Community Resilience: Quantifying the Disruptive Effects of Sudden Spikes in Activity within Online Communities

Jackie Chan, Aditi Atreyasa, Stevie Chancellor, Eshwar Chandrasekharan

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


Online communities often experience some form of crisis. Regardless of whether these communities are small groups or entire platforms, the ability to handle disruptions during volatile periods signifies the resilience of a community. In this paper, we analyze the effects of a specific type of crisis event on Reddit: sudden spikes in attention received by a community due to a post from the subreddit hitting r/popular-the default feed that aggregates the most popular content on Reddit. Our results show that r/popular is a source of potential disruptions due to the higher number of comments, authors, and especially removed comments found compared to threads that do not reach r/popular. When looking at r/popular's effects across subreddits, large communities' commenting and posting behaviors were less impacted by r/popular threads compared to smaller communities. However, similar-sized subreddits had substantial variations in how their commenting and posting activities were influenced by an r/popular thread. Understanding the causal factors behind these differences has implications for online governance, as well as fostering resilient and healthy communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI 2022 - Extended Abstracts of the 2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Electronic)9781450391566
StatePublished - Apr 27 2022
Event2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA 2022 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: Apr 30 2022May 5 2022

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


Conference2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online


  • Reddit
  • moderation
  • online communities
  • resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Software

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