Rap Guys That Inspire Debate (Political)

There’s a cool paper by a smart academic guy from San Diego that talks about how people argue re: politics, online.  The original intention of the article, I think, was to use text classification tools (NB) to separate ‘left’ people from ‘right’ people.  It turns out though that the particular word usage of ‘left’/’right’ folks isn’t that different because in ‘heated debates’, both sides will use words like ‘gun control’ and ‘abortion’ to argue their points.  What he did find however was that, simply looking at how often people quote each other, we can, with good accuracy, determine someone’s political affiliation.  That is, ‘left’ people will quote ‘right’ people more often than they do fellow ‘left’ people (and vice versa).  Here is the quote from the paper discussing this:

Of the 41,605 posts by users classified as either left or right, 4,583 included quoted material from another user who could also be classified as either left or right. Of these, users strongly tended to quote other users at the opposite end of the political spectrum. Left users quote right users 62.2% of the time, and right users quote left users 77.5% of the time. In this respect the quoting relationship between posts appears to be markedly different from the inter-blog linking relationship discussed in Adamic & Glance(2005), in which liberal and conservative blog sites are shown largely to link to other sites of agreeing political outlook. The pattern here suggests a simple classification rule: assign a user the op- posite political affiliation of the users they tend to quote or be quoted by.

I did some stuff on trends in how people talk about artists on Youtube but something like how often people are replying to other posts, I woundn’t have thought of unless I read this paper.  It seems intuitive.  ‘Polarizing subjects’ will make people ‘reply’ to each other more often.  Old, boring people argue about things like politics, religion online.  So, if we take artists that generate a high volume of comments (ie. popular) and see how often people commenting ‘reply’ to each other, we find that the top 7 or so guys in this metric ‘make sense’.

Artist Reply Ratio
DC Talk 0.50
MF Doom 0.47
Immortal Technique 0.45
Aesop Rock 0.43
Army of the Pharaohs 0.43
Jedi Mind Trick 0.43
Flobots 0.42

The average Reply Ratio is about 0.28 so all these guys are way into their own group.  Almost all these dudes inspire some sort of weird debate.  Immortal Technique, Jedi Mind Tricks and Army of the Pharaohs with conspiracy theories.  Aesop Rock and MF Doom with quality of rap music and what rap should attempt to be.  DC Talk with religion and christianity and stuff like that.  I have no idea who Flobots are but I assume they fit somewhere in that discourse.


One thought on “Rap Guys That Inspire Debate (Political)

  1. John B says:

    People on Flobots are arguing wether bikes can or cannot be ridden without the handlebars

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