Luis Moßburger


Exploring Online Depression Forums via Text Mining: A Comparison of Reddit and a Curated Online Forum
Luis Moßburger | Felix Wende | Kay Brinkmann | Thomas Schmidt
Proceedings of the Fifth Social Media Mining for Health Applications Workshop & Shared Task

We present a study employing various techniques of text mining to explore and compare two different online forums focusing on depression: (1) the subreddit r/depression (over 60 million tokens), a large, open social media platform and (2) Beyond Blue (almost 5 million tokens), a professionally curated and moderated depression forum from Australia. We are interested in how the language and the content on these platforms differ from each other. We scrape both forums for a specific period. Next to general methods of computational text analysis, we focus on sentiment analysis, topic modeling and the distribution of word categories to analyze these forums. Our results indicate that Beyond Blue is generally more positive and that the users are more supportive to each other. Topic modeling shows that Beyond Blue’s users talk more about adult topics like finance and work while topics shaped by school or college terms are more prevalent on r/depression. Based on our findings we hypothesize that the professional curation and moderation of a depression forum is beneficial for the discussion in it.