Research project

E-Community Toxicity Modelling

Project 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


Related Programs

Doctorate in Computer Science

Program description

Financial aid available*

Financial aid related to research project

Information unavailable

Program-Specific Financial Aid

Graduate Studies Awards

Plan Steps Incentive
Progression studentship
7 x $500
Doctoral exam or seminar presentation
$750
Doctoral exam, seminar or conference
$1,000
Publication
$750
Communication
$1,000
Initial thesis submission
$1,000*
Total $8,500

*A $ 500 bonus will be added to the studentship for graduation if the initial deposit is made before the session that precedes the maximum qualifying session.

Université Laval: Student Financial Aid

Funding source Amount
Université Laval Doctoral Admission Scholarship  $2,000
Leadership and Sustainable Development Scholarships 
3 x $10,000
Mobility Grant for Out-of-Province Internships (in French)
$1,000
Graduate Scholarships from Granting Agencies   
$21,000 to $50,000$
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 $30,000.

* 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 in Computer Science - with dissertation

Program description

Financial aid available*

Financial aid related to research project

Information unavailable

Program-Specific Financial Aid

Graduate Studies Awards

Plan Steps Incentive
Evaluated activity
$650
Achievement scholarship
$1,000
Total $1,650

Université Laval: Student Financial Aid

Sources de financement Montant
Leadership and Sustainable Development Scholarships 2 x $5,000
Mobility Grant for Out-of-Province Internships (in French)
$1,000
Graduate Scholarships from Granting Agencies
$14,100 to $21,000
Online Directory of Graduate Scholarships (in French)
$500 to $50,000

Master's Scholarships for International StudentsThese scholarships are available in a number of programs to students from Africa and Europe, excluding France. This scholarship of $7,000 per year is awarded based on university academic achievement * 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