Conflict modeling offers a framework for systems to identify and mitigate the risks of online conflict.
Threat modeling has developed as a predictable methodology to recognize and analyze the technical security and privacy shortcomings of software systems. Conflict, in the colloquial sense, can be a productive and even an indispensable aspect of online systems. But the last several years have featured conflict that feels almost novel in hostility and severity. When compared with security and privacy threat modeling, systems have lagged in developing similarly consistent, robust approaches to online conflict. At best, systems confronted with conflict adopt idiosyncratic approaches that tend to be opaque and not public. At worst, ad hoc attempts to mitigate conflict create a "Valley Fallacy:" We have a problem, we must do something, this is something, so we must do this. Except this often exacerbates existing conflicts or creates new ones.
This Paper, still in progress, offers a predictable framework to structure thinking around online conflict by suggesting a methodology for conflict modeling, defining a taxonomy of conflict—safety, comfort, usability, legal, privacy, and transparency (SCULPT)—and examining common mitigation techniques adopted by systems to reduce the risk of certain conflicts. In so doing, it hopes to apply the same rigor of technical threat modeling to social threats.