r/StardewValley: Understanding Information, Sentiments, and Leisure in Online Communities

Paola Santiago

Abstract


This report investigates the social interactions and information flow in online communities. More specifically, this study has three guiding questions: (a) Why do people participate online? (b) How does online participation affect a user’s behaviour? and (c) How do online forums shape the dynamics of social interaction and, in turn, affect the definition of leisure as we know it today? In order to answer these questions, I utilized data mining and content analysis for an online forum called r/StardewValley. I collected the top 300 posts from January 2016 to July 2016 to understand the reoccurring themes and topics that members share with one another. The findings show that people in this community like to share positive experiences that are motivated by Exploratory Search (ES) rather than seeking informational resources from a Sensemaking perspective. The findings show that people participate mainly for ES, which in turn gives them personal development and positive relationships. 


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