Research: Online Service Provider Assessment Project: Methodology
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The appendixes are confidential and provided only on an as-needed basis to staff and
volunteers actually monitoring online service providers.
Comments and Updates
Accounts and Access Levels
Web Test Suite
Member Web Sites
Online Policy Email Accounts
The goal of this online service assessment methodology is to produce reports about the
conditions of use that online service providers (OSP) offers to various
Detailed test results will be compiled into a confidential test results
Then, reports summarizing concisely the findings from the application of this
methodology to each online service provider will be prepared without disclosing the
specific details of the assessment methodology. These reports will assist OPG and
other organizations in making recommendations to the online service providers about improvements to the online experience of the constituent communities.
These recommendations may be used to engage online service providers in an effort to improve the services they provide.
Once enough online service providers
have been analyzed using a similar methodology, summary reports will detail comparisons
of the conditions of use for each constituent community on various online service
providers. If certain online service providers are intransigent about service that is not fair, accurate, and inclusive to a constituent community, the report may be
provided to that community, select media outlets, and the general public as appropriate.
Detailed test results and the specific details of the assessment methodology may be
audited, providing that project management and those requesting an audit can agree upon
and fund an audit by an independent agency willing to guarantee confidentiality of the
detailed test results and the specific details of the assessment
Details of the assessment methodology will be kept confidential because if OSPs become
aware of the details of the assessment methodology, they may be able to make cosmetic
adjustments to their service that do not address the underlying issues the service may
have with respect to the constituent community. The appendixes containing the actual
test items are only provided to staff and volunteers actually engaged in
The initial methodology for the online service provider assessment
project was developed by former GLAAD Director of Online Community Development
Will Doherty and funded by GLAAD.
The inspiration for the project came from Access Denied v. 1.0,
edited by former GLAAD Digital Media Director Loren Javier. Many thanks to Loren for
his leadership and for his review comments on this document.
Thanks to the
interns and volunteers who have contributed countless hours of labor to produce
especially to Alberto Curotto, Roman Frillarte, Andy Grigsby, David Gudelunas of the Annenberg School for Communication - University of Pennsylvania, Kate Kennedy of Ohio State University, Wesley Leverenz of University of Wisconsin at Madison, Alex Marthews of the University of California at Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy, Margaret Meyers of Yale University, Lee Wasserman, Genevieve York-Erwin of Yale University, and many others who wish to or must remain anonymous. David Gudelunas deserves special mention for assistance with statistical analysis and drafting of this report.
GLAAD Educational Services Manager Jane Ralph assisted by recruiting interns for the project and Dilia Loe, GLAAD Deputy Director for Programs and Operations, offered sage advice and supervisorial encouragement. Thanks to GLAAD Executive Director Joan Garry and other LGBT community representatives who participated in various meetings and discussions with AOL management on these topics.
Thanks to GLAAD Center for the Study of Media & Society Director Jason Heffner, GLAAD Research Advisory Board member John Bowes of the University of Washington at Seattle, and to Christopher Hunter of the Annenberg School of Communication - University of Pennsylvania for improvements in the project methodology. Special thanks to statistician Mark Thompson for his review of the project methodology and training on statistical methods.
Comments and Updates
To provide comments on this document or to obtain copies of this and related online
service provider assessment documents, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Revision 1.100 of January 31, 2001
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