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  1. How does presenting comments in a news article affect the ways that readers engage with and retain information about news? This paper presents results from a controlled experiment investigating effects related to different strategies for promoting discussion at news websites (N=336 participants). The strategies include highlighting specific comments about a data visualization, providing prompts with the comments, and annotating prompts on the visualization. By comparison to a simple list of comments (baseline), our analysis found that annotations contributed to higher levels of participant engagement in the discussion, yet lower levels of knowledge retention related to the article. These findings raise new considerations about whether and how to integrate discussion content into news and points toward future content moderation systems that assist in representing and eliciting discussion at news websites. 
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  2. Misinformation runs rampant on social media and has been tied to adverse health behaviors such as vaccine hesitancy. Crowdsourcing can be a means to detect and impede the spread of misinformation online. However, past studies have not deeply examined the individual characteristics - such as cognitive factors and biases - that predict crowdworker accuracy at identifying misinformation. In our study (n = 265), Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) workers and university students assessed the truthfulness and sentiment of COVID-19 related tweets as well as answered several surveys on personal characteristics. Results support the viability of crowdsourcing for assessing misinformation and content stance (i.e., sentiment) related to ongoing and politically-charged topics like the COVID-19 pandemic, however, alignment with experts depends on who is in the crowd. Specifically, we find that respondents with high Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT) scores, conscientiousness, and trust in medical scientists are more aligned with experts while respondents with high Need for Cognitive Closure (NFCC) and those who lean politically conservative are less aligned with experts. We see differences between recruitment platforms as well, as our data shows university students are on average more aligned with experts than MTurk workers, most likely due to overall differences in participant characteristics on each platform. Results offer transparency into how crowd composition affects misinformation and stance assessment and have implications on future crowd recruitment and filtering practices. 
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  3. Civic problems are often too complex to solve through traditional top-down strategies. Various governments and civic initiatives have explored more community-driven strategies where citizens get involved with defining problems and innovating solutions. While certain people may feel more empowered, the public at large often does not have accessible, flexible, and meaningful ways to engage. Prior theoretical frameworks for public participation typically offer a one-size-fits-all model based on face-to-face engagement and fail to recognize the barriers faced by even the most engaged citizens. In this article, we explore a vision for open civic design where we integrate theoretical frameworks from public engagement, crowdsourcing, and design thinking to consider the role technology can play in lowering barriers to large-scale participation, scaffolding problem-solving activities, and providing flexible options that cater to individuals’ skills, availability, and interests. We describe our novel theoretical framework and analyze the key goals associated with this vision: (1) to promote inclusive and sustained participation in civics; (2) to facilitate effective management of large-scale participation; and (3) to provide a structured process for achieving effective solutions. We present case studies of existing civic design initiatives and discuss challenges, limitations, and future work related to operationalizing, implementing, and testing this framework. 
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  4. Due to challenges around low-quality comments and misinformation, many news outlets have opted to turn off commenting features on their websites. The New York Times (NYT), on the other hand, has continued to scale up its online discussion resources to reach large audiences. Through interviews with the NYT moderation team, we present examples of how moderators manage the first ~24 hours of online discussion after a story breaks, while balancing concerns about journalistic credibility. We discuss how managing comments at the NYT is not merely a matter of content regulation, but can involve reporting from the "community beat" to recognize emerging topics and synthesize the multiple perspectives in a discussion to promote community. We discuss how other news organizations---including those lacking moderation resources---might appropriate the strategies and decisions offered by the NYT. Future research should investigate strategies to share and update the information generated about topics in the news through the course of content moderation. 
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