Automatic identification of personal insults on social news sites

Sara Owsley Sood*, Elizabeth F. Churchill, Judd Antin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

60 Scopus citations

Abstract

As online communities grow and the volume of user-generated content increases, the need for community management also rises. Community management has three main purposes: to create a positive experience for existing participants, to promote appropriate, socionormative behaviors, and to encourage potential participants to make contributions. Research indicates that the quality of content a potential participant sees on a site is highly influential; off-topic, negative comments with malicious intent are a particularly strong boundary to participation or set the tone for encouraging similar contributions. A problem for community managers, therefore, is the detection and elimination of such undesirable content. As a community grows, this undertaking becomes more daunting. Can an automated system aid community managers in this task? In this paper, we address this question through a machine learning approach to automatic detection of inappropriate negative user contributions. Our training corpus is a set of comments from a news commenting site that we tasked Amazon Mechanical Turk workers with labeling. Each comment is labeled for the presence of profanity, insults, and the object of the insults. Support vector machines trained on these data are combined with relevance and valence analysis systems in a multistep approach to the detection of inappropriate negative user contributions. The system shows great potential for semiautomated community management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-285
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Volume63
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Artificial Intelligence

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