Analysis of Moral Judgment on Reddit


Appeared In: IEEE Transactions on Computational Social Systems

Publication Date: April 1, 2022

Moral outrage has become synonymous with social media in recent years. However, the preponderance of academic analysis on social media websites has focused on hate speech and misinformation. This article focuses on analyzing moral judgments rendered on social media by capturing the moral judgments that are passed in the subreddit /r/AmITheAsshole on Reddit.

Using the labels associated with each judgment, Botzer, Gu, and Weninger train a classifier that can take a comment and determine whether it judges the user who made the original post to have positive or negative moral valence. Then, the authors employ human annotators to verify the performance of this classifier and use it to investigate an assortment of website traits surrounding moral judgments in 10 other subreddits. Their analysis looks to answer three questions related to moral judgments and how these apply to different aspects of Reddit. The authors seek to determine whether moral valence impacts post scores, in which subreddit communities contain users with more negative moral valence, and whether gender and age play a role in moral judgments. Findings from the experiments show that users upvote posts more often when posts contain positive moral valence. The authors also find that certain subreddits, such as /r/confessions, attract users who tend to be judged more negatively. Finally, the study found that men and older age were judged negatively more often.

N. Botzer, S. Gu and T. Weninger, “Analysis of Moral Judgment on Reddit,” in IEEE Transactions on Computational Social Systems. DOI: 10.1109/TCSS.2022.3160677.

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