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Jan 10 - The Impact of Internet Trolls


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 Jan 10 - The Impact of Internet Trolls
topic by P DRILLA - 01-10-2013, 10:53 AM


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. #### off, little man! comment stolen from a bx thread?> Jan 10 - The Impact of Internet Trolls - Photo posted in Non-headline articles, author commentary, documentaries, and more | Sign in and leave a comment below!

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 est@blished 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


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


 01-10-2013, 11:32 PMaway - #2
Rob De Niro 108 heat pts108

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Didnt read
 01-10-2013, 11:41 PMonline - #3
nightmare 422 heat pts422

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Originally Posted by Rob De Niro
Didnt read
oh the irony
 01-10-2013, 11:43 PMonline - #4
nightmare 422 heat pts422

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this explained why bx is full of salty a$s ni##as, and why we have so many race/ideological wars over and over again
 01-10-2013, 11:59 PMaway - #5
Drumatic50 6 heat pts

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Originally Posted by nightmare
this explained why bx is full of salty a$s ni##as, and why we have so many race/ideological wars over and over again
was just about to say, bx has alot of these..
 01-11-2013, 02:20 AMaway - #6
dangermouse 3 heat pts

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They see me trolling, they hating...

 01-11-2013, 08:42 AMaway - #7
P DRILLA 80 heat pts80

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Originally Posted by Rob De Niro
Didnt read
 01-11-2013, 08:46 AMonline - #8
nightmare 422 heat pts422

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Originally Posted by Drumatic50
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
 01-11-2013, 08:53 AMaway - #9
Silver N Black 15 heat pts15

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 01-11-2013, 09:53 AMaway - #10
steeLTown 124 heat pts124

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Originally Posted by S.TEX
 01-11-2013, 10:04 AMaway - #11
Final Boss 116 heat pts116

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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."
 01-11-2013, 10:46 AMaway - #12
Leezee 

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Originally Posted by S.TEX
 01-11-2013, 11:24 AMonline - #13
Aleandroid 354 heat pts354

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Originally Posted by S.TEX
sounds like he was cutting a WWE promo
 01-11-2013, 11:25 AMonline - #14
MochaWhitey 10 heat pts10

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Originally Posted by S.TEX
He back traced it
 01-11-2013, 12:38 PMaway - #15
MonopolyMan 

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Originally Posted by Aleandroid
sounds like he was cutting a WWE promo
!!!!!!
 01-11-2013, 02:02 PMaway - #16
Infamous2o1x 22 heat pts22

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Originally Posted by Aleandroid
sounds like he was cutting a WWE promo
Ooooh yeah the Macho Dad *spins around*
 01-11-2013, 05:13 PMonline - #17
nightmare 422 heat pts422

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Originally Posted by S.TEX
 01-11-2013, 07:15 PMaway - #18
GST 

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i started to read
 01-11-2013, 07:51 PMonline - #19
RileyEsco 3 heat pts

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Originally Posted by S.TEX


"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.
 01-11-2013, 08:04 PMaway - #20
Zaosyn 255 heat pts255

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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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