Commentary

According To Comment Section Data Mining, The Oscar Winners Are...

Anonymous comment sections have been hounded, mostly because they are a hotbed for Internet trolls, but one company is out to see if collective comments can predict the future.

The company -- Disqus, which powers the comment sections on many sites across the Web -- traversed a comment section minefield that contained over one million consumer interactions across 3,000 different articles and blog posts to see who consumers think will win Oscar awards this Sunday. "Interactions" were made up of over 200,000 comments and 850,000 votes recorded from January 1 to February 6, 2015.

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Disqus created an “optimism score” based on activity in the comment sections to represent the general opinion of consumers. Based on “optimism score,” “Boyhood” is expected to win Best Picture, with “Birman,” “American Sniper,” “Whiplash” and “Selma” rounding out the top five.

Michael Keaton is expected to win Best Actor for his part in “Birdman,” according to Disqus’ optimism score, followed by Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything” and Bradley Cooper in “American Sniper.”

To nobody’s surprise, Disqus found that most comments were focused on controversy. According to a Disqus blog post summarizing the findings, 82% of page views studied were related to “Selma” and “American Sniper,” with the majority of the comments on those pages focused on the political debates the two movies gave rise to.

Comment volume about Oscar nominees when the political debate was removed (data scientists call this being 'normalized') told a different story, with ‘Boyhood’ getting the highest volume of comments in 16 states including California, Maine and Tennessee but not in Texas, where the film was set,” explained a Disqus representative. “Whiplash was the second most commented upon film, in 12 states, including South Carolina, Oregon and Montana.”

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