How People Talk About Armed Conflicts

  • Jeremy R. ColeEmail author
  • Ying Xu
  • David Reitter
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9708)


Armed conflicts around the world produce displacement, injury, and death. This study examines how anonymous and pseudonymous Internet commenters discuss such conflicts. Specifically, we ask how permissible it is to express positive or negative sentiments about these conflicts as a function of variables including region, conflict nature, and severity. Data from the Armed Conflicts Database is aggregated to identify a number of potential factors that may influence views on acceptable sentiments. We used sentiment analysis to code a large-scale sample of the Reddit corpus. We judged permissibility using the Reddit voting features. This revealed that positive sentiments are found not permissible for higher numbers of fatalities, and that negative sentiments are found to be more permissible for certain regions and older conflicts, but less permissible for territorial conflicts. Thus, this study provides evidence that many features help construct public perception of a conflict.


Behavioral and social sciences Corpus linguistics GLMM Armed conflicts Public opinion 



This research was supported by the National Science Foundation under grants titled “Updating the Militarized Dispute Data Through Crowdsourcing” (SBE-SES-1528624) and “Alignment in webforum discourse” (CISE-IIS-1459300).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Information Science and TechnologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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