Always thank the Bus Driver - A longitudinal observational study of the effects of prosocial behaviour in an online gaming community
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This research addresses a longitudinal observational analysis of the affect an introduced prosocial action has on an online community by measuring linguistic markers. A data set was collected from an online community, Reddit, looking specifically at the FortNite online game and analysing it both before and after the ability to thank the bus driver was introduced. The data set was also analysed after the motivation for thanking the bus driver changed to one of explicit reciprocity. Posters (n = 9,037) were queried, with those that met the validity requirements (n = 7,221) having their posts (n = 1,232,741) assigned to three cohorts, those of pre-prosocial, post-prosocial, and post-reciprocity, depending on when they were posted. A statistically significant (R squared = 0.572) increase in positive emotion linguistic markers was detected in the data set after the prosocial action was added. There was no statistically significant change in negative emotion linguistic markers. The change in motivation also did not reduce the use of positive emotion linguistic markers, contrary to what was expected. This research is of importance to the psychology of game design and online community analysis and management.
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