Social affordances and ethical challenges in mediated collaborative platforms

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We examine the affordances and social affordances of three online platforms, used as conference and learning tools: Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Discord. With the ontological ethics of Løgstrup and the theory of recognition by Honneth, our analysis suggests the need to focus less on the utility of available features of digital collaborative tools, and more on how the features encourage desirable expressions among the participants. We propose a focus on community building as a main aspect for full online teaching and learning, as prerequisite before choosing and configuring didactic components. We show how slight differences of the same feature implemented in the three platforms can spark significantly different potentials for user interaction, expression and ultimate didactic participation. While all three examined online platforms provide feature-by-feature parity, only Discord shows social affordances encouraging multiple forms of expression and recognition, and thus enabling community feeling as being present together, despite being apart.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMoving technology ethics at the forefront of society, organisations and governments
EditorsJorge Pelegrín-Borondo, Mario Arias-Oliva, Kiyoshi Murata, Ana María Lara Palma
PublisherUniversidad de La Rioja
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)987-84-09-28672-0
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventEthicomp 2021: [New] Normal Technology Ethics: Moving technology ethics at the forefront of Society, Organisations and Governments -
Duration: 30 Jun 20212 Jul 2021


ConferenceEthicomp 2021
Internet address


  • Digital Design
  • virtual platforms
  • recognition
  • honneth
  • Affordances
  • Community building


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