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The topic of terrorism on Yahoo! Answers: questions, answers and users’ anonymity

The topic of terrorism on Yahoo! Answers: questions, answers and users’ anonymity The purpose of this paper is to explore the use of community question answering sites (CQAs) on the topic of terrorism. Three research questions are investigated: what are the dominant themes reflected in terrorism-related questions? How do answer characteristics vary with question themes? How does users’ anonymity relate to question themes and answer characteristics?Design/methodology/approachData include 300 questions that attracted 2,194 answers on the community question answering Yahoo! Answers. Content analysis was employed.FindingsThe questions reflected the community’s information needs ranging from the life of extremists to counter-terrorism policies. Answers were laden with negative emotions reflecting hate speech and Islamophobia, making claims that were rarely verifiable. Users who posted sensitive content generally remained anonymous.Practical implicationsThis paper raises awareness of how CQAs are used to exchange information about sensitive topics such as terrorism. It calls for governments and law enforcement agencies to collaborate with major social media companies to develop a process for cross-platform blacklisting of users and content, as well as identifying those who are vulnerable.Originality/valueTheoretically, it contributes to the academic discourse on terrorism in CQAs by exploring the type of questions asked, and the sort of answers they attract. Methodologically, the paper serves to enrich the literature around terrorism and social media that has hitherto mostly drawn data from Facebook and Twitter. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Aslib Journal of Information Management Emerald Publishing

The topic of terrorism on Yahoo! Answers: questions, answers and users’ anonymity

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References (44)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2050-3806
DOI
10.1108/ajim-08-2019-0204
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to explore the use of community question answering sites (CQAs) on the topic of terrorism. Three research questions are investigated: what are the dominant themes reflected in terrorism-related questions? How do answer characteristics vary with question themes? How does users’ anonymity relate to question themes and answer characteristics?Design/methodology/approachData include 300 questions that attracted 2,194 answers on the community question answering Yahoo! Answers. Content analysis was employed.FindingsThe questions reflected the community’s information needs ranging from the life of extremists to counter-terrorism policies. Answers were laden with negative emotions reflecting hate speech and Islamophobia, making claims that were rarely verifiable. Users who posted sensitive content generally remained anonymous.Practical implicationsThis paper raises awareness of how CQAs are used to exchange information about sensitive topics such as terrorism. It calls for governments and law enforcement agencies to collaborate with major social media companies to develop a process for cross-platform blacklisting of users and content, as well as identifying those who are vulnerable.Originality/valueTheoretically, it contributes to the academic discourse on terrorism in CQAs by exploring the type of questions asked, and the sort of answers they attract. Methodologically, the paper serves to enrich the literature around terrorism and social media that has hitherto mostly drawn data from Facebook and Twitter.

Journal

Aslib Journal of Information ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Jan 8, 2020

Keywords: Community question answering; Terrorism; Online anonymity; Answer characteristics; Online hate speech; Question themes

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