How should researchers think about designing and evaluating ethics systems, which often create unspoken guardrails through the ethical frameworks and assumptions built into software?

Since 2017, CAT Lab has been developing and testing Bartleby, a system that manages research ethics procedures for large-scale online studies. Using Bartleby, researchers can automatically send each of their study participants a message directing them to a website where they can learn about their involvement in research, view what data researchers collected about them, and give feedback. Most importantly, participants can use the website to opt out and request to delete their data.

By deploying and testing Bartleby in two field experiments on Twitter and Reddit (involving 4,766 and 1,342 participants, respectively), we also present the Bartleby system as a case study for critical thinking about the design of research ethics procedures.