October 21, 2021

I am a scientist… Ask Me Anything: Examining differences between male and female scientists participating in a Reddit AMA session

A Hubner, & R Bond

Public Understanding of Science


This article investigates interactions between scientists and the online community Reddit. Given that past research on computer-mediated communication between scientists and the public found that male scientists are typically more popular in online spaces than female scientists, we examined differences in popularity as well as potential gendered differences in communication style. Specifically, we examined 269 Reddit “Ask Me Anything” sessions as well as the comments linked with each session (n = 125,580). Overall, we find that male scientists receive more comments on their sessions, but the score an individual comment receives does not differ by gender. Similarly, we find that the message complexity of the comments does not differ by gender. Taken together, these suggest that Reddit AMA sessions might be an effective platform for both male and female scientists to engage with the public.

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