Week 3 – Capstone Proposal

Research question/argument

As a longtime and faithful Redditor, I have always used the site as my main news source, whether I’m casually scrolling throug the front page and catching up on the latest happenings, or when I am specifically searching for more information on a current event. I have always relied on the community to self-monitor and screen out the irrelevant and incorrect information, thereby allowing me to have access to quick and accurate information. The Reddit community is full of users from every walk of life, who combine to bring together an astounding amount of information. The collaborative spirit of Reddit has made it an incredibly useful and interesting site, but unfortunately some bad press and mistakes that have occured in the past has tarnished the Reddit name. While the Boston Marathon Bombing fiasco has shown the dangers of Reddit having too much power over the news, I still do believe that Reddit is a reliable source. I will be proving this point through a careful analysis and comparison on how Reddit’s subreddit /r/news fares with mainstream news sites such as cnn.com and usatoday.com, as well as how social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook utilize the trending theme to present relevant news. I believe that Reddit will not only be able to present news information that is just as accurate as professional news sites, but that Reddit will also sort and present the most important and current news, as opposed to the kind of the news that is presented on social media sites.

What are your data and how are you collecting it?

I will be collecting weekly reports on Reddit, by sorting the posts on the /r/news subreddit by Top of the Week, and then cross referencing the top articles to the related articles on the mainstream news sites. In this cross reference, I will be making note of the kinds of facts and information that is presented in both to see which source is leaving out important information, as well as comparing the times in which these articles and news discussions were posted. Along with this I will also be keeping track of the kinds of posts that are presented on social media sites, and measuring the importance of the news based on its appearance or lack of appearance on Reddit’s top of the week page. In order to properly analyze Reddit, I will also have to take notes on the kinds of comments that are upvoted in these news articles. The comments will be sorted by opinion versus fact. In terms of news, facts are what reign supreme and it is incredibly important that there is no bias when presenting news. The accuracy and reliability of Reddit will also be judged and based on the users who are sharing information through it. While exploring this, I will also be able to come to a better understanding of the kind of culture and community that is built on the site.
While most of this research will be done on my own, I will also be utilizing the scholarly papers done on the culture and community of Reddit, as well as studying other experts’ analysis of how the Boston Marathon Bombing issue became such a big problem.
Project presentation details

Since I will be collecting weekly data, it would be good to compile all of this into easy to understand visuals. I plan on posting in a blog-like style, so I will be posting my weekly findings as I collect them as well. While it would be easy to explain my thought process and the kind of results that I get, being able to fully present all of the research and accurate information to the reader would also be beneficial in getting my point across. My target audience will likely be all of the internet users who have not yet been convinced of Reddit’s accuracy and reliability. It’s easy to dismiss the website simply based on one single mistake, but I would like those people to reconsider this and to give the site another chance.

Questions

1. What are your thoughts on Reddit? If you are a Redditor, why do you choose to use this website over others? If not, do you have any negative associations with the website?

2. What is your preferred source to catch up on current events and why?

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4 thoughts on “Week 3 – Capstone Proposal

  1. I do not use Reddit often but I know a lot of people do and that love it. I think I might have used Reddit one time in my life on my own and it was earlier this year. I have nothing against the website, I just use Facebook instead because I go on to check my notifications and look at what information is being shared there. I feel like Reddit is more time consuming, in that once I start looking at feeds I will not stop. I usually leave it up to my boyfriend to find something interesting and then he will show it to me. However, I like the concept of your paper and I think that your research questions will definitely make a great argument.

    I think that your research question regarding whether or not Reddit is reliable is similar to shows like The Colbert Report that has real news but just presents it in a way that is more appealing that traditional media. Maybe this would be an interesting angle that you can use to further your point.

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  2. When I am looking to catch up on current events, I’ll generally stick to various news sites. I really use Yahoo and AOL to get a lot of information because their stories are very accessible. Besides news sites I find a lot about current events by what people post on twitter and Facebook. It’s not that I’m anti Reddit, but I’ve never had a desire to go on the site, so I know very little about it.

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  3. Reddit is a good place to find opinions and most up to date headlines. Sometimes they are also able to pick up on details that are released even before they get on major outlets. Though, users must be cautious as information does not go through as stringent fact checking as news outlets. Perhaps for data gathering you could examine differences in posting about news on Reddit vs twitter vs Facebook. The boston marathon bombing is actually something that I followed on reddit, they constantly kept people up to date by monitoring police radio transmissions. This could be something for you to analyze.

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