Project Details
Funding Scheme : General Research Fund
Project Number : 12605520
Project Title(English) : Mapping the Status of Political Incivility in Hong Kong's Digital Space: From the Umbrella Movement to the Anti-Extradition Protests 
Project Title(Chinese) : 勾勒香港網絡不文明的立體面貌:從雨傘運動到反修例抗爭 
Principal Investigator(English) : Prof Song, Yunya 
Principal Investigator(Chinese) :  
Department : Department of Interactive Media
Institution : Hong Kong Baptist University
Co - Investigator(s) :
Dr Kwon, K. Hazel
Dr Shi, Yongren
Panel : Humanities, Social Sciences
Subject Area : Humanities and Arts
Exercise Year : 2020 / 21
Fund Approved : 396,720
Project Status : On-going
Completion Date : 30-6-2023
Abstract as per original application
From the 2014 Umbrella Movement to the ongoing anti-extradition bill movement, an increasing number of Hong Kong Internet users have adopted a style of behavior that is abusive and hostile, partially an expression of frustration with what is seen as the government's intransigent disregard for protesters' appeals. This online incivility—which broadly ranges from aggressive comments to hate speech—may possibly corrode reasoned discourse in cyberspace, fuel social climates of hate in public debate, and detract from the broader struggle for democracy and autonomy. Focused mostly on the U.S. or European context, however, prevailing research leaves unexamined uncivil behaviors in Hong Kong's online communities in general and specifically during the recent period. To help overcome these analytical and empirical gaps in our scholarly and practical knowledge, this project investigates in-depth the phenomenon of political incivility in Hong Kong's digital space from a longitudinal perspective (2014-2019). It devises an empirically clearer definition of online incivility, more precisely examines how and why a changing social atmosphere affects uncivil discourse, and more comprehensively delineates practical measures to tackle uncivil online behavior. Procedurally, this project first develops a more empirically based and methodologically defensible definition of online incivility. We will conduct in-depth interviews with a broad sample of Hong Kong's Internet forum users to devise a community definition of incivility. In our view, research on incivility should consider the perceptual elements of incivility from a user-centered point of view, rather than by arbitrarily applying politeness standards that risk restricting the speech of certain social groups. Next, computational approaches will be combined with qualitative discourse analysis to investigate the incivility in political discussion on Hong Kong's three most important Internet forums. The aim is to reveal the social and behavioral mechanisms through which the instances of uncivil behaviors at the individual level might possibly generate a self-perpetuating process of ever-growing uncivil and aggressive group behaviors. Using large-scale datasets of uncivil online speech collected from these Internet forums, this project will use a set of advanced data mining techniques to extract behavioral patterns on social media. The broader goal of this project is to understand the dynamics and societal effects of negative discourses and online hostile speech environments. Finally, the analytical and empirical results of this project will be used to devise more effective mechanisms that help minimize the harm of online uncivil behavior while still allowing for the free flow information and facilitating diverse opinions and political tolerance.
從2014年的雨傘運動到現下的反修例抗爭,香港互聯網上的辱罵或敵意性行為甚囂塵上。造成這種現象的部分原因是人們認為政府沒有回應抗爭者的主張,因而通過這些方式來表達失望不滿。網絡不文明行為涵蓋了攻擊性評論和仇恨言論。這種行為會侵蝕網絡上的理性話語,給公共討論造成敵對氣氛,甚至可能會偏離民主之路。儘管美國、歐洲情境下的網絡不文明行為已經獲得了相當豐富的研究成果,但是有關於香港網絡不文明行為的研究卻明顯不足。本研究旨在填補相關的學術和實踐知識空白,採用縱向視角深入分析2014-2019年間香港網絡上的不文明行為。研究者基於經驗性證據對網絡不文明行為作出更清晰的界定,檢視動盪的社會氣氛如何影響不文明話語,並提出更全面的應對方法。 首先,本研究對網絡不文明行為給出的定義,著眼於實證及方法論的堅實基礎。研究者對香港的網絡論壇用戶進行深度訪談,藉以從用戶社群的角度提出對不文明行為的定義。網絡不文明行為研究應該從用戶感知角度出發,而不是機械地套用禮貌準則,生硬照搬可能會限制某些社會群體的發聲。 其次,本研究結合計算社會科學方法以及質性的話語分析法,對香港各大網絡論壇上的不文明行為進行調查分析,旨在揭示個體層面的不文明行為如何不斷衍生攻擊性群體行為的社會機制及行為機制。研究者應用一系列先進的數據挖掘方法,從網絡論壇上海量的不文明言論數據中挖掘出隱含的行為模式。本研究的目標是理解包括消極言論和網絡敵對言論環境的生態及其社會影響。 最後,本研究基於實證分析結果提出應對網絡不文明的有效機制,這些機制在保證資訊自由流動、意見多元及政治容忍的前提下,將網絡不文明的危害減至最低。
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