Holding Space for Voices that Do Not Speak: Design Reform of Rating Systems for Platforms in GREAT Economies

Anuttama Dasgupta, Prasanna P. Karhade, Abhishek Kathuria, Benn R. Konsynski | 2021


Researchers can examine ethical implications of online rating systems to understand how they function as ‘knowledge instruments’ and affect social relations and networks connected with them. Research should address the fact that the underlying economic structures that design and deploy knowledge producing ‘technical objects’ on online platforms are not egalitarian and may create new circles of exclusion. Exploring implications of this for a starkly unequal country like India, we illustrate our ideas by integrating induction and abduction to study rating systems on a pan-India food discovery and delivery platform. Rating systems are borrowed from WEIRD contexts and our findings imply that the instrument studied here is designed to hear only some of many voices. Consequently, they might be ‘institutionalizing’ knowledge that is problematic for GREAT domains in which they are imposed. We highlight the need for decolonization of research approaches for GREAT domains and critical research of technical knowledge objects.