Political Discussion is Abundant in Non-political Subreddits (and Less Toxic)


  • Ashwin Rajadesingan University of Michigan
  • Ceren Budak University of Michigan
  • Paul Resnick University of Michigan




Qualitative and quantitative studies of social media


Research on online political communication has primarily focused on content in explicitly political spaces. In this work, we set out to determine the amount of political talk missed using this approach. Focusing on Reddit, we estimate that nearly half of all political talk takes place in subreddits that host political content less than 25% of the time. In other words, cumulatively, political talk in non-political spaces is abundant. We further examine the nature of political talk and show that political conversations are less toxic in non-political subreddits. Indeed, the average toxicity of political comments replying to a out-partisan in non-political subreddits is less than even the toxicity of co-partisan replies in explicitly political subreddits.




How to Cite

Rajadesingan, A., Budak, C., & Resnick, P. (2021). Political Discussion is Abundant in Non-political Subreddits (and Less Toxic). Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 15(1), 525-536. https://doi.org/10.1609/icwsm.v15i1.18081