Negative emotions boost user activity at BBC forum

Anna Chmiel , Paweł Sobkowicz , Julian Sienkiewicz , Georgios Paltoglou , Kevan Buckley , Mike Thelwall , Janusz Hołyst


We present an empirical study of user activity in online BBC discussion forums, measured by the number of posts written by individual debaters and the average sentiment of these posts. Nearly 2.5 million posts from over 18 thousand users were investigated. Scale-free distributions were observed for activity in individual discussion threads as well as for overall activity. The number of unique users in a thread normalized by the thread length decays with thread length, suggesting that thread life is sustained by mutual discussions rather than by independent comments. Automatic sentiment analysis shows that most posts contain negative emotions and the most active users in individual threads express predominantly negative sentiments. It follows that the average emotion of longer threads is more negative and that threads can be sustained by negative comments. An agent-based computer simulation model has been used to reproduce several essential characteristics of the analyzed system. The model stresses the role of discussions between users, especially emotionally laden quarrels between supporters of opposite opinions, and represents many observed statistics of the forum.
Author Anna Chmiel (FP / LPESS)
Anna Chmiel,,
- Center of Physics in Economics and Social Sciences
, Paweł Sobkowicz
Paweł Sobkowicz,,
, Julian Sienkiewicz (FP / LPESS)
Julian Sienkiewicz,,
- Center of Physics in Economics and Social Sciences
, Georgios Paltoglou
Georgios Paltoglou,,
, Kevan Buckley
Kevan Buckley,,
, Mike Thelwall
Mike Thelwall,,
, Janusz Hołyst (FP / LPESS)
Janusz Hołyst,,
- Center of Physics in Economics and Social Sciences
Journal seriesPhysica A-Statistical Mechanics and Its Applications, ISSN 0378-4371, (A 30 pkt)
Issue year2011
Keywords in EnglishAgent modeling, Collective phenomena, Emotions, Internet communities, Scale-free distributions
ASJC Classification3104 Condensed Matter Physics; 2613 Statistics and Probability
ProjectCollective Emotions in Cyberspace . Project leader: Hołyst Janusz, , Phone: 22 234 7133, start date 01-02-2009, end date 31-07-2013, FP7 Grant Agreement 231323, Completed
WF 7 Framework Programme (7 FP) [7 Program Ramowy (7 PR)]
Languageen angielski
Negative emotions boost user activity at BBC Forum.pdf 511.24 KB
Score (nominal)30
Score sourcejournalList
Publication indicators WoS Citations = 82; Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2014 = 1.253; WoS Impact Factor: 2011 = 1.373 (2) - 2011=1.374 (5)
Citation count*178 (2020-01-17)
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