In this article we describe people’s online contribution practices in contexts in which the government actively blocks access to or censors the Internet. We argue that people experience blocking as confusing, as a motivation for self-censorship online, as a cause of impoverishment of available content and as a real threat of personal persecution. Challenging ideas of blocking as a monolithic, abstract policy, we discuss five strategies with which Internet users navigate blocking: self-censorship, cultivating technical savvy, reliance on social ties to relay blocked content, use of already blocked sites for content production as a form of protection and practiced transparency. We also discuss strategies that forum owners and blogging platform providers employ to deal with and to avoid blocking. We conclude by advocating for more research that acknowledges the complexity of the contexts in which all Internet users contribute to the Internet and social media.
Title of host publication
CHI '11 : CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Vancouver, BC, Canada — May 07 - 12, 2011
Desney Tan, Geraldine Fitzpatrick, Carl Gutwin, Bo Begole, Wendy Kellogg