May 24, 2022

Research Paper: “The Social World of Content Abusers in Community Question Answering”

The following paper by researchers from Yahoo Labs and the University of South Florida was presented at the 24th International World Wide Web Conference.


The Social World of Content Abusers in Community Question Answering


Imrul Kayes
University of South Florida

Nicolas Kourtellis
Yahoo Labs

Daniele Quercia
Yahoo Labs

Adriana Iamnitchi
University of South Florida

Francesco Bonchi
Yahoo Labs


via arXiv


Community-based question answering platforms can be rich sources of information on a variety of specialized topics, from finance to cooking. The usefulness of such platforms depends heavily on user contributions (questions and answers), but also on respecting the community rules. As a crowd-sourced service, such platforms rely on their users for monitoring and flagging content that violates community rules.

Common wisdom is to eliminate the users who receive many flags. Our analysis of a year of traces from a mature Q&A site shows that the number of flags does not tell the full story: on one hand, users with many flags may still contribute positively to the community. On the other hand, users who never get flagged are found to violate community rules and get their accounts suspended. This analysis, however, also shows that abusive users are betrayed by their network properties: we find strong evidence of homophilous behavior and use this finding to detect abusive users who go under the community radar. Based on our empirical observations, we build a classifier that is able to detect abusive users with an accuracy as high as 83%.

Direct to Full Text Paper (11 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.