Who would respond to A troll? A social network analysis of reactions to trolls in online communities

Sun, Q., & Shen, C. (2021). Who would respond to A troll? A social network analysis of reactions to trolls in online communities. Computers in Human Behavior, 121.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2021.106786

Open access: No

Notes: In this study, Sun and Shen researched how community members react to online trolls. They do so by drawing from commenting data from 23 YouTube videos. Among their findings, for example, the authors note that more densely connected communities are more likely to address an online troll. They also note that when a community responds to trolls, individual users are more likely to do so in the future. Overall, this article highlights the importance of culture and community bonds in determining how people react to trolls.

Abstract: Trolls are individual internet users with anti-social remarks and behaviors who can disrupt on-topic discussions and wreak havoc on the various functions of online communities. This study investigated the aftermath of trolling on community dynamics by examining the likelihood and conditions in which individual users react toward trolls. Using a longitudinal behavioral dataset collected from popular video communities on YouTube, the study found that the valence of the trolling message, characteristics of the individual member, as well as the patterns of past engagement with trolls from other community members all played a role in predicting how an individual would react to trolls. In other words, well-connected users situated in densely connected communities with a prior pattern of engaging trolls are more likely to respond to trolls, especially when the trolling messages convey negative sentiment.

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