..And in other news, the sky is blue. What makes some comment threads longer than others? Bad attitudes and surly comments, apparently. That is the conclusion of a study about online interaction conducted by a team of Slovenian and British researchers .
A group of Slovenian and British researchers used a technique called "sentiment analysis" to identify emotional content in BBC’s online discussion forums and digg.com.
The team’s special algorithms searched for keywords, emoticons, and "subtle linguistic markers" like misspellings, which were then used to calculate a "happiness score" for each post. The researchers found that longer discussion threads tended to be overwhelmingly emotional and negative than shorter discussions threads. The longer threads tended to begin with negative comments, researchers found.
"If you want a long chat, don’t start by saying ‘I love this!’, at least not online," Mike Thelwall, head of the Statistical Cybermetrics research group in Wolverhampton, UK, told NewScientist.
Researchers also found that a single negative post can spur other commenters to produce "low happiness scores." Those negative emotions also tend to accelerate the number of posts by users. The result is a stew of sadness and anger, which is sometimes quite delicious..
Read the whole thing here, but stay out of the comments.