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Reddit and Networks

At first glance, Reddit appears to be a regular website that sells advertisement slots to advertisers like many other forms of social media. However, I want to focus on the other applications of our class within Reddit as there are several.

The first being the main page presenting the most popular posts. Reddit uses a voting system that allows user to upvote or downvote a page, incrementing or decrementing it’s popularity score, making the community a collective curator of reddit, preventing worthless/annoying posts from appearing popular. Although reddit’s algorithm in ranking is more complicated (link to it here), including the shear number of votes and accounting for how long the post as been up, we can basically model it as such for all articles posted at the same time for simplicity without too much loss of accuracy.The reddit popularity rating, unlike page rank, treats each individual vote equally.  It may appear with bot voting, this may be taken advantage of, but if such a unpopular page reaches a high enough popularity, the Reddit community, would override the bot votes with downvotes and a moderator would step in to disable these bot accounts or at least investigate how a popular page gained so many downvotes (in a regular pattern) when it initially gained a lot of upvotes. However reddit does have it’s fair share of issues where for some subreddits, offensive posts and comments are still upvoted by real people, this is where reddit moderators have to step in to recognize these posts. However, by crowdsourcing your curation through votes, a good number of bad posts can be ignored, requiring the curators to only have to check the top ranked posts. This voting system not only ranks all posts on Reddit to present the top on the popular page but also to rank the posts in their respective subreddits which I’ll go into next.

Another application of Networks is the use of subreddits. These are small forums that are usually focused on a particular topic that has its own posts and can be subscribed by the user. A general directed graph that represents reddit.com is as follows: the main page has directed edge toward all posts (not shutdown by moderators), most of which will be connected to a subreddit. And since all reddit posts have the reddit icon link in the top left (at least on the web browser version) then all reddit posts have a link to the main page.  So as long as every subreddit as at least one post, the site is a strongly connected component without even using reddit’s search bar (although searching for a particular post on the main page is definitely tedious). This property is interesting for social media services to have making it easy to navigate the website.

Lastly, (although there are more,) another application of Networks I wish to talk about relating to reddit is the commenting system on posts. These comments behave like a directed graph where each node is a comment/original post and every comment relying to such a comment/post is a child comment. With edges from the parent to child node this representation of comments behaves very similarly to a network of web pages. However because the comments must have a parent node that existed before, the comment network can never have a strongly connected component since no cycles can occur.

http://snap.stanford.edu/class/cs224w-2011/proj/tbower_Finalwriteup_v1.pdf

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