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Jan 10 - The Impact of Internet Trolls

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 Jan 10 - The Impact of Internet Trolls
Unread 2 years agoclass of '05 - away - #1
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P DRILLA 82 heat pts82 space
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Everybody who's written or blogged about climate change on a prominent website (or, even worse, spoken about it on YouTube) knows the drill. Shortly after you post, the menagerie of trolls arrives. They're predominantly climate deniers, and they start in immediately arguing over the content and attacking the science—sometimes by slinging insults and even occasional obscenities. To cite a recent example:

What part of "we haven't warmed any in 16 years" don't you understand? Heh. "Cherry-picking" as defined by you alarmists: any time period selected containing data that refutes your hysterical hypothesis. Can be any length of time from 4 billion years to one hour. fu-k off, little man! comment stolen from a bx thread?image

It was reasonably obvious already that these folks were doing nothing good for the public's understanding of the science of climate change (to say nothing of their own comprehension). But now there's actual evidence to back this idea up.

In a recent study, a team of researchers from the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication and several other institutions employed a survey of 1,183 Americans to get at the negative consequences of vituperative online comments for the public understanding of science. Participants were asked to read a blog post containing a balanced discussion of the risks and benefits of nanotechnology (which is already all around us and supports a $ 91 billion U.S. industry). The text of the post was the same for all participants, but the tone of the comments varied. Sometimes, they were "civil"—e.g., no name calling or flaming. But sometimes they were more like this: "If you don’t see the benefits of using nanotechnology in these products, you're an idiot."

The researchers were trying to find out what effect exposure to such rudeness had on public perceptions of nanotech risks. They found that it wasn't a good one. Rather, it polarized the audience: Those who already thought nano-risks were low tended to become more sure of themselves when exposed to name-calling; while those who though nano-risks are high were more likely to move in their own favored direction. In other words, it appeared that pushing people's emotional buttons, through derogatory comments, made them double down on their pre-existing beliefs.

Why are people so quick to buy junk theories on climate, creationism, and vaccines? Chris Mooney explains in "The Science of Why We Don't Believe in Science."
In the context of the psychological theory of motivated reasoning, this makes a great deal of sense. Based on pretty indisputable observations about how the brain works, the theory notes that people feel first, and think second. The emotions come faster than the "rational" thoughts—and also shape the retrieval of those thoughts from memory. Therefore, if reading insults activates one's emotions, the "thinking" process may be more likely to be defensive in nature, and focused on preserving one's identity and pre-existing beliefs.

The study did not examine online climate change trolls directly—but there is good reason to think that the effects of their obnoxious behavior will, if anything, be worse. As the researchers note in the paper, compared with climate change, relatively few people know much about or have strong feelings about nanotechnology. When it comes to climate change, in contrast, "the controversy that you see in comments falls on more fertile ground, and resonates more with an established set of values that the reader may bring to the table," explains study co-author Dietram Scheufele, a professor of science communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. If commenters have stronger emotions and more of a stake, it stands to reason that the polarizing effect of their insults may be even stronger—although, to be sure, this needs to be studied.

The upshot of this research? This is not your father's media environment any longer. In the golden oldie days of media, newspaper articles were consumed in the context of…other newspaper articles. But now, adds Scheufele, it's like "reading the news article in the middle of the town square, with people screaming in my ear what I should believe about it."

To be sure, we all retain the option of not reading the comments. Which, in light of the latest research, is looking smarter than ever.

The Science of Why Comment Trolls Suck | Mother Jones
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2 peeps gave props to P DRILLA nightmare (01-10-2013) , hot topic  (01-10-2013)

24 comments for "Jan 10 - The Impact of Internet Trolls"

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Unread 2 years agoclass of '07 - away - #2
Rob De Niro 111 heat pts111 space
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Didnt read
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '06 - away - #3
nightmare 429 heat pts429 space
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Rob De Niro said:
Didnt read
oh the irony
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '06 - away - #4
nightmare 429 heat pts429 space
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this explained why bx is full of salty a.ss n*ggas, and why we have so many race/ideological wars over and over again
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '06 - away - #5
Drumatic50 7 heat pts space
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nightmare said:
this explained why bx is full of salty a.ss n*ggas, and why we have so many race/ideological wars over and over again
was just about to say, bx has alot of these..
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '05 - away - #6
dangermouse 44 heat pts44 space
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They see me trolling, they hating...


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Unread 2 years agoclass of '05 - away - #7
P DRILLA 82 heat pts82 space
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Rob De Niro said:
Didnt read

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Unread 2 years agoclass of '06 - away - #8
nightmare 429 heat pts429 space
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Drumatic50 said:
was just about to say, bx has alot of these..
basically if people were polite on here, we wouldnt have all these wars and people would be much more open to criticism
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '04 - away - #9
Silver N Black 18 heat pts18 space
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '05 - away - #10
steeLTown 127 heat pts127 space
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S.TEX said:
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '09 - away - #11
Final Boss 124 heat pts124 space
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it's like "reading the news article in the middle of the town square, with people screaming in my ear what I should believe about it."
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '12 - away - #12
Leezee  space
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S.TEX said:
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '06 - away - #13
Aleandroid 411 heat pts411 space
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S.TEX said:
sounds like he was cutting a WWE promo
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '04 - away - #14
MochaWhitey 10 heat pts10 space
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S.TEX said:
He back traced it
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '10 - away - #15
MonopolyMan  space
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Aleandroid said:
sounds like he was cutting a WWE promo
!!!!!!
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '10 - away - #16
Infamous2o1x 22 heat pts22 space
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Aleandroid said:
sounds like he was cutting a WWE promo
Ooooh yeah the Macho Dad *spins around*
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '06 - away - #17
nightmare 429 heat pts429 space
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S.TEX said:
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '05 - away - #18
GST  space
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i started to read
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '11 - on now - #19
RileyEsco 3 heat pts space
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S.TEX said:


"CONSEQUENCES WILL NEVER BE THE SAME!"




You dun goofed


Dude was legendary. Died like a year back from a heart attack (we seen that coming ) though.
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Unread 2 years agoclass of '09 - away - #20
Zaosyn 256 heat pts256 space
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Everyone thinks if you have a different opinion than them then you're a troll or some dude trying to provoke an argument for no reason. The internet has gotten way too sensitive.
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