AAAI Publications, Workshops at the Thirtieth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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Venting Weight: Analyzing the Discourse of an Online Weight Loss Forum
Lydia Manikonda, Heather Pon-Barry, Subbarao Kambhampati, Eric Hekler, David W. McDonald

Last modified: 2016-03-29

Abstract


Online social communities are becoming increasingly popular platforms for people to share information, seek emotional support, and maintain accountability for losing weight. Studying the discourse in these communities can offer insights on how users benefit from using these applications. This paper presents an analysis of language and discourse patterns in forum posts by users who lose weight and keep it off versus users with fluctuating weight dynamics. In contrast to prior studies, we have access to the weekly self-reported check-in weights of users along with their forum posts. This paper also presents a study on how goal-oriented forums are different from general online forums in terms of language markers. Our results reveal dierences about how the types of posts made by users vary along with their weight-loss patterns. These insights are closely related to the power dynamics of social interactions and can enable better design ofweight-loss applications thereby contributing to a healthy society.

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