Computers Can’t Give Credit: How Automatic Attribution Falls Short in an Online Remixing Community

ACM CHI 2011, May 2011

10 Pages Posted: 1 May 2011  

Andres Monroy-Hernandez

Microsoft Corporation - Microsoft Research - Redmond; University of Washington

Benjamin Mako Hill

University of Washington - Department of Communication; Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Jazmin Gonzalez-Rivero

Microsoft Corporation - Microsoft Research New England

danah boyd

Data & Society Research Institute; Microsoft Research

Date Written: September 3, 2010

Abstract

In this paper, we explore the role that attribution plays in shaping user reactions to content reuse, or remixing, in a large user-generated content community. We present two studies using data from the Scratch online community - a social media platform where hundreds of thousands of young people share and remix animations and video games. First, we present a quantitative analysis that examines the effects of a technological design intervention introducing automated attribution of remixes on users' reactions to being remixed. We compare this analysis to a parallel examination of "manual" credit-giving. Second, we present a qualitative analysis of twelve in-depth, semi-structured, interviews with Scratch participants on the subject of remixing and attribution. Results from both studies suggest that automatic attribution done by technological systems (i.e., the listing of names of contributors) plays a role that is distinct from, and less valuable than, credit which may superficially involve identical information but takes on new meaning when it is given by a human remixer. We discuss the implications of these findings for the designers of online communities and social media platforms

Keywords: remixing, attribution, credit-giving, user-generated content, online communities

Suggested Citation

Monroy-Hernandez, Andres and Hill, Benjamin Mako and Gonzalez-Rivero, Jazmin and boyd, danah, Computers Can’t Give Credit: How Automatic Attribution Falls Short in an Online Remixing Community (September 3, 2010). ACM CHI 2011, May 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1826825

Andres Monroy-Hernandez

Microsoft Corporation - Microsoft Research - Redmond ( email )

Building 99
Redmond, WA
United States

University of Washington ( email )

Seattle, WA 98195
United States

Benjamin Mako Hill

University of Washington - Department of Communication ( email )

102 Communications
Box 353740
Seattle, WA 98195
United States

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jazmin Gonzalez-Rivero

Microsoft Corporation - Microsoft Research New England ( email )

One Memorial Drive, 14th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

Danah Boyd (Contact Author)

Microsoft Research ( email )

One Memorial Drive, 12th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

HOME PAGE: http://research.microsoft.com/

Data & Society Research Institute ( email )

36 West 20th Street
11th Floor
New York,, NY 10011
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.datasociety.net

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