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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Popular Science  |  Posted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:50 pm
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Popular Science is shutting down its on-line comments facility

the reasons ? they did a survey using a fake blog, and varied the comments to be either civilised or boorish, and it appears that, independent of the content of the article, the type of subsequent comments could alter how it was perceived by the readers

Quote:
Uncivil comments not only polarized readers, but they often changed a participant's interpretation of the news story itself.
In the civil group, those who initially did or did not support the technology — whom we identified with preliminary survey questions — continued to feel the same way after reading the comments. Those exposed to rude comments, however, ended up with a much more polarized understanding of the risks connected with the technology.
Simply including an ad hominem attack in a reader comment was enough to make study participants think the downside of the reported technology was greater than they'd previously thought.


so how's it work for forums then - is the view from outsiders negative because of rude comments and ad hominems ? if that's really the case, how do you deal with knowledgeable but blunt people like Dr.Rocket ?

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: Popular Science  |  Posted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:47 am
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Daily Kos discusses this here:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/09/2 ... ail=email2

In the comments following the article it is being suggested that this is a uniquely American problem along with the Taliban and their ilk. Europe and Asia don't suffer from the delusion that science is decided by opinion polling. I wonder if this is really true?


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Popular Science  |  Posted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:26 pm
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I've heard a different take that resonates with me. The suggestion I heard is that trolling and abusive/aggressive internet comments are not at all specific to science sites. While science sites get hammered on specific hot button topics, the trollish and disagreeable comments occur everywhere there is a comment section across the internet, almost regardless of the topic.

Look at youtube you see it. Look at blogs you see it. Look at forums and chat rooms and news sites, etc. Consistently you have people telling others to go kill themselves and essentially unable to even agree on basic facts, but with the added bonus of a lot of emotion and aggressivity.

The story I heard suggests that much of our aggression is because of the state of the economy, the extreme inequality that is occuring, and the fact that many people have lost hope entirely about the possibility of improving their lives. In the past, no matter how bad life got and how much people struggled, they tended to have a bit of hope that things could still improve and this sense of hope positively impacted the way they treated others. The suggestion was that this hope is nearly extinguished today. People feel that the system is completely rigged and the game is fixed. People feel that no matter how hard they try they won't be able to advance themselves. This leads them to be more spiteful and venomous.

I need to go look for these articles, but another I read this past week suggested that the harder life is for someone, the more they struggle and the more they face daily challenges just in getting by... the more fervently they tend to believe in a controlling god, a corrupted government, and all manner of conspiracy theories. The idea is that they lack control in their own lives, but they have thoughts suggesting that control must exist somewhere so they are more prone to believing in a controlling deity or government or corporations, etc. Again, since they feel out of control, they tend to more easily lash out and make abusive and contrary comments in online discussion sections (which also enhances their sense of control since they know they are "controlling" the response of others who are reading their comments).

I wonder if any of that applies here. Certainly, worldview plays a role in comments at science sites. Subjects like evolution and climate change and GMO foods are all controversial and more likely to be discussed at science sites. However, what I guess I'm trying to say is that this is not a problem specific to science sites, but to the internet in general, and the tone of the comments from people is proxy to what has happened to our culture and society as a whole. There is less hope, more struggle and strife, a sense of having no control and a giant megaphone called the internet free for all to use.

The comments section at sites like Popular Science are potentially just a symptom of these deeper issues occurring with humanity. Does that make sense, or do you think maybe I'm way out in left-field on this one?

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iNow

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Popular Science  |  Posted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:10 pm
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iNow wrote:
The story I heard suggests that much of our aggression is because of the state of the economy, the extreme inequality that is occuring, and the fact that many people have lost hope entirely about the possibility of improving their lives. In the past, no matter how bad life got and how much people struggled, they tended to have a bit of hope that things could still improve and this sense of hope positively impacted the way they treated others.


i'd say unbridled aggression and antisocial behaviour stems from a lack of sense of community
in the past people might have refrained from showing overt aggression because society in general and especially your local community (which at the time counted for a far larger part of your life, and their approval mattered) disapproved of such behaviour

larger population sizes in big cities have reduced this sense of community substantially, and the internet has only accelerated this trend : it is possible to remain anonymous (at least in all but the most severe cases) and vent your spleen without anyone holding you back

in addition, the trend on the internet has been for likeminded people to search each other's company, very often to the exclusion of dissenting points of view, which get vilified without being given a fair hearing
that way people who don't belong to your small in-group are fair game for brutal treatment

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GiantEvil
Post  Post subject: Re: Popular Science  |  Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 7:07 pm
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The implications of the study cited by Popular Science seem to be that affectual rhetoric is more effectual as an argument than reason, at least for most people. I'm certainly dismayed, but not surprised.

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OldChemE
Post  Post subject: Re: Popular Science  |  Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:04 am

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And its much easier to attack someone from the comfort of your won room using your keyboard...... (as noted above-- no sense of community)


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