Popularity Dynamics and Intrinsic Quality in Reddit and Hacker News


  • Greg Stoddard Northwestern University




reddit, voting


In this paper we seek to understand the relationship between the online popularity of an article and its intrinsic quality. Prior experimental work suggests that the relationship between quality and popularity can be very distorted due to factors like social influence bias and inequality in visibility. We conduct a study of popularity on two different social news aggregators, Reddit and Hacker News. We define quality as the number of votes an article would have received if each article was shown, in a bias-free way, to an equal number of users. We propose a simple Poisson regression method to estimate this quality metric from time-series voting data. We validate our methods on data from Reddit and Hacker News, as well the experimental data from prior work. Using these estimates, we find that popularity on Reddit and Hacker News is a relatively strong reflection of intrinsic quality.




How to Cite

Stoddard, G. (2021). Popularity Dynamics and Intrinsic Quality in Reddit and Hacker News. Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 9(1), 416-425. https://doi.org/10.1609/icwsm.v9i1.14636