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The anatomy of Reddit: An overview of academic research

Alexey N. Medvedev, Renaud Lambiotte, Jean-Charles Delvenne

posted on 28 October 2018

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Online forums provide rich environments where users may post questions and comments about different topics. Understanding how people behave in online forums may shed light on the fundamental mechanisms by which collective thinking emerges in a group of individuals, but it has also important practical applications, for instance to improve user experience, increase engagement or automatically identify bullying. Importantly, the datasets generated by the activity of the users are often openly available for researchers, in contrast to other sources of data in computational social science. In this survey, we map the main research directions that arose in recent years and focus primarily on the most popular platform, Reddit. We distinguish and categorise research depending on their focus on the posts or on the users, and point to different types of methodologies to extract information from the structure and dynamics of the system. We emphasize the diversity and richness of the research in terms of questions and methods, and suggest future avenues of research.

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