Interdisciplinary Physics

The European Physical Journal B

, Volume 73, Issue 4, pp 633-643

Dynamics of hate based Internet user networks

  • P. SobkowiczAffiliated withKEN 94/140 Email author 
  • , A. SobkowiczAffiliated withKEN 94/140

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We present a study of the properties of network of political discussions on one of the most popular Polish Internet forums. This provides the opportunity to study the computer mediated human interactions in strongly bipolar environment. The comments of the participants are found to be mostly disagreements, with strong percentage of invective and provocative ones. Binary exchanges (quarrels) play significant role in the network growth and topology. Statistical analysis shows that the growth of the discussions depends on the degree of controversy of the subject and the intensity of personal conflict between the participants. This is in contrast to most previously studied social networks, for example networks of scientific citations, where the nature of the links is much more positive and based on similarity and collaboration rather than opposition and abuse. The work discusses also the implications of the findings for more general studies of consensus formation, where our observations of increased conflict contradict the usual assumptions that interactions between people lead to averaging of opinions and agreement.