Designing the Meshi platform for the Monk Prayogshala Study

Published on Mon Nov 07 2022Denny George - Grant for the Web

This year we created a mock social media with Monk Prayogshala. It was to conduct a psychology study to understand if people's information sharing behaviour can be influenced via incentives.

On this platform two groups of users were onboarded - one was subjected to monetary incentives (more money for sharing correct information) and the other group was subjected to vanity incentives (more followers for sharing correct information).

We managed to successfully onboard around 1000 participants to this platform and measure their online behaviour. The results are analysed here.

A chunk of our time is dedicated to supporting work done by other groups interested in studying and responding to online misinformation. Often that involves writing bespoke software to meet some unique requirements.

Software exists in this domain that helps you mimic existing social media. For instance, this and this can be used if you wanted to conduct studies about user behaviour on Facebook-like platforms.

Where Monk Prayogshala's use case digressed from these was that they wanted to simulate and measure behaviour that is not currently part of any social media:

  • Rewarding/punishing certain behaviors via incentives
  • Showing monetary metrics

This project helped us expand our knowledge about the current literature on psychology studies around online misinformation and we hope we can continue iterating on such tools to facilitate other studies.

The source code for the platform exists here.

We also used Github actions to automate away some email-related workflows. Sending out emails for onboarding, reminders and payments was part of the study.

Text and illustrations on the website is licensed under Creative Commons 4.0 License. The code is licensed under GPL. For data, please look at respective licenses.