Atheism’s Reddit Toxicity
The company Idibon recently conducted a Reddit toxicity that made a lot of headlines. The study can be found here. Many subreddits reposted the study and reacted to their position. In a finding that might be relevant to the atheism community, r/atheism was found to be among the top in the Reddit toxicity measure. It also was among the top in bigotry, allegedly due to anti-Muslim bigotry. If these results are reliable, then this may be a concern to atheists active in r/atheism.
Joining me for an interview is Ben Bell from Idibon. Ben conducted the reddit toxicity study and is here to tell us all about his methodology. To give an idea what Idibon is about, here’s their mission statement:
“Idibon’s cloud-based natural language processing services enable organizations to efficiently organize and structure written language to answer critical business questions and automate their processes. We have the most accurate and adaptable systems in the market and support NER/text extraction, sentiment analysis, text/content categorization, language detection/identification. Our investors include Altpoint Ventures, Khosla Ventures, and Morningside Ventures.”
So essentially, what Idibon does is crowdsource language data processing. This allows them to annotate large quantities of language data, accurately. This expertise is what led Ben to the idea to test the toxicity of reddit communities. To begin, Ben came up with his definitions for both toxicity and bigotry, and then sought to create instruction that annotators would be able to use reliably. From there he ran a few pilot tests to see how his instruction fared before moving it to a larger scale.
So are these results reliable? If so what do they mean? You’ll have to listen to the episode to hear more at length what Ben did in order to rate the toxicity of different reddit communities in a scientific way!
Also, be sure to tune in on Thursday for part 2!
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