"Genderfluid" or "Attack Helicopter": Responsible HCI Research Practice with Non-binary Gender Variation in Online Communities

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Oliver Haimson is a co-author of a paper investigating how to collect, analyze, and interpret research participants' genders with sensitivity to non-binary genders. The authors offer suggestions for responsible HCI research practices with gender variation in online communities.

As non-binary genders become increasingly prevalent, researchers face decisions in how to collect, analyze and interpret research participants' genders. We present two case studies on surveys with thousands of respondents, of which hundreds reported gender as something other than simply women or men. First, Tumblr, a blogging platform, resulted in a rich set of gender identities with very few aggressive or resistive responses; the second case study, online Fantasy Football, yielded opposite proportions. By focusing on variation rather than dismissing non-binary responses as noise, we suggest that researchers can better capture gender in a way that 1) addresses gender variation without othering or erasing non-binary respondents; and 2) minimizes "trolls'" opportunity to use surveys as a mischief platform. The analyses of these two distinct case studies find significant gender differences in community dimensions of participation in both networked spaces as well as offering a model for inclusive mixed-methods HCI research.

CHI '18: Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, April 2018, Paper No.: 307, Pages 1–15

Access the paper here: https://doi.org/10.1145/3173574.3173881