Computing

Georgia Institute of Technology


Date: Friday, 16 December 2022

Time: 8:00am – 10:00am (ET)

Location: Zoom Conference (Meeting ID: 98739363359, Passcode: 734994)



Dr. Rosa Arriaga (advisor), School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. Munmun De Choudhury, School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. Neha Kumar, School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. Erica Briscoe, Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency, United States Government

Dr. Andrew Sherrill, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine



Online communities are spaces where some people go to engage in meaningful personal and business-related endeavors. One way to increase the quality of individuals’ online experience is through the research, design, and application of interventions. However, prior work has suggested that one-size-fits-all interventions are not suitable. 


In my research, I study individual-level factors and identity characteristics, that can inform the design of online system affordances and interventions. First, I studied personality characteristics and derived a set of personas that can be used to design future interventions in the domain of online misinformation. Next, I studied clinical indicators of post-traumatic stress disorder on Reddit (/r/ptsd) and provide design implications that can be used to provide improved online experiences for individuals seeking mental health information, as well as novel clinical decision-making tools. 


In my proposed work, I will use two identity frameworks to study online communities: (1) Intersectional Complexity which examines power differences with regard to individuals/groups and (2) Social Identity Perspective which examines individuals in terms of their layered social identities, group memberships, and interactions. First, I will devise a dictionary of terms that characterize intersectional and social identity-related attributes based on the two frameworks. Next, I will map these terms to 6 subreddits that exemplify the complexity of individuals’ social identities in the context of competing factors (e.g., power structures, group dynamics, values, and beliefs). This will result in an understanding of how implicit and explicit identity disclosures drive individuals’ online outcomes (e.g., receiving social support, learning new information). Future researchers will be able to use the novel dictionaries to conduct quantitative studies of identity in other online communities and discourse corpora. 





  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Tatianna Richardson
  • Created: 12/08/2022
  • Modified By: Tatianna Richardson
  • Modified: 12/08/2022