The impact of anonymity in online communities

Eli Omernick, Sara Owsley Sood

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The scale of participation on social news sites has challenged community managers, leaving them unable to detect and remove all inappropriate content by hand. Automated insult and profanity detection systems have helped, but have failed to address the problem of why this content is contributed in the first place. That is, what implications do interface design choices have on the content being generated? One such design choice is whether or not a site allows anonymous comments. What impact does allowing anonymity have on the quality or quantity of participation on a site? This case study analyses the impact of anonymity on a technology social news site, TechCrunch.com. TechCrunch is ideal for this study in that it underwent a shift from allowing anonymous comments (using the Disqus commenting platform) to disallowing them (using the Facebook commenting platform) in March of 2011. We compare the quality of anonymous and real identity comments through measures of reading level, relevance to the target article, negativity and presence of swear words and anger words. We couple this qualitative analysis with a quantitative analysis of the change in participation to give a complete picture of the impact of anonymity in this online community, with the end goal of informing design on similar social news sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - SocialCom/PASSAT/BigData/EconCom/BioMedCom 2013
Pages526-535
Number of pages10
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013
Event2013 ASE/IEEE Int. Conf. on Social Computing, SocialCom 2013, the 2013 ASE/IEEE Int. Conf. on Big Data, BigData 2013, the 2013 Int. Conf. on Economic Computing, EconCom 2013, the 2013 PASSAT 2013, and the 2013 ASE/IEEE Int. Conf. on BioMedCom 2013 - Washington, DC, United States
Duration: Sep 8 2013Sep 14 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings - SocialCom/PASSAT/BigData/EconCom/BioMedCom 2013

Other

Other2013 ASE/IEEE Int. Conf. on Social Computing, SocialCom 2013, the 2013 ASE/IEEE Int. Conf. on Big Data, BigData 2013, the 2013 Int. Conf. on Economic Computing, EconCom 2013, the 2013 PASSAT 2013, and the 2013 ASE/IEEE Int. Conf. on BioMedCom 2013
CountryUnited States
CityWashington, DC
Period9/8/139/14/13

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Managers
Chemical analysis

Keywords

  • Anonymity
  • Comment threads
  • Community management
  • Negativity
  • Online communities
  • Profanity
  • User-generated content

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software

Cite this

Omernick, E., & Sood, S. O. (2013). The impact of anonymity in online communities. In Proceedings - SocialCom/PASSAT/BigData/EconCom/BioMedCom 2013 (pp. 526-535). [6693377] (Proceedings - SocialCom/PASSAT/BigData/EconCom/BioMedCom 2013). https://doi.org/10.1109/SocialCom.2013.80
Omernick, Eli ; Sood, Sara Owsley. / The impact of anonymity in online communities. Proceedings - SocialCom/PASSAT/BigData/EconCom/BioMedCom 2013. 2013. pp. 526-535 (Proceedings - SocialCom/PASSAT/BigData/EconCom/BioMedCom 2013).
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Omernick, E & Sood, SO 2013, The impact of anonymity in online communities. in Proceedings - SocialCom/PASSAT/BigData/EconCom/BioMedCom 2013., 6693377, Proceedings - SocialCom/PASSAT/BigData/EconCom/BioMedCom 2013, pp. 526-535, 2013 ASE/IEEE Int. Conf. on Social Computing, SocialCom 2013, the 2013 ASE/IEEE Int. Conf. on Big Data, BigData 2013, the 2013 Int. Conf. on Economic Computing, EconCom 2013, the 2013 PASSAT 2013, and the 2013 ASE/IEEE Int. Conf. on BioMedCom 2013, Washington, DC, United States, 9/8/13. https://doi.org/10.1109/SocialCom.2013.80

The impact of anonymity in online communities. / Omernick, Eli; Sood, Sara Owsley.

Proceedings - SocialCom/PASSAT/BigData/EconCom/BioMedCom 2013. 2013. p. 526-535 6693377 (Proceedings - SocialCom/PASSAT/BigData/EconCom/BioMedCom 2013).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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Omernick E, Sood SO. The impact of anonymity in online communities. In Proceedings - SocialCom/PASSAT/BigData/EconCom/BioMedCom 2013. 2013. p. 526-535. 6693377. (Proceedings - SocialCom/PASSAT/BigData/EconCom/BioMedCom 2013). https://doi.org/10.1109/SocialCom.2013.80