Conversations gone alright: Quantifying and predicting prosocial outcomes in online conversations

Jiajun Bao, Junjie Wu, Yiming Zhang, Eshwar Chandrasekharan, David Jurgens

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

Abstract

Online conversations can go in many directions: some turn out poorly due to antisocial behavior, while others turn out positively to the benefit of all. Research on improving online spaces has focused primarily on detecting and reducing antisocial behavior. Yet we know little about positive outcomes in online conversations and how to increase them - is a prosocial outcome simply the lack of antisocial behavior or something more? Here, we examine how conversational features lead to prosocial outcomes within online discussions. We introduce a series of new theory-inspired metrics to define prosocial outcomes such as mentoring and esteem enhancement. Using a corpus of 26M Reddit conversations, we show that these outcomes can be forecasted from the initial comment of an online conversation, with the best model providing a relative 24% improvement over human forecasting performance at ranking conversations for predicted outcome. Our results indicate that platforms can use these early cues in their algorithmic ranking of early conversations to prioritize better outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Web Conference 2021 - Proceedings of the World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2021
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages1134-1145
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781450383127
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 19 2021
Event2021 World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2021 - Ljubljana, Slovenia
Duration: Apr 19 2021Apr 23 2021

Publication series

NameThe Web Conference 2021 - Proceedings of the World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2021

Conference

Conference2021 World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2021
Country/TerritorySlovenia
CityLjubljana
Period4/19/214/23/21

Keywords

  • Antisocial behavior
  • Behavioral forecasting
  • Prosocial behavior
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Software

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