Today's digital day-to-day communication is dominated by short text exchanges. Recently, anonymous communication platforms are emerging and have found widespread adoption. Anonymous communication largely lacks metadata and opens questions concerning efficient methods. This project brings together linguistic, sociological and computational expertise to explore a methodology for investigating social patterns of online communities as they manifest in linguistic behaviour with the long-term goal of developing computational mechanisms safeguarding against anti-social behaviour. The main outcome of the project will be a first understanding of the problems and possible solutions for determining context in anonymous short message exchanges. Ultimately, this knowledge of the social and linguistic patterns in online communities could be of use not just for retrospectively explaining (anti-)social behaviour in such communities but also proactively for designing platforms.

COMTEX is a cooperation between English Linguistics, COMSYS and the Department of Sociology. From our group, it involves Prof. Stella Neumann, Arndt Heilmann, Dr. Jennifer Fest and two student assistants, Alessa Busch and Ina Thiemann.

The profect is funded in the context of the Exploratoy Research Space initiatve at RWTH Aachen University (OP SF485.)