Scaling Citizen Behavioral Science for Discoveries on Effective Online Dialogue and Knowledge Creation
TWCF Number
Project Duration
January 1 / 2021
- December 31 / 2023
Core Funding Area
Character Virtue Development
North America
Amount Awarded

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J. Nathan Matias
Institution Cornell University

Digital communication has enabled dialogue and knowledge creation at previously unimaginable scales. Billions of people take part in online communities that span vast physical and cultural distances. 

These digital connections have made society more resilient to global crises. But they also produced online communities rife with conflict, exclusion, and sometimes violence. For these communities to cooperate more effectively, they must foster virtue-based behaviors, social connections, and social norms.

Directed by Dr. J. Nathan Matias, this project will conduct field experiments designed to advance the practice of flourishing in online communities. It will conduct 15 studies aimed at improving online dialog and knowledge creation. The project will work collaboratively with the large communities on Wikipedia and Reddit to design and execute these experiments via a participatory process. Both platforms have hundreds of distinct, volunteer-run communities that could host field experiments. The project will benefit these communities by informing evidence-based practices in dialog and knowledge creation.

Project Resources
Society often relies on social algorithms that adapt to human behavior. Yet scientists struggle to generalize the combined behavior of mutuall...
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