Methodical Snark critical reflections on how we measure and assess civic tech

research links w15-17



Qualitative content analysis of 122 US cities suggests three main pathways through which police forces adopt and innovate transparency. Short version: it’s complicated, but policy and mandates matter a lot.

New research from NewsWhip suggests that political news is the trick for news outlets to increase their Facebook engagement, but that partisan sites are outperforming mainstream news outlets on Facebook in the first months of Trump. They argue that new features will only reinforce the Face’s centrality to activism in the future.

Microsoft Transparency report suggests that the US Govt is asking for a lot more information about less people (from 2015-2016).


A new paper from@MForstater ‏ questions the appropriateness of key tools for corporate transparency, arguing that country-by-country reporting and public registries for corporate ownership might miss the balance between transparency and privacy.

Non-Profit Quarterly has some basic tips on measuring social media engagement performance.

@samdubberley  writes that digital human rights researchers aren’t being protected from the “vicarious trauma” of having to look at the worst humanity has to offer on a computer screen all day long. #responsibledata

In the Methodological Weeds

The RDF blog has a new post by @ARGohdes which collects and links to readings on  quantitative measures of human rights, and mentions a “lively and ongoing debate,” but fails to summarize or describe it. Still, good reading list.

The Policy and Internet Blog has a post and interview on the representivity of Twitter data, noting that it doesn’t and it can’t. Yes. Links to a paper demonstrating the same through “multivariate empirical analysis of the digital divide among Twitter users, comparing Twitter users and nonusers with respect to their characteristic patterns of Internet activity and to certain key attitudes.” Thank you.

Academic Opps


Calls for Papers


Miscellanea & Absurdum

Harvard students start ‘Dumbledore’s army’ for resistance training (headline, USA Today)

The Economist’s daily chart on Tuesday showing that “United bumps more passengers than any other large American airline”:


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Methodical Snark critical reflections on how we measure and assess civic tech