I analysed G2G interactions for a project (maybe you'll find this fun)

+17 votes
I just completed a data science bootcamp, and for the major capstone project, they asked us to take online data from somewhere, and analyse it to find interesting, useful, patterns. I decided to look at G2G interactions, to see if there were any effects of personality (positivity) on how many contributions users make, and how people respond the them.


The major challenge in all this, was that the entire forum is so crazy positive. It was hard to find counterexamples. I even gave up trying to train a positive-negative classifier.

---EDIT: what I did and found---
To explain a bit of jargon, I went through all the G2G posts, and looked at each user (about 16000 unique users), and what they wrote, and how many upvotes the gave, how many thanks they gave, how many contributions they made ... things like that.

Let me emphasize, none of this was private info, it was just the same kind of things you see when you pop open a G2G question. Nothing to do with ancestors names, or birthdates, or places lived.

When I was getting the statistics for each user in turn, I called them a 'focal user'. So, if user Foley-10331 answered a question, I wanted to see if we could tell anything about how other people responded to him. Did his total contributions matter, or how many upvotes he gave, or the emotional tone of his texts.

In the end, tone mattered and positivity mattered. But more than up-or-down-votes, or cheerfulness, the things that really stood out were that doing a lot of work on contributing, and answering (not asking) questions, was the biggest predictor of getting thanks, and improving the discussions.

Maybe that's not a surprise?
in WikiTree Tech by Brad Foley G2G6 Mach 4 (40.2k points)
edited by Brad Foley
I'm writing a very verbose comment with lots of multi-syllabic words in it, and pressing the up-vote button as fast as I can! Well, I will when I feel a bit more positive ;)
Turns out, multisyllabic words didn't correlate with anything! I was shocked. The thing that really mattered the most (that was good for everyone, and won the most praise) was actually doing genealogical work; and answering people's questions clearly and politely. Go figure!
LOVE IT.  You should totally write this up as an online article.  What an interesting project and what an interesting observation about Wikitree as a community!

3 Answers

+7 votes

Very cool! I can definitely see the challenge that you describe:

The major challenge in all this, was that the entire forum is so crazy positive.

Were you able to find anything from the voting metrics?

upvotes gave : what ratio of upvotes does a user give?
upvotes gotten : what ratio of upvotes does a user get?

There have been a few debates and a little hand-wringing over people here who even accidentally gave out downvotes. The fact that our user pages record how many upvotes and downvotes we each both give and receive really makes me weigh my actions and tends toward self-moderation: respond with kind and non-presumptive words, rather than with a downvote when I suspect someone's wrong or responding because their Corn Flakes were lanted

For the more general reader, it would help to explain what you mean by "focal user", perhaps with a diagram. 

You should seriously consider writing it up in a Medium article. As you point out already, so much of the social media interaction & network analysis is on communities with a heavy slant towards younger men, e.g. me, whereas here I'm very much an outlier. It might also encourage others to come up with more tools for analyzing communities that skew so positive. 

We really need a Data Analysis tag for G2G, as it would be neat to see more of these. 

by anonymous G2G6 Pilot (126k points)
The upvotes and downvotes given and received were absolutely one of the things I considered about a "focal user".

I'll edit my post above, and explain what I did, and what I found, a bit more clearly.
+6 votes
What an interesting project.  It's obvious you're a computer geek.  :D  Me, I just like the puzzle solving genealogy provides.  Great job!  Will this result in a button we can click to see if we are a postitive influence on Wikitree?

Oh, shouldn't giving thanks matter more than receiving thanks?
by Saundra Stewart G2G6 Mach 5 (54.7k points)
In my book, giving thanks is always worth the time.  Receiving thanks is nice but many of us (probably most genealogists -- no footnote here, just my thought) get value from helping out.  So thanks are like whipped cream on top of the ice cream -- yummy, but not necessary to enjoy the ice cream.
I agree about giving thanks. If I could have found that, I'd have used it as a statistic. The ratio of upvotes given to upvotes received was a pretty good predictor of work ethic, and positive impact. Giving is always better.

But no, no button. It took a few days to collect the information, and I'm a data analyst more than a web designer. Maybe I should try to stretch a bit...
+6 votes
Thank you for sharing, Brad.  Wow!  So very interesting.  

I'm actually glad that multi-syllabic words didn't correlate -- if they had, I'd have to keep a synonym dictionary on my already over-crowded desk.  Whew!  Dodged that bullet.
by Kathy Zipperer G2G6 Pilot (263k points)
I thought that multi-syllabic words -- and verbose posts -- might have a negative correlation. It's interesting that long words and long posts apparently don't offend people on this forum.

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