Emergent Influence Networks in Good-Faith Online Discussions


  • Henry Kudzanai Dambanemuya Northwestern University
  • Daniel Romero University of Michigan
  • Emőke-Ágnes Horvát Northwestern University




Town hall-type debates are increasingly moving online, irrevocably transforming public discourse. Yet, we know relatively little about crucial social dynamics that determine which arguments are more likely to be successful. This study investigates the impact of one's position in the discussion network created via responses to others' arguments on one's persuasiveness in unfacilitated online debates. We propose a novel framework for measuring the relationship between network position and persuasiveness, using a combination of social network analysis and machine learning. Complementing existing studies investigating the effect of linguistic aspects on persuasiveness, we show that the user's position in a discussion network is associated with their persuasiveness online. Moreover, the recognition of successful persuasion is linked to an increase in dominant network position. Our findings offer important insights into the complex social dynamics of online discourse and provide practical insights for organizations and individuals seeking to understand the interplay between influential positions in a discussion network and persuasive strategies in digital spaces.




How to Cite

Dambanemuya, H. K., Romero, D., & Horvát, E.- Ágnes. (2024). Emergent Influence Networks in Good-Faith Online Discussions. Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 18(1), 329-339. https://doi.org/10.1609/icwsm.v18i1.31317