The Change My View subreddit has served as a unique forum for civil, online discourse, a space that welcomes thoughtful debate on any range of topics and ideas. It has also proved a fascinating lab for natural-language processing scholars interested in better understanding the linguistic tools of persuasion.
Recently, Change My View drew the attention of NPR's All Things Considered – by way of its Planet Money podcast – who no doubt couldn't resist highlighting an online oasis where differing viewpoints are offered without descending into name-calling.
So how does Info Sci research play into all this? If you recall, a Cornell research team – including Info Sci's Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil and Lillian Lee along with Computer Science PhD candidate Vlad Niculae and lead author Chenhoa Tan (CS PhD '16) – had previously studied interactions among Change My View users to better understand the mechanisms behind persuasion. NPR called on Tan – who will soon join the faculty at University of Colorado-Boulder – to explain the team's findings, which were presented at the World Wide Web 2017 conference. Check out the radio piece and/or the written transcript here.