Anonymous accounts may be used by users to discuss topics that they feel sensitive about, and the contents generated can be more candid. Thus, the effectiveness of online forums in understanding drug-abuse can be better understood by studying reddit forum data. The dataset consists of a total of 51, posts by 16, unique users. Semantic-based Analysis. We use LIWC 18 , a library to study emotional, cognitive, and structural components of speeches or texts. LIWC contains a dictionary of various psychological categories built by multiple steps over several years.
For a text given as input, LIWC can output the percentage of words belonging to each psychological category. Topic Modeling. To discover the topics or themes discussed in the posts, we used the Latent Dirichlet Allocation LDA 19 topic modeling implemented by the Gensim framework To identify the optimal number of topics for our dataset, we use a heuristic approach based on minimizing the rate of change of perplexity In this method, we apply a fold cross validation on the dataset, to determine the number of topics that minimize the rate of change of perplexity RPC.
The best estimate is to choose the first local minima of the curve. Figure 1 shows the RPC plot for our dataset. Negative Binomial Regression. We examine whether the attributes of the posts are predictive of the extent of social support that the posts receive. Comments and scores are two ways that posts receive feedback from users. The number of comments and the score of a post are the response variables to measure the extent of social support.
Table 1 lists the independent variables we used for computing the extent of social support. We use the negative binomial regression to predict the social support as both score and comments are count variables. Negative binomial regression is a model of choice for over-dispersed count variables. List of semantic categories and post length were used as independent variables in the prediction task.
A total of 58 variables were used. Mann-Whitney U-Test. The Mann-Whitney U-Test is used to report the statistical significance of the difference between the linguistic attributes between the posts of anonymous and non-anonymous users. Figure 2 shows that the average time between two consecutive posts has reduced, indicating that users are posting at an increased rate. The time at which users receive response on their posts has reduced.
Figure 3 shows that the average response time of the comments on the posts has reduced. CDC identifies four different categories of opioids 1. Figure 4 shows the plot of the mentions of different opioids over time. We observe that illicit illegally-made opioid, heroin is mentioned the most in the posts.
The mentions of heroin have increased rapidly after Q2. The deaths due to heroin overdose have an increasing trend in Q2 according to the CDC report 1. The second-most mentioned opioid is methadone which is a synthetic opioid.
The mention of the semisynthetic opioid oxycodone has seen a slight increase. For a high-level understanding of the psychological aspects of the content of the posts, we choose the following major psychological categories from LIWC.
The percentage of words observed from each psychological category are listed in Table 2. From the top unigrams in our dataset, 81 are identified by LIWC dictionary spanning various psychological categories. We observe some sample posts for the identified unigrams to get a better understanding of the reddit posts. The posts are observed to contain a large use of temporal indicator words to describe their usage of opioids:. Cognitive Processes. Words related to thought process of a user are commonly seen in large number of the posts:.
Social Words. We also find the use of words that are indicative of social interactions and relationships:. Words from the drive category are indicative of drive in the emotions like achievements, power, reward, risk:. I just got some oxy and I was wondering how much I should take for my first time with opiates?
Affect Words. The posts contain words that express the overall emotional state and feelings of an individual. We observe that posts in the dataset have a wide range of psychological categories. Figure 5 shows the different psychological categories over time. The cognitive process and relativity are the psychological categories that appear most frequently over the entire period of the dataset. Thus, we can interpret that users consistently post about their thoughts and also consistently talk about their usage of opioids by using temporal indicator words.
For topic modeling, out of the 20 topics, we limit our discussion to 12 most coherent topics obtained. The word cloud of the major topics of interest related to opioid abuse. From all the topics we observe that there are 5 topics T1, T6, T8, T9, T12 where users discuss about the different ways in which they abuse opioids. There are 2 topics T2 and T11 where the discussions are about social effects of opioid addiction like affecting life, family and jobs.
Users talk about the withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit opioids T5. Other topics discussed are, concerns of drug tests T4 , experiences of getting charged for possession illegal opioids T3 , opioid prescriptions received from doctors T7 and favorite activities to do when high T Figure 7 a shows the 12 topics over time. It is observed that large number of posts consistently talk about opioid withdrawal symptoms T5 and the use of opioids affecting family and life T In Figure 7.
Opioid withdrawal symptoms are less discussed in comparison to the other two types of topics. Using the independent variables listed in Table 1 , we perform a prediction task using negative binomial regression to characterize the extent of social support received by the posts from scores and comments.
The results of task are shown in Table 4 and Table 5. Results of predicting the score of a post using negative binomial regression. Top 15 predictive variables in terms of their estimate are shown. Results of predicting the comment of a post using negative binomial regression.
Use of 1 st person pronoun we garners more scores and comments, indicating that users who discuss personal matters, tend to get more social support. Posts referring to death and family get more scores while posts talking about home get more scores and comments. This indicates that posts on personal issues like family, death and home receive more social support.
Overall affect category leads to more score and comments. But more frequent use of words referring to positive and negative emotions leads to less score and comments. The use of 2 nd person pronoun you and social words leads to more comments, this may be due to interactivity introduced by the use of these words. The length of posts is not seen in the top predictors of the score or comments.
Thus, we conjecture that the length of the content is not a significant predictor of social support. Users may use anonymous accounts to make posts without leaving a trail of their identity. Out of the total number of unique users in the dataset 3.
This indicate that anonymous accounts are more used for one-time posting that may contain sensitive information. Table 6 shows difference of common linguistic attributes in the posts between anonymous and non-anonymous users. We find that people choose to be anonymous in order to discuss negative emotions like anxiety Also, anonymous posts contain more words related to health 6.
More frequent use of 1 st person pronoun 4. We observe less use of 2 nd person pronoun Differences in mean use of linguistic attributes between anonymous and non-anonymous users. Significance test is based on Mann-Whitney U-Tests. Also, less use of informal words This may be because anonymous accounts are used to discuss sensitive content, thus users may tend to be more explicit in their description. We perform the Mann-Whitney U-Tests to compare the difference in social support for anonymous and non-anonymous users.
Figure 8 shows a comparison between the scores and comments of anonymous and non-anonymous users. The mean number of comments on posts by anonymous users is Thus, anonymous and non- anonymous users both receive similar amount of support in terms of number of comments.
But the anonymous users receive more support in terms of score. It indicates that redditors do not tend to comment more on the anonymous posts but they would show more support with greater up votes on the posts. Relativity, cognitive processes and social words are the major psychological categories observed across the posts.
Thus, we can interpret that users consistently post about their thoughts and also consistently discuss their usage of opioids by using temporal indicator words. Topic modeling on the posts reveals a range of topics including how opioids are administered, opioid use affecting life and withdrawal symptoms due to trying to quit opioids. Majority of the topics are on how to abuse opioids, followed by the social impact of opioid abuse.
Opioid withdrawal is less discussed in comparison to topics on abusing opioids. This indicates that manipulating prescription drugs is a popular approach for opioid abuse, which has to be taken into consideration for prevention by hospitals and governments.
Use of 1st person pronoun we , indicating discussion on personal matters, tends to get more social support both in terms of scores and comments. Posts referring to death, family and home garner more social support. For active surveillance report, posts having higher number of comments and scores are likely to contain discussions on sensitive topics like family, death, home and other personal matters indicated by use of 1st personal pronoun.
Significant differences are observed in the posts of users that choose to be anonymous. Anonymous posts contain greater use of words related to anxiety, sadness, risk and health. They also tend to be less interactive and prefer talking about their own concerns. For public health surveillance, content analysis of anonymous users can help understand sensitive topics related to opioid abuse.
A limitation of the official APIs of Reddit used for collecting data is that it does not provide access to the user demographics like location, age or gender, which could provide deep understanding on the demographic disparity for better public health studies. Opioid epidemic has become a major national public health problem that demands better understanding, which is limited by the lack of large scale data. Social media, in particular, Reddit, which comes with community curated content, provides a candid medium which makes large scale data available to understand the topics, emotions, psychology and opinions of the public.
This provides the first step for more in-depth studies to provide insights that may help to combat opioid crisis. Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. This is an Open Access article: verbatim copying and redistribution of this article are permitted in all media for any purpose. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Opioid-abuse epidemic in the United States has escalated to national attention due to the dramatic increase of opioid overdose deaths.
Introduction With dramatic increase of opioid overdose deaths 1 , opioid crisis has been declared as a national public health emergency by President Trump on Oct 26, What are the major psychological aspects in the content? What are the major topics of discussions? What are the factors of the content that drive social support? We use negative binomial regression to identify the linguistic categories that are predictive of the social support.
What is the difference between contents of posts by normal users and anonymous users throwaway accounts? We analyze statistically significant difference in the posts with Mann-Whitney U-test. Analysis Methods Semantic-based Analysis. Open in a separate window. Figure 1. Statistical Testing Negative Binomial Regression. Independent Variables i we you relativ focusfuture sexual they affect affect work time achieve negemo anx anger religion money focuspast social family friend netspeak swear motion male cogproc insight score filler leisure discrep tentat certain focuspresent sad death percept see hear space female assent bio body health home cause post length ingest drives affiliation informal differ power reward risk nonflu feel.
As the pack of riders approached her, TV footage shows her facing television cameras, not facing the cyclists. Investigators are combing through camera footage and asking for witnesses to come forward with any information about the incident. Police said the woman left the scene before investigators arrived. With most Covid restrictions lifted in France, enthusiastic fans took to the streets of picturesque villages along the route on the opening day of the race, and thousands lined the roads of the Brittany countryside.
Race director Christian Prudhomme told Eurosport in an interview Sunday that the woman's behavior was "unacceptable and intolerable. And above all, those who deserve television are the runners. The spectators do not come to see each other, they have their mirror for that.
There was no further comment from the Tour de France on Monday. Download the NBC News app for breaking news and politics. In a strongly worded post on his Instagram page Sunday, Tony Martin, the rider who first collided with the spectator's sign, also urged fans to be more respectful.
We don't want you here. Yuliya Talmazan is a London-based journalist. IE 11 is not supported.
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The Python web framework that Swartz developed to run the site, web. As of November 10, [update] , Reddit decommissioned its own servers and migrated to Amazon Web Services. In early , Reddit started using jQuery. In , Reddit released its first mobile web interface for easier reading and navigating the website on touch screen devices.
The site has undergone several products and design changes since it originally launched in When it initially launched, there were no comments or subreddits. Comments were added in   and interest-based groups called 'subreddits' were introduced in In , Reddit enabled embedding, so users could share Reddit content on other sites.
Reddit released its "spoiler tags" feature in January In late , Reddit declared it wanted to be a mobile-first site, launching several changes to its apps for iOS and Android. Reddit launched its redesigned website in , with its first major visual update in a decade. Unregistered users can access it via old. Reddit's logo consists of a time-traveling alien named Snoo and the company name stylized as "reddit".
The alien has an oval head, pom-pom ears, and an antenna. Snoo is genderless, so the logo is moldable. Reddit is a private company based in San Francisco, California. Reddit does not disclose its revenue figures. As part of its company culture, Reddit operates on a no-negotiation policy for employee salaries.
In February , Betabeat published a post that recognized the influx of multinational corporations like Costco , Taco Bell , Subaru , and McDonald's posting branded content on Reddit that was made to appear as if it was original content from legitimate Reddit users.
Reddit's users tend to be more privacy-conscious than on other websites, often using tools like AdBlock and proxies ,  and they dislike "feeling manipulated by brands" but respond well to "content that begs for intelligent viewers and participants. Redditors don't want to advertise for you, they want to talk to you.
Reddit announced that they would begin using VigLink to redirect affiliate links in June Since , Reddit has partnered with companies to host sponsored AMAs and other interactive events,   increased advertising offerings,  and introduced efforts to work with content publishers.
In , Reddit hired Jen Wong as COO, responsible for the company's business strategy and growth, and introduced native mobile ads. The website is known for its open nature and diverse user community that generate its content. In gaining popularity in terms of unique users per day, Reddit has been a platform to raise publicity for a number of causes. Reddit is known in part for its passionate user base,  which has been described as "offbeat, quirky, and anti-establishment".
Users have used Reddit as a platform for their charitable and philanthropic efforts. Reddit has been used for a wide variety of political engagement including the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama ,   Donald Trump ,  Hillary Clinton ,  and Bernie Sanders. Reddit has become a popular place for worldwide political discussions. The March for Science originated from a discussion on Reddit over the deletion of all references to climate change from the White House website, about which a user commented that "There needs to be a Scientists' March on Washington".
Reddit users have been engaged in the defense of Internet privacy , net neutrality and Internet anonymity. The site and its users protested the Federal Communications Commission as it prepared to scrap net neutrality rules. He said he and Reddit would continue to advocate for net neutrality.
During a post-rally press conference, Reddit co-founder Ohanian asked, "What role did the Internet campaign play in convincing you to hold this rally? Since May , Reddit has been blocked in Indonesia by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology for hosting content containing nudity. The site was unblocked later. In June , Reddit was blocked in China for a few weeks.
ISPs in India were found to be blocking traffic over Reddit for intermittent periods in some regions in On April Fools' Day , Reddit's first massive April Fool's social experiment was to make everyone on site an admin. For 24 hours, users could ban one another, modify upvotes, delete comments, and votes. Any modifications to Reddit only occurred through the user's perspective.
While many caught on, others began threatening fellow users with their admin privileges and went on mini power trips, demonstrating that great power is not always accompanied by great responsibility. On April Fools' Day , Reddit replaced its Reddit Gold subscription with Reddit Mold, a joke version of the premium service that could be given to users to make the website experience worse. For example, users who were given Mold would only be able to see fewer posts per page as well as not being able to post anything containing the letter E.
These effects were amplified upon receiving more Mold, such as losing the ability to post another letter for each Mold received. On April Fools' Day , Reddit claimed that it had acquired the video game Team Fortress 2 , and initiated a site-wide event where users were randomly assigned into two teams, Orangered and Periwinkle, based on both the colors of the Team Fortress 2 teams as well as the colors of the upvote and downvote buttons.
As in Team Fortress 2 , users were randomly given items and cosmetics to use, most importantly weapons to use against users on the opposing team. For April Fools' Day , Reddit did "headdit", a joke way to navigate and use the website using the webcam. It displayed a button and a second countdown timer. User accounts created before that day were eligible to participate.
A user could only click the button once, or opt not to click it. If a user clicked the button the timer was globally reset to 60 seconds,  and the user's "flair" an icon next to the user's name changed color. Colors were assigned based on a gradient from purple to red with purple signifying up to 60 seconds and red as low as 0 seconds. The countdown reached zero several times due to technical problems but eventually expired without further problems on June 5, , after which the subreddit was archived.
For April Fools' Day , another experiment was launched involving the "Robin" chat widget. After clicking a titular button, an IRC -like chat window was opened with one other user, and allowed a certain time to pick among three options: "Grow", "Stay" and "Leave". The subreddit contained a collaborative pixel art canvas, where a user could place a pixel every five minutes the timer was temporarily ten and twenty minutes for a few hours on April 1.
Often subreddits would come together as a group to add a graphic from that community to place. While each user received one personal circle, they could join or betray any other user circles. Clicking the "join" button on another's circle would cause the owner's circle to grow bigger, while the "betray" button would cause the owner's circle to no longer function having "betrayed" the owner's trust.
The experiment ended on April 6, The experiment consisted of a community-driven sequencer that users interacted with by submitting GIFs or text slides to be compiled into a movie. The most upvoted GIF or text slide was locked into the next available scene for every three minutes.
At the end, once the entire sequence was filled, it was posted as a full story in an external page. Users were to identify a machine-generated response from a group of responses to the question "What makes you human? The experiment ended on April 3, The subreddit featured a x pixel collaborative canvas which users could edit the color of a single pixel every five minutes.
Before the event ended, users were only allowed to place white pixels, reverting the canvas back to its original state. Notable participants include former-United States President Barack Obama while campaigning for the election ,  Bill Gates multiple times ,  and Donald Trump also while campaigning. RedditGifts was a program that offers gift exchanges throughout the year. On 9 June , Reddit announced the shutdown of Reddit Gifts, effective at the conclusion of the Secret Santa exchange; new account registration was disabled when the announcement was issued.
The online Reddit community conducts real-world meetups across the globe each summer. Reddit communities occasionally coordinate Reddit-external projects such as skewing polls on other websites, like the incident when Greenpeace allowed web users to decide the name of a humpback whale it was tracking. Reddit users voted en masse to name the whale "Mr. Splashy Pants", and Reddit administrators encouraged the prank by changing the site logo to a whale during the voting.
In December of that year, Mister Splashy Pants was announced as the winner of the competition. The website generally allows subreddit moderators to make editorial decisions about what content to allow. Those who break the rule are subject to a site-wide ban, which can result in the deletion of their user-generated content. On December 16, a user named Matt posted a link describing how he had donated a kidney and included a JustGive link to encourage users to give donations to the American Cancer Society.
Users telephoned his home and he received death threats. Matt eventually proved that he was genuine by uploading his doctor's records. Following the Boston Marathon bombing in April, Reddit faced criticism after users wrongly identified a number of people as suspects. The cause of death was not immediately known, but authorities said they did not suspect foul play. Salon reported that "the section's moderators explained in a post on Tuesday, the goal is 'to reduce the number of blogspam submissions and sensationalist titles ' ".
The purge, the moderators explained, is also aimed at sites providing much "bad journalism". In August, private sexual photos from the celebrity photo hack were widely disseminated across the site. After Ellen Pao became CEO, she was initially a target of criticism by users who objected to the deletion of content critical of herself and her husband.
On July 2, Reddit began experiencing a series of blackouts as moderators set popular subreddit communities to private, in an event dubbed "AMAgeddon", a portmanteau of AMA "ask me anything" and Armageddon. This was done in protest of the recent firing of Victoria Taylor, an administrator who helped organize citizen-led interviews with famous people on the popular AMA subreddit.
Organizers of the blackout also expressed resentment about the recent severance of the communication between Reddit and the moderators of subreddits. Before deleting his posts, he stated that Ellen Pao dismissed him with one year of health coverage when he had cancer and did not recover quickly enough.
She also apologized on behalf of the other administrators and noted that problems already existed over the past several years. In August, Steve Huffman introduced a policy which led to the banning of several offensive and sexual communities.
Included in the ban was lolicon , to which Huffman referred as "animated CP [child porn]". In May, Steve Huffman said in an interview at the TNW Conference that, unlike Facebook, which "only knows what [its users are] willing to declare publicly", Reddit knows its users' "dark secrets"    at the same time that the website's "values" page was updated in regards to its "privacy" section.
The video reached the top of the website's main feed. In September, a user named "mormondocuments" released thousands of administrative documents belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , an action driven by the ex-Mormon and atheist communities on Reddit. Previously, on April 22, the same user had announced his plans to do so.
Church officials commented that the documents did not contain anything confidential. Clinton 's former campaign manager". Participants there described "meme magic" as the idea that the internet memes they created could be willed into existence. The real-life Charlottesville car attack , which killed one and injured dozens, brought those memes to life.
In March, it was revealed that Huffman had hidden Russian troll activity from users. A Reddit employee restored the forum and its moderators an hour later. During the George Floyd protests in early June, over moderators signed an open letter demanding a policy banning hate speech, a shutdown of racist and sexist subreddits, and more employee support for moderation. On June 29, Reddit updated its content policy and introduced rules aimed at curbing the presence of communities they believed to be "promoting hate",  and banned approximately 2, subreddits that were found to be in violation of the new guidelines on the same day.
In March, Reddit users discovered that Aimee Challenor , an English politician who had been suspended from two UK political parties, was hired as an administrator for the site. Her first suspension from the Green Party came for retaining her father as her campaign manager after his arrest on child sexual abuse charges. She was later suspended from the Liberal Democrats after tweets describing pedophilic fantasies were discovered on her partner's Twitter account.
Reddit banned a moderator for posting a news article which mentioned Challenor, and some Reddit users alleged that Reddit were removing all mention of Challenor. Huffman attributed user suspensions to over-indexing on anti-harassment measures. In late August, more than 70 subreddits went private to protest against COVID misinformation on Reddit, as well as Reddit's refusal to delete subreddits undermining the severity of the pandemic.
Further information: Timeline of Reddit. See also: Digital citizen , Netizen , and Online social movement. Main article: March for Science. This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. July See also: Internet censorship in China. Main article: RedditGifts. Main article: Mr Splashy Pants. See also: Controversial Reddit communities. Internet portal. Baidu Tieba Delicious del.
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Evgenia Levandovskaya. Svyatoslav Rosenkov replied 12 replies. Savely Morozov. Dimitry Komarov. Eduard Manzarkhanov replied 4 replies. Reddit pinned post two hours ago. Artyom Dreypa. Timofey Yaitsky. Ilya Drozd. Reddit pinned post three hours ago. Kerey Ramazanov replied 4 replies. Timofey Shamansky. Mikhail Terentyev replied 10 replies. Timur Vafin. Reddit pinned post four hours ago. Vyacheslav Bozhe.
Yaroslav Panibovg. Alexey Li. Ks-ks-ks, not ps-ps-ps. Reddit pinned post today at pm. Artyom Pavlov. Seymur Akhmed. Artyom Grinin.