This week I am in Montreal (Canada) for the 11th International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM-17). This is my second edition (in a row) at this venue for computational social science. This year I am presenting my recent PhD work “To Thread or Not to Thread: The Impact of Conversation Threading on Online Discussion” done with my supervisors Vicenç Gómez and Andreas Kaltenbrunner and supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness under the Maria de Maeztu Units of Excellence Programme (MDM-2015-0502) and the EU project D-CENT (FP7/CAPS 610349).
In this work we study how reciprocity was affected in Menéame, a popular Spanish social news platform which recently transitioned from a linear to a hierarchical interface. With interrupted time series analysis and regression discontinuity design, we observe an abrupt and significant increase in social reciprocity after the adoption of a threaded interface. Also, we extend generative models of discussion threads by including authorship and reciprocity. This extension is proved relevant to better characterize the dynamics of online discussion.