Dr. Tom Blount

Research Fellow, Web and Internet Science, University of Southampton
tom@tomblount.co.uk

I am a post-doctoral researcher working in the Web and Internet Science group at the University of Southampton. My research interests cover game design, human-data interaction, narrative systems, gamification, crowdsourcing, and social argumentation.

In my free time I enjoy game development, boardgames, creative writing, and creating Let's Play videos.

Research

My PhD work focused on examining how people argue on the world wide web, particularly on different types of social media. There has been a lot of work done in the areas of formal and logical argumentation in the past; however, it doesn't always value the types of social (or anti-social) argument prevalent on the social web

Currently, I am working on a number of research projects, covering topics such as Human-Data Interaction and crowdsourcing


Papers

2020

  • Koesten, L., Simperl, E., Blount, T., Kacprzak, E., & Tennison, J., Everything you always wanted to know about a dataset: studies in data summarisation, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 135, 102367 [Paper]

2019

  • Blount, T., & Spawforth, C., Pathos in Play: How Game Designers Evoke Negative Emotions, arXiv preprint arXiv:1909.06799 [Paper]
  • Zhao, Y., Blount, T., Koesten, L., & Simperl, E., Structured and uncertainty-aware data storytelling, CHI ’19 Workshop on HCI for Accurate, Impartial and Transparent Journalism: Challenges and Solutions, Glasgow, United Kingdom [Paper]
  • Kacprzak, E., Koesten, L., Ibáñez, L. D., Blount, T., Tennison, J., & Simperl, E., Characterising dataset search—An analysis of search logs and data requests, Journal of Web Semantics, 55, 37-55 [Paper]

2016

  • Blount, T., Millard, D. & Weal, M., An Ontology for Argumentation on the Social Web: Rhetorical Extensions to the AIF, Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Computational Models of Argument (COMMA 2016), Potsdam, Germany [Paper]
  • Blount, T., Scott, J., & Millard, D., Yarncraft: Location Aware Narratives in Virtual Space, Narrative and Hypertext 2016, Halifax, Canada [Paper]
  • Rimington, E. & Blount, T., Lore v. representation: Narrative Communication of Power with regard to Gender in League of Legends, Narrative and Hypertext 2016, Halifax, Canada [Paper]

2015

  • Blount, T., Millard, D. & Weal, M., An Investigation into the Use of Logical and Rhetorical Tactics within Eristic Argumentation on the Social Web, 26th ACM Conference on Hypertext and Social Media (HT2015), Guzelyurt, Cyprus [Paper] [Slides]
  • Blount, T., Millard, D. & Weal, M., On the Role of Avatars in Argumentation, Narrative and Hypertext 2015, Guzelyurt, Cyprus [Paper] [Slides]

2014

  • Blount, T., Millard, D. & Weal, M., Towards Modelling Dialectic and Eristic Argumentation on the Social Web, 14th Workshop on Computational Models of Natural Argument, Krakow, Poland [Paper] [Slides]

Projects

Research Projects

Data Stories

Engaging with data in a post-truth environment

They Buy For You

Developing smart data solutions for procurement analytics

QROWD

Fostering data driven innovation in European cities

Games

Critical Admission

An Operation-like game, made for the Something Awful Game Jam 2015, with Jonathan Scott, David Millard, Priyanka Singh, Devasena Prasad, and Melanie Ehrlich

Sotonopoly

A Southampton-themed take on the classic game, Monopoly

Bar Chart Ball

A data-game based on the work of Julian Togelius (play the original here)

Picture Switcher

A casual puzzle game - rotate the pixel-cloud to reveal the hidden picture

Programming

Yarncraft

A system for creating location-aware narratives in virtual space - in this case, Minecraft

Fractal Narratives

Fractal Narratives are built by inserting story between existing story fragments, creating a potentially infinitely complex narrative

PlanetBot

A Twitter bot that generates descriptions and images of fictional planets (see the code at CheapBotsDoneQuick.com)

DogBot

A Discord bot that adds a furry friend to your server (add it here)

RPG Tools

A collection of digital tools such as dice-rollers and name-generators, for playing tabletop RPGs

Steg. Tools

For an undergrad project I developed a set of tools for steganography - the art of hiding messages in plain sight

Video and Presentations

Research Talks

A series of talks, seminars and presentations of my research

Landric Plays

My Let's Play channel, featuring a range of strategy and simulation games

COMP3218

To provide feedback for Game Design & Development students, we play their games and talk about them

My PhD in 20 Minutes

A very brief overview of the work I undertook during my PhD on (anti-)social argumentation on the web

VR/AR Tutorial

A tutorial on virtual and augmented reality I gave, along with some simple exercises you can try

Writing

We Must Dissent

A sci-fi tale of a colony lost on an alien world, written with Lewis Reading

Prism

A short story about different kinds of love, written with Mea Robertson

Hey. Are you there?

A short story about trying to support a friend

CV

Experience

Research Fellow

Web and Internet Science Group, University of Southampton

I am currently a Research Fellow in the Web and Internet Science group at the University of Southampton, working on a number of national and international research projects, covering the domains of game design, human-data interaction, narrative systems, gamification, and crowdsourcing

June 2017 - Present

Teaching

Multiple Courses, University of Southampton

I currently teach on both Data Visualisation (COMP6234) and Game Design and Development (COMP3218), giving lectures, assisting in practical lab sessions, setting and marking coursework, and giving feedback to students, as well as (part) supervising a PhD student in the Web and Internet Science lab.

September 2013 - Present

Global Game Jam

(Southampton)

Since 2015, I've been a part of organising the Southampton site of the annual Global Game Jam, an event in which over 150 people from all over the county come together and (in tandem with people all around the world), try to make a physical or digital game in under 48 hours, on a given theme

January 2015 - Present

Education

University of Southampton

PhD Computer Science
September 2013 - October 2018

University of Southampton

MEng Computer Science
1st class
September 2009 - July 2013