1% of Reddit communities initiate 74% of conflicts

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George the original one
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1% of Reddit communities initiate 74% of conflicts

Post by George the original one » Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:57 pm

http://snap.stanford.edu/conflict/
Here we used 40 months of Reddit comments and posts (from January 2014 to April 2017) to examine cases of intercommunity conflict ('wars' or 'raids'), where members of one Reddit community, called "subreddit", collectively mobilize to participate in or attack another community.


Leaves me wondering how this ties into post-factualism (viewtopic.php?f=20&t=8419).

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Re: 1% of Reddit communities initiate 74% of conflicts

Post by jacob » Tue Mar 20, 2018 3:37 pm

It seems to validate the 90-9-1 rule of the internet. Note that conflict zones are mainly in meme and controversial subject categories.

I wonder whether memes are more destructive because they're easier to spread especially on facebook and twitter. In particular, does the 90-9-1 rule hold on those platforms, where some people share/retweet way more than they actively contribute?

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Re: 1% of Reddit communities initiate 74% of conflicts

Post by Riggerjack » Tue Mar 20, 2018 6:41 pm

So, their observation is that the source of all disagreement is:
Psychology/advice
Controversial Topics
Popular/memes.
And they are concerned about moderators having good models to suppress "toxic users".

I don't play in Reddit much, just keeping up with SSC. I've never seen one of these toxic users, though I have an idea of what they mean.

But my real question is: Is this a real problem, or is this just toxic users trying to "win" against other toxic users? All the wording of the executive summary is cast in this "us against trolls" language, and makes me wonder if this is just academic trolling.

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Re: 1% of Reddit communities initiate 74% of conflicts

Post by enigmaT120 » Tue Mar 20, 2018 8:32 pm

So I've never even investigated Reddit. Is there any good reason I should?

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Re: 1% of Reddit communities initiate 74% of conflicts

Post by jacob » Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:12 am

@RJ - In my experience (also here on the ERE forums), practically all the problems (fights) are caused by the same 1% of the users. If [the contagion] is not quenched early on (the article also makes a point of that), about 10% will join the fight. If there's a fight, some people (out of the 10% and the 89%) eventually will leave. This forum (and I imagine it's far worse on reddit) has lost people over this that contributed far more than the 1% has done, so to speak. That is a real problem. Most people are not interested in fighting for its own sake, so if fights break out regularly, the community begins to die.

http://www.albion.com/netiquette/rule7.html

The paper is just academics formalizing what every moderator deals with on a regular basis.

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Re: 1% of Reddit communities initiate 74% of conflicts

Post by Riggerjack » Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:01 am

@jacob

Yes, we could all try to just get along, but I have never seen people do this freely for long. There are just too many conflicting personal values for people to communicate well, and politely.

Even your preference for folks to adhere to the netiquette standards is a statement of personal values. Personally, I don't have any problem with people disagreeing with me. How would I learn, evolve, and develop as a human if I never compared and contrasted my views against the views of others? And some of those views are connected to a strong sense of self, so I expect emotions to be involved.

So when I hear grown people talking about the difficulty of herding other, grown people into groups and being surprised that the herd won't behave like they are supposed to, I am reminded of children playing on a beach, building sand castles. And the inevitable tide that washed them away.

If your model calls for people to behave in ways humans have a hard time consistently conforming to, is the problem the the people, or the model?

I miss Dragline, Chad, and Ego, too. I know people leave. But we don't control this. People come and people go. All we can do is make this place as attractive as we can, and sometimes, people come back.

Or not. This is your place, with your rules. You have clearly made a success of it. But trying to stop people from doing what they want to do, is setting yourself up for more pain and frustration than I would choose in my retirement. It seems like a better model would be based on the system being undisturbed by conflict, rather than requiring helicopter moderation.

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Re: 1% of Reddit communities initiate 74% of conflicts

Post by jacob » Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:29 am

Toxicity goes rather somewhat beyond disagreement. If you don't have rules, you don't have a game. This is about people who go for the man and not the ball. Here [on this forum] the game is help and debate. To torture the metaphor, if you removed all rules from all sports, they would all turn into no-holds barred fighting or war ... and only a small minority is interested in war. For the tiny minority who enjoy that there are other forums where the game is put-downs and insults, etc.

This is really no different than how there are laws in society to regulate a tiny number of who would otherwise damage said society. If people have a hard time conforming to treating others well, we put them in prison ... or some of you guys shoot them. They don't go away on their own.

I can see your point of view only if you believe that the whole is equal to the sum of its parts ... that is, for example, this forum is just a bunch of individuals writing and reading. However, I see [a community] as more than a sum of its parts. There must be a reason you have posted 2000 times here instead of spreading yourself randomly around the interwebs.

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Re: 1% of Reddit communities initiate 74% of conflicts

Post by Riggerjack » Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:20 am

I can see your point of view only if you believe that the whole is equal to the sum of its parts ... that is, for example, this forum is just a bunch of individuals writing and reading. However, I see [a community] as more than a sum of its parts. There must be a reason you have posted 2000 times here instead of spreading yourself randomly around the interwebs.
I don't actively interact on the webs, much. Despite posting here quite a bit. Mainly, I lurk. For instance, as much as I have posted SSC links here, I have never posted anything at any of his sites. I have a FB account, I think I last checked it in 2016. Never even understood the appeal of Twitter.

But why post here, especially since my posts are only tangentially related to retirement? Mainly, it is the quality of the posts. That people will put the effort into posting detailed thoughts. And we are small enough that when someone posts in thread X, and Y, and Z, I can generally get a composite picture of where someone is coming from. This is far more difficult on more active sites.

But also, remember Fish's thread on posting quality? It became clear that most of the readers are not posters. This has been critical to me. Rather than trying to convince anyone that they are looking at a subject the wrong way, I have tried to depersonalize my approach, thinking of the silent majority of readers.

And the reason I do this is not to be a more polite or convincing poster, it is because I think we have an unusual concentration of "mistake" theorists here, on the "mistake/conflict" spectrum talked about here:
http://slatestarcodex.com/2018/01/24/co ... s-mistake/

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I can't change the world. All I can hope to do is help people with conceptual errors, see those errors as errors. Then, when they go elsewhere, they can share that view with others, who agree with them.

For instance, I prefer selective logging to clear-cutting. Talking about it on ERE is not the best way to effect the change I would prefer. But, we have some landowners/managers here. So by talking about it here, I may learn that some trees are best managed as crops. And then get into the particulars of harvest techniques, economic impacts of distance to mill, the effect sawmilling trends have on harvest decisions, etc. In the end, we have a thread with far more details and viewpoints than we will find anywhere else. Not because we are all foresters, but because we have enough people willing to engage more effort than is usual on the net. And the average of forestry knowledge of the world goes up incrimentally. People read the thead, see something they haven't thought of before, and when they go to their regular run of sites, they talk about it. Then the environmental sites get some input from a landowners perspective, and forestry boards may get some input from environmental sources. But both get them from "insiders", who can be heard.

In the sexual misconduct thread, I had no hope that we would discover the secret to making the world a better place. I had hope of expanding the conversation beyond the "blue team/red team", men/women, preditor/victim, narratives that fully enclose the overton window. I wanted to talk about how complicated problem is, and interrelated the influencing factors. Not because I think this will make people behave better, but so the people who read that, will have that in mind when they go to discuss this elsewhere, among the people who agree with them.

You have talked about the problems of specialization, and of our personal bubbles. This is my way around that. To move expert knowledge into general conversation, and general knowledge to specialized conversations.

But here's the thing. In any of these harsh threads of political disagreement, the conflict theorists need to have their say. It's necessary, and the conversation can't move to the next level until they do. And because they are emotionally invested in the subject, I don't have high expectations of deep thought, until they can get past the knee jerk reaction. (See my posts, and how the content changed in our recent gun threads as an example of what I am talking about.) I've talked about my 4 page rule before, this is the reason for it.

So any crushing of dissent, the usual moderator approach to conflict, stops people from developing a more nuanced view of the problem. And not having that means they stay where they are, thinking as they did before.

And I think this reliance on third party moderation is subtly fcucking up the world. IRL, if you are a dick, there will be consequences. Direct, personal consequences. Soon, people learn to be nice, or to deal with the consequences of not being nice. Part of that is learning to disagree, and still be functional. To be able to work with, and empathize with, people who disagree.

Last year, we started talking about the over the top reaction to the election, and disagreement in general. The general freakout level of the population is higher than the timeline would suggest. I think it is a function of so many people living moderated lives. Can't say what you think at work. Can't even disagree on controversial topics. No tolerance policies. Thread locked. No bullying. Where exactly are people supposed to learn to disagree without turning to hate? School? Work? Church? Facebook? Of course people are overreacting to someone disagreeing, they never had to continue to engage with someone who disagreed until they could find common ground.

Or, maybe at heart, I'm just a troll. :twisted:

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Re: 1% of Reddit communities initiate 74% of conflicts

Post by bryan » Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:56 pm

(Why bother with reddit?)

Reddit was/is the central place you could/can go to to find niche communities that were/are self-governing. Every sub-reddit has its own population, rules, moderators. Anyone can create and try to grow a new sub-reddit. At least in the last eight years, it seemed to be the dead-simple way to host a topical forum/board (and many folks look on reddit for community/commentary before google); it's been a sort of default. The best run subs even feature wiki-like parts or help you discover more niches via the side-bar of the sub. Once you join various communities, the front page is your own curated one-stop-shop.

Many subreddits absolutely, positively suck. Just don't go to them (usually alternatives exist with slight naming variations..)!

Incidentally, reddit has been cracking down on subreddits very recently, either closing shop or forcing them to fall in line (e.g. fake celeb porn subs, market/trade/barter/swap subs, or subs linking to videos of children dying).

Here are a few subreddits, if one is curious to explore: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=9772

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Re: 1% of Reddit communities initiate 74% of conflicts

Post by Mikeallison » Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:06 pm

This really gets at the heart of the political correctness debate raging on right now doesn't it? Part of me thinks conflict and antagonism is healthy if it is done the right way. The fool in the kings court, or the guy whispering "you are but a mortal" in Caesar's ear. We need to have our confirmation bias shaken, and outright destroyed sometimes in order for growth to occur. We grow through struggle and challenging dearly held beliefs. Nobody learns anything in an echo chamber.

On the other hand I get the idea that some people are so full of resentment and/or narcissism that acting argumentative to them isn't about challenging ideas in order to find truth. It is about alleviating insecurity through domination, usually through sophistry, or some other fallacious means. I've already encountered someone on here that fit that bill, easy enough to ignore them and move on. You have to rid yourself of fragility if you want to discuss anything on the internet. You also need to figure out who is interested in honest debate, and who is interested in hearing their own voice, or is just trolling for trolling's sake. If you spend enough time online they get easier to spot, and your skin will get thicker.

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Re: 1% of Reddit communities initiate 74% of conflicts

Post by jacob » Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:18 pm

As far as I'm concerned, conflict theorists need to play by the rules if they want a debate. It's easy to say that the balance and the right answer is found by meeting in the middle. However, conflict theorists abuse this idea by moving far off to the extreme expecting the establishment of a new center by casting the blame on "both sides" to redraw the border. This problem is endemic in the culture now.

The rules for debate presume the principle of charity and the principle of humanity holds. Debate dies when someone starts shitposting, using personal attacks, memes, etc. because this takes it to another level beyond and below debate. That's what's being moderated, not disagreements per se.

Why does debate die? Because 10% feel compelled to respond in kind or go along with it. It only takes 1 shitposter and 1 responder to send an entire thread down the drain. I lock threads for the same reason parents send children into time-out and authorities send criminals to prison. So that people (and maybe emotional conflict theorists in particular) can contemplate how to get better at #adulting and #civilization.

When entering a thread, one should try to establish who are the teachers, the students, peers, and shitheads respectively and act accordingly. Ideally, teachers should be listened too, students should ask questions with the goal of learning, peers should be debated, and shitheads should be ignored or banned.

Ignoring/ghosting and banning are the natural online consequences for bad acting. IRL, bad actors are shot, locked up, or isolated. I'm too old to try to meet [idiots] in the middle and discuss their issues while they wreck things.

If you wanna look at it another way, mistake theorists see the battle as a fight. Conflict theorists see it as a war. The moderator is a referee who ensures the battle is a fight. If there's no ref, then all battles become wars because playing dirty dominates playing fair. It certainly may be that a "moderated universe" is creating generations who are no good at dealing with war. OTOH, a universe that is constantly at war learns nothing. Case in point, try logging onto facebook to see what a universe that's dominated by conflict theorists looks like.

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Re: 1% of Reddit communities initiate 74% of conflicts

Post by jacob » Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:42 pm

On a related note... concerning "thick skin".

Back in 2011 after I published the ERE book and practically stopped blogging, my next goal was to promote the FIRE idea to the masses. This was back when MMM just had a wee bit of fuss under his nose and I was still the main protagonist of this, at the time, rare idea of spending significantly less than one earned.

What would happen on various places (reddit, ycombinator, yahoo, bogleheads in particular) was that ERE and my name would come up and inevitably some people would start making stuff up (fake news?) to put me in a bad light. Initially I ignored it having heard that any exposure is better than bad exposure. However, that's ONLY true if good exposure dominates bad exposure and "everybody knows what's what". It's much easier these days to have a thick skin when other people stand up for you or your ideas because the ideas have now become common. In the 2000s, however, it was hundreds against one, not hundreds against twenty. Normal humans might brush off the occasional internet attack, but try having hundreds of people hating on you---and only you---on a weekly basis. This requires next-level thickness which I didn't have.

One thing I found though was that I got on the 1% (I called those the internet retirement police) quickly, the 10% wouldn't run along with the misinformation, since, after all, I would know more about me/ERE than a random IRP instigator. Whereas if I let it slide, the 10% would amplify the misinformation, others would copy it elsewhere... but keeping up quickly became almost a fulltime job: Look I'm getting traffic from reddit again. Where is the thread? Oh shit.. here we go again.

A big reason I shut down the blog in 2011 and left the way I did (went underground so to speak and didn't appear online for months) was because dealing with this kind of "PR" became a constant effort and I realized I wasn't suited for being the punching bag of the internet. I don't feed on hate.

It's a lot easier to be an anonymous commenter on the internet than it is to put your name and ideas out there.

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Re: 1% of Reddit communities initiate 74% of conflicts

Post by Mikeallison » Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:54 pm

"It's a lot easier to be an anonymous commenter on the internet than it is to put your name and ideas out there."

Yes! and you had every right to be upset about the attack on your character. There is a cost to publicity, you seem to have wisely decided that it wasn't for you. I tilt toward introvert too, I can relate.

I get that if society is to function the guidelines and rules have to be there, anarchy isn't a workable solution. However I think it becomes a detrimental force when it coddles people to the point where they can no longer handle ANY debate. We are seeing that with universities and "Safe Places", a whole generation unable to deal, not just with insults and misinformation, but with any challenge to their held assumptions. If you prohibit all that is offensive, you destroy all possibility for critical thought. A mature person is able to seperate the wheat from the chaff, and move forward. You only get that maturity by dealing with other human beings as they come, not as you want them to be. There is the value in conflict, it is a teacher if you allow yourself to learn from it. And the lesson is you are responsible for your reactions to things, not the other party.

So then we come to the question of who gets to decide where the line is between spirited debate, and disruptive "hate" speech, or whatever. And that is where the danger lies right? Because that is completely subjective. When a single person or a small group get to decide what is taboo and what is not for the majority, things always go down hill, just like any scheme that privileges the needs of the collective over the individual. Best let "conflict" decide where the Overton window is, instead of imposing it on others.

But hey this is your forum, your rules. I tend to think of blogs and niche forums like this a bit more like private property or "clubs", and I can see why you wouldn't want people coming into your home or your club and insulting you or messing up the place for fun. I feel very differently about public spaces like social media, universities, youtube etc, which due to their practical monopoly of the medium, should be compelled to respect free speech, no matter how obnoxious. I also think conflating doxing, cyber bullying, whatever (which is kinda what happened to you), with anonymous online discourse is an error. No one should have to deal with "mob justice" or we really are in trouble. But if you take anonymous interaction online personally, you should sort yourself out, because that is where the problem is.
Last edited by Mikeallison on Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 1% of Reddit communities initiate 74% of conflicts

Post by Smashter » Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:37 pm

@Jacob wow, that sounds intense and very frustrating.

What I find fascinating is that as the FI blogosphere has blown up the youngins seem to have forgotten who laid the groundwork. They worship MMM but disdain ERE! Even though MMM calls you the "Grandfather of the Mustachians."

Just today, I noticed this passage while reading a popular millennial FI blogger:

"I don’t think my life is missing much of anything. I live a simple and modest life compared to the average American, but I am by no means suffering or depriving myself. I eat good food at home. I occasionally go out to eat. My boyfriend and I go on fun dates. Heck, we spend money on gas to see each other! I own a house. My car runs well and is paid off in full. I travel domestically frequently, and internationally once a year. I bought a purebred cat.

I’m pretty sure most of those things are things that Jacob Lund Fisker from Early Retirement Extreme would not do. I cannot live like that. I think about the future a lot more than most 27 year olds, but I don’t forget to enjoy the now."

The author paints you as a deprived person who has no fun. It sucks to see insulting disinformation get spread like that.

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Re: 1% of Reddit communities initiate 74% of conflicts

Post by Riggerjack » Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:48 pm

@ Jacob, did you read the link? If so, you got something completely different from it than I did. I've been meaning to start a thread about the subject, but, life gets busy, and I can be lazy.

It's just an article about why people disagree, and more importantly, how. I wouldn't say conflict theorists are likely to be the ones making things up, though that may appeal to a small minority of them.

My point was that in life, there is no central authority figure to arbitrate disagreement. If you disagree with someone, you have to come to some kind of work around, even if that work around is just to avoid each other and stare daggers at each other when you can't avoid the other guy. That is adult behavior. Put the personal BS aside, and get whatever you were doing done.

The internet allows for juvenile behavior, such as you describe. And the right solution is the same tolerant irritation you show teens that drive like teens. Or the mild disrespect that adults who still act like teens get.

But those adults, acting like teens, are acting that way because they have gone their whole lives as adolescents. The risks and rewards of adulthood aren't clear to them or even clearly desirable.

Being moderated is another form of enforced adolescence. I'm not sure more adolescence is what they need, or that we as a society need.

Of course, I'm not a moderator, and I'm sure this looks different from that perspective. Just something that I was thinking about and thought I'd share.

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