In our previous GNET Insight we looked at how quantitative measures can help us understand the prevalence of extreme language in videogaming forums, using a dataset of Reddit.com posts from videogaming subreddits. Contrary to current speculation, we found that extreme language is not something which haunts mainstream gaming spaces. However, some gaming spaces did contain a high count of extreme language. These spaces were unique compared to other gaming spaces. The subreddit /r/KotakuInAction, for instance, contains a high amount of extreme language and is uniquely extreme when compared to the more mainstream subreddit /r/VideoGames and the subreddit for the videogame Hearts of Iron IV, /r/HOI4.
However, the nature and context of certain terms still needs to be established. As noted in the previous Insight, extremists are creative in their use of language and will quickly move on and adopt new terminology when their extremism is unmasked. This allows them to communicate with one another in public with ‘dog whistle’ phrases and words. Additionally, the Internet is notoriously a place where sarcasm is both rife and dry. Alongside this some users may discuss extremist words critically, giving false positives. This all makes it difficult to establish whether the presence of extreme language is reflective of genuine extremist sentiment, sarcasm and irony, or critical discussion.