ACM Web Science 2015 (Oxford, UK) was the complete opposite of WWW2015. Almost to a point of saturation... but I shouldn't complain :)

With a heavy weighting of social science (or social science influenced) papers, despite still having a majority of computer scientists in the audience, most sessions and panels were about ethics, privacy, digital rights, inclusivity and a 'pro-human' Web. The focus was overwhelmingly social media, with a side of Internet of Things, plus a weird smattering of robot ethics. Usually a focus on social media means lots of SNA, detecting content trends, and user profiling and other things I hate, but instead substantial discussion of people as people, rather than users (or targets), was refreshing. There was also plenty of work on sites other than Twitter and Facebook! Such as individual blogs, social gaming sites, specialist and smaller communities. Though I'm not sure if we figured out any solutions to the personal data crisis.

That's not to say it was all social! There were technical talks too, including a few papers on linked data.

Max presented our paper The Many Dimensions of Lying Online during the first Online Social Behaviours session, and along with the other three papers presented formed a great narrative about the complex and nuanced nature of online identities, and how they both affect and are affected by technical systems.

I'm not going to write up content here. Instead, see all my posts from during the conference at /tag/websci15.

Other things. The structure of the conference felt unusual (in a good way); parallel paper sessions were dispersed amongst panels and workshops. All sessions were very interdisciplinary. The catering was really good. There were fewer people than I expected.

🏷 conference decentralisation ethics event identity online personas phd privacy social media social networks social science web science web we want websci15