Tim Squirrell is a PhD candidate in Science and Technology Studies at the University of Edinburgh. His research focusses on construction and negotiation of authority and expertise on the internet, with a focus on fitness and nutrition communities.

First Journal Article! "Platform Dialectics: The relationships between volunteer moderators and end users on reddit" in New Media and Society

Hello everyone, long time no see. You look nice. Did you do something with your hair?

This is a post to let anyone who might be interested know that my first peer-reviewed journal article, using research from my PhD thesis on authority and expertise in self-improvement communities on reddit, has been published in the journal New Media and Society. This is really exciting for me, as NM&S is the leading journal in the field of internet studies.

The paper deals with findings from my ethnographic research on r/paleo and r/nootropics, two communities on reddit with a focus on knowledge-building from particular (alternative) perspectives. There’s a lot packed in to it, but it deals primarily with the ways in which the affordances of reddit (that is, the way that design features facilitate or constrain certain courses of action) shape the relationships between users and moderators. It takes a dialectic approach: moderators have a certain vision for how they want their communities to look, and use the powers available to them to try to make it so; in turn, users respond in ways that are often unpredictable or against the grain of what moderators would like. That relationship goes on and on, tacking back and forth between the actions of different groups, usually in a never-ending conversation.

You can find the article here, and if you don’t have institutional access to this journal then I’m very happy to send a pdf. You can find contact details for me in the Contact section of this website.

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