Andre Oboler

Andre Oboloer ImageDr Andre Oboler
Chief Executive Officer
Online Hate Prevention Institute
306 Hawthorn Rd
Caulfield Sth 3162Australia
Ph: +61 3 9272 5594
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Twitter: @oboler | Facebook: | LinkedIn:|
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Dr Andre Oboler is the CEO of the Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI), an Australia Harm Prevention Charity which focuses on reducing risk from cyber-bullying, cyber-racism, online religious vilification, serious trolling and other harmful online activities. His research interests include social media policy and impact, digital public diplomacy, empirical software engineering, and process improvement.

Dr Oboler holds a PhD in Computer Science from Lancaster University (UK). His PhD was supervised of Prof Ian Sommerville and examined ways of improving the academic research process. His Post Doctoral year at Bar-Ilan University (Israel) focused on inter-disciplinary research between Computer Science and Political Science. He also holds a Masters degree in Law and an Honours degree in Computer Science from Monash University (Australia). Dr Oboler is a Senior Member of the IEEE and serves as both the Region 10 Coordinator for the IEEE Computer Society and as Chair of the Computer Society's Student Awards Committee.


Talk 1: The Online Hate Challenge to Social Media

The growth of online hate represents a major challenge to social media companies, governments and society. Online hate ranges from cyberbullying against individuals to online attacks on segments of society: racism, homophobia, misogyny, religious intolerance and hate targeting people with disabilities. Online hate shows what happens when the power of Internet becomes a tool not to better humanity, but to divide it and destroy society. The problem of online hate engages issues of freedom of speech and freedom from harm. It engages issues relating to the role of government and the autonomy of companies. The problem touches on issues of privacy, the rule of law, and the role of citizens in the digital world. Fundamentally though, this problem raises issues about the nature of ethical conduct by technology companies working at the cutting edge of a new online society, and by computing professionals working inside those companies. The talk explored the problem of online hate, and then examines some of the technical, policy and political challenges. The ethical dilemma for computing professionals wanting to facilitate a more connected world, yet also wishing to also protect their users from harm, will also be discussed.

Talk 2: Controlling Wikipedia

Wikipedia is today a ubiquitous source of information. The wisdom of crowds enables information to be pooled and factual disputes ironed out. At least that's the theory. In practise most edits to Wikipedia come from a very small part of the community. Some articles are controlled by individuals or small groups of people. This talk considers empirical research into a collection of similar articles. The articles examined each represent a Non Government Organisation, and the edits considered related to the "criticism" sections of the article. The research shows how different types of users interact with this information.  The talk will highlight a significant flaw in the Wikipedia model. The addition of high quality, sourced, information takes far more effort that the removal of such information. Articles can be significantly unbalanced simply by the removal of one point of view. Research focuses on the addition of spam or false information into article is well known, the problem of systematic information removal is less well appreciated. It leaves Wikipedia open to a form of manipulation that goes largely undetected. The research discussed in this talk shows such manipulation was indeed occurring.

Talk 3: Improving the Research Process

In Academia, software engineering is too often thought of as something for others. As taught to undergraduates, it seldom matches the needs of researchers working in an evolving and fluid development environment. Software engineering can, however, be of serious benefit to academic researchers. The empirical work on which this talk is based indicated a quantitative improvement of about 5%, supported by significant positive feedback through qualitative research. If it is done right, software engineering can significantly contribute to the work a research student, academic researcher or the overall research output of a department.  To be effective in a research environment, proposed software engineering tools and approaches must first be accepted by researchers. For this to occur, these tools and approaches need to provide clear and immediate benefits. To really contribute, these short term benefits must also build into a longer term benefits to aid future researchers.  This talk introduces the RAISER / RESET Software Development Life Cycle developed for the academic computer science environment. A series of tools, methods and approaches that work with this SDLC will then be considered. The idea of modelling your personal process is introduced, along with a discussion of how such modelling can feed into meta-models that allow research groups and departments to better coordinate.