How Does the Thread Level of a Comment Affect its Perceived Persuasiveness? A Reddit Study

Lu Xiao, Humphrey Mensah

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


Online interactions increasingly involve complex processes of persuasion and influence. Compared to the long history and richness of persuasion studies in traditional communication settings, we have limited understanding of how people are influenced by others in online communications and how persuasion works in online environments. While it is common in online discussions that some comments are threaded under a specific thread, it is un-known whether and how the thread level affects its perceived persuasiveness. To explore this research inquiry, we collected and analyzed threaded discussions in Reddit’s r/changemyview context. We found that the perceived persuasiveness of a comment fluctuates systematically from the top thread level to the most nested level. We conducted a semantic similarity analysis among adjacent comments in the threads examining how similar the comments are with respect to their content. Our results suggest that the first thread comment brings up a new idea or perspective, and the next comment matures it by adding new information to elaborate it, therefore, this comment is more likely to receive a delta point than the first comment. Additionally, this pattern continues onto the next comments. Implying that there is a common reasoning pattern in engaging in the threaded discussions in Reddit r/changemyview, our study sheds light on a comprehensive understanding of online participants’ reasoning behavior in threaded discussions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIntelligent Computing - Proceedings of the 2022 Computing Conference
EditorsKohei Arai
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9783031104633
StatePublished - 2022
EventComputing Conference, 2022 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jul 14 2022Jul 15 2022

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Networks and Systems
Volume507 LNNS
ISSN (Print)2367-3370
ISSN (Electronic)2367-3389


ConferenceComputing Conference, 2022
CityVirtual, Online


  • Online persuasion
  • Reddit r/changemyview
  • Threaded discussion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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