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An easy way to tell if you’re a terrible person on Reddit

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Here’s a moral quandary for you: do you consider yourself a good person? The breakdown of what makes someone “good” or “bad is complicated: do you base it on their kindness? Their impact on the world at large? Whether or not they’ve ever eaten the last of the office cereal and then put the empty box back on the shelf?

The question suggests a binary answer, though reality is messier than a simple “yes” or “no” — unless you ate the cereal, in which case, yes, you are evil. However, we can narrow the question of one’s goodness to something more specific, like one good-humored person did with Reddit and ruadick.com. Web developer Brent Arnold created the site “Are you a dick?” which he calls a silly hobby. The service uses the Reddit API to sort through a commenter’s last 100 entries. From there, the site pulls sentences that “aren't too long and aren't too short” from comments and rates them on their positivity, neutrality, or negativity using the NLTK Sentiment Analyzer Vader Module. Each user is then given a rank, from most to least positive, based on those results.

Arnold says he came up with the idea in a night, and launched “Are you a dick?” the next day.

“I have been thinking about it nonstop,” he told The Verge. “I love the idea of giving people a (somewhat) accurate, totally objective insight into their writing style.”

I’m more of a Reddit lurker than anything else, so sadly I didn’t have any way to divine my own goodness. But the site allows you to check on anybody with a username and a load of comments, so I spent some time digging around the thoughts of strangers. Its mileage seems to vary; one user pointed out that it doesn’t seem to read sarcasm well (but really, who does on the internet).

“It isn't hard to trick the analyzer,” Arnold says, but overall he thinks it works well. “I have all kinds of ideas to expand/change. We will see.”

If you compare the current top and bottom posters of the posts analyzed, I’d say it’s doing just fine. If only we could apply this to all of internet commenting.