Research project

E-Community Toxicity Modelling

Description

Online communities abound today, arising on social networking sites, on the websites of real-world communities like schools or clubs, on web discussion forums, on the discussion boards of videogames, and even on the comment pages of news sites and blogs. Some of these communities are “healthy” and foster polite discussion between respectful members, but others are “toxic” and devolve into virulent fights, trolling, cyber-bullying, fraud, or worse even, incitation to suicide, radicalization, or the sexual predation and grooming of minors. Detecting toxic messages and toxic users is a major challenge, in part because they are adversarial users who are actively trying to circumvent or fool detection software and filters. Moreover, while a lot of research in the literature has looked at online communities (for example in text normalization to correct misspelled words, in sentiment detection to infer the mood of users, or in user modeling to recognize the different personalities of users), most of it has assumed that users are collaborating rather than deliberately trying to misdirect the software.

The private company TwoHat has a software product, Community Sift, which assists community moderators in finding toxic messages in online conversations. In this research project, we will partner with them in order to achieve five general objectives, which will be detailed in later sections: (1) To explore improvements to the conversation handling tools and toxicity rating metrics within the context of the Community Sift system; (2) To research new methodologies for toxicity detection in online conversations; (3) To develop innovative algorithms to aggregate the various pieces of information in evidence files into a coherent evaluation and prediction; (4) To develop real-time implementations of these methodologies that can handle the massive data stream of online conversations; (5) To study the nature of toxic behaviours, their impacts on users and on online communities, and the mechanisms to curb them.

Research Field

- Processing of massive data
- Treatment of the language
- Machine learning

Research Supervisor

Richard Khoury

Research Environment

Web Site


Financial Aid Available by Program of Study

Doctorate in Computer Science

Program description

Financial Aid Available*

Financial Aid Related to Research Project

Between $15,000 and $25,000/year

Program-Specific Financial Aid

Graduate Studies Awards

Milestone Amount
Progression scholarship
7 x $500
Doctoral exam or seminar presentation
$750
Doctoral exam, seminar or conference
$1,000
Publication
$750
Communication
$1,000
First submission of dissertation
$1,000*
Total $8,500

*A $500 bonus will be added to the graduation scholarship if the initial submission is made before the semester preceding the final qualifying semester.

Université Laval: Student Financial Aid

Funding source Amount
Leadership and Comittment Scholarship (Canadians & permanent residents)
$30,000
Citizens of the World Scholarship (International students) $30,000
Mobility Grant for Out-of-Province Internships or Research Visits (in French)
$1,000 to $2,000
Graduate Scholarships from Granting Agencies   
$20,000 to $70,000$
Online Directory of Graduate Scholarships (in French)
$500 to $50,000

Supplemental Tuition Fee Exemption Scholarship Program: Entitles international students to pay Canadian student tuition fees, for overall savings of around $40,000. If you are benefiting of this scholarship program, the doctoral admission scholarship will go toward paying your supplemental tuition fees. You will not receive the $2,000 scholarship amount directly; rather it will be applied over your first two semesters to the supplemental portion of your tuition fees.

* Amounts shown represent maximum financial aid available. Certain conditions apply. Subject to change without prior notice. For further information, contact sponsoring organizations directly.

Master's Degree in Computer Science with thesis

Program description

Financial Aid Available*

Financial Aid Related to Research Project

Between $15,000 and $25,000/year

Program-Specific Financial Aid

Graduate Studies Awards

Milestone Amount
Evaluated activity
$650
Achievement scholarship $1,000 
Total $1,650

Université Laval: Student Financial Aid

Sources de financement Montant
Leadership and Comittment Scholarship (Canadians & permanent residents) $10,000
Citizens of the World Scholarship (International students) $20,000
Mobility Grant for Out-of-Province Internships or Research Visits (in French)
$1,000 to $2,000
Graduate Scholarships from Granting Agencies
$17,500 to $40,000
Online Directory of Graduate Scholarships (in French)
$500 to $50,000

* Amounts shown represent maximum financial aid available. Certain conditions apply. Subject to change without prior notice. For further information, contact sponsoring organizations directly.

Desired Profile

- Computer Software

Required Documentation

- Curriculum vitæ
- Student transcript

Find Out More

Richard Khoury
Professeur
Département d'informatique et de génie logiciel
richard.khoury@ift.ulaval.ca