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  1. This paper focuses on embodied visibility emerging in social Virtual Reality (VR) as a new lens to explore how queer users build and experience visibility in nuanced ways. Drawing on 29 queer social VR users’ experiences across various countries and cultures, we identify three main strategies for building and experiencing embodied visibility in social VR, limitations of each strategy, and impacts of such visibility on queer users’ identity practices online and offline. We broaden current studies on queer visibility online and expand the traditional lens of selective visibility by highlighting how embodiment both supports and challenges the multidimensional online presentations of queer identity. We also propose potential design considerations to further support diverse queer users’ visibility in social VR and inform future directions for creating inclusive online social experiences.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2023
  3. The contemporary understanding of gender continues to highlight the complexity and variety of gender identities beyond a binary dichotomy regarding one’s biological sex assigned at birth. The emergence and popularity of various online social spaces also makes the digital presentation of gender even more sophisticated. In this paper, we use non-cisgender as an umbrella term to describe diverse gender identities that do not match people’s sex assigned at birth, including Transgender, Genderfuid, and Non-binary.We especially explore non-cisgender individuals’ identity practices and their challenges in novel social Virtual Reality (VR) spaces where they can present, express, and experiment their identity in ways that traditional online social spaces cannot provide. We provide one of the first empirical evidence of how social VR platforms may introduce new and novel phenomena and practices of approaching diverse gender identities online. We also contribute to re-conceptualizing technology-supported identity practices by highlighting the role of (re)discovering the physical body online and informing the design of the emerging metaverse for supporting diverse gender identities in the future.
  4. Harassment has long been considered a severe social issue and a culturally contextualized construct. More recently, understanding and mitigating emerging harassment in social Virtual Reality (VR) has become a growing research area in HCI and CSCW. Based on the perspective of harassment in the U.S. culture, in this paper we identify new characteristics of online harassment in social VR using 30 in-depth interviews. We especially attend to how people who are already considered marginalized in the gaming and virtual worlds contexts (e.g., women, LGBTQ, and ethnic minorities) experience such harassment. As social VR is still a novel technology, our proactive approach highlights embodied harassment as an emerging but understudied form of harassment in novel online social spaces. Our critical review of social VR users' experiences of harassment and recommendations to mitigate such harassment also extends the current conceptualization of online harassment in CSCW. We therefore contribute to the active prevention of future harassment in nuanced online environments, platforms, and experiences.
  5. Computer-mediated collaboration has long been a core research interest in CSCW and HCI. As online social spaces continue to evolve towards more immersive and higher fidelity experiences, more research is still needed to investigate how emerging novel technology may foster and support new and more nuanced forms and experiences of collaboration in virtual environments. Using 30 interviews, this paper focuses on what people may collaborate on and how they collaborate in social Virtual Reality (VR). We broaden current studies on computer-mediated collaboration by highlighting the importance of embodiment for co-presence and communication, replicating offline collaborative activities, and supporting the seamless interplay of work, play, and mundane experiences in everyday lives for experiencing and conceptualizing collaboration in emerging virtual environments. We also propose potential design implications that could further support everyday collaborative activities in social VR
  6. The digital presentation of gender and sexuality has been a long-standing concern in HCI and CSCW. There is also a growing interest in exploring more nuanced presentations of identity afforded in emerging online social spaces that have not been thoroughly studied. In this paper, we endeavor to contribute towards this research agenda in yet another new media context – live streaming – by analyzing female and LGBTQ streamers’ practices to present and manage their gender identity and sexual identity. Our findings highlight streamers’ gender representation and sexual representation as a demonstration of controlling their own bodies, an awareness of the audiences and the resistance to their expectations, and an exhibition of the affordances and power structure of the specific online social space. We extend existing studies on live streaming by exploring the understudied gender identity and sexual identity aspect of the streaming practices. We also highlight the less audience/performance-oriented but more self-driven aspect of digital representations and the importance of affirmation and empowerment in this process.We add nuance to the existing HCI/CSCWstudies on gender and sexuality by investigating a highly dynamic, interactive, and multilayered self-presentation mechanism emerging in live streaming and point to the need for potential new lenses tomore »analyze technology-supported identity construction.« less
  7. Live streaming is a unique medium that merges different layers of communication by facilitating individual, group, and mass communication simultaneously. Streamers who broadcast themselves on live streaming platforms such as Twitch are their own media entity and have the challenge of having to manage interactions with many different types of online audiences beyond the translucent platform interfaces. Through qualitative interviews with 25 Twitch streamers, in this paper we share streamers’ practices of discovering audience composition, categorizing audience groups, and developing appropriate mechanisms to interact with them despite geographical, technological, and temporal limitations. We discuss streamers’ appropriation of real-time signals provided by these platforms as sources of information, and their dependence on both technology and voluntary human labor to scale their media entity. We conclude with design recommendations for streaming platforms to provide streamer-centric tools for audience management, especially for knowledge discovery and growth management. .