Princeton University Library Catalog

How to Win Arguments and Influence People: Analyzing and Classifying Arguments from Reddit's ChangeMyView Community

Author/​Artist:
Roberts, Josh [Browse]
Format:
Senior thesis
Language:
English
Advisor(s):
Fellbaum, Christiane D. [Browse]
Department:
Princeton University. Department of Computer Science [Browse]
Class year:
2017
Summary note:
We analyze and classify arguments from Reddit's ChangeMyView community. We first determine which features of arguments influence their convincingness, concluding that features such as argument length, use of transition words, and use of modal verbs are influential, among many others. We also find that features related to the interplay between two debaters' arguments, such as Jaccard index, influence convincingness. Next, we discover that users' identities play a role in discourse on Reddit. We find that users are more frequently convinced by other users of the opposite gender and of the same political ideology. Additionally, we examine whether certain topics are more conducive to convincing argumentation, observing that users' minds were changed most frequently when discussing political issues. Finally, we build a classifier that determines whether an argument will be convincing based on its textual properties; this classifier achieves an accuracy rate of 73%.