Side Note
The red dots show the trouble makers.

The red dots show the trouble makers.

One percent of Reddit users cause 75 percent of the drama

This chart truly makes Reddit users look like toxic bacteria battling for dominance on a tiny slide of agar, but what it actually indicates is that just 1 percent of all Reddit communities set off 74 percent of all conflicts on the site.

In the self-published research from Srijan Kumar, Jure Leskoec, William Hamilton, and Dan Jurafsky of Stanford University, “intercommunity conflict” is defined as “negative sentiment to comment in another community.” These users wouldn’t necessarily qualify as trolls or sockpuppets; they’re instigators, posting links to other subreddits and encouraging other users to target, harass, and fight with users on that subreddit.

Redditors that specialize in memes, advice, and "controversial topics"—which the authors explicitly define as frequenters of r/conspiracy or r/theredpill—are the worst offenders, according to the authors. But the study also found that when Reddit users spoke directly with the people they were targeting, or spoke with the people targeting them, the conflict was more likely to de-escalate.

The study didn’t touch upon Reddit users that target, harass, and dox people who don’t use Reddit—a looming gap considering Reddit’s problem with violent white supremacist and misogynist threats. However, the study does provide a useful glance at where aggression on Reddit begins, and the concentrated scale of the problem.