Access to abundant biased information in echo chambers and social bubbles often intensifies opinions to the extremes. The extremization of opinions results in several topics becoming controversial. However, it is very difficult to measure the degree of controversiality of a topic objectively since the controversiality of any topic is subjective and perceived differently from different communities. The absence of an objective measure of controversiality has been a major hindrance in understanding the causes and effects of it. In this work we propose a method to quantify controversiality of a topic by utilizing eccentricity of opinions on that topic. The eccentricity of an opinion is the amount of strangeness of the opinion relative to other opinions in the social neighborhood. The collective eccentricity of all opinions for a topic works as an indicator of the controversiality of that topic and can be represented by any measure of central tendency. With the help of social network data, we also demonstrate that opinions on several issues related to our routine life show similar trends for diversity though they differ in their controversiality.
Pandey, Sriniwas and Sayama, Hiroki
"Characterizing Controversiality of Topics Utilizing Eccentricity of Opinions,"
Northeast Journal of Complex Systems (NEJCS): Vol. 5
, Article 2.
Available at: https://orb.binghamton.edu/nejcs/vol5/iss1/2