CRF Blog

Online’s ‘nasty effect’

by Bill Hayes

In Online’s ‘nasty effect’ for the Los Angeles Times, Meghan Daum reports on a search study showing that uncivil comments affect the opinion of readers.

Researchers from George Mason University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison set up a fake blog with a news item on a new (and also fake) technological product called nanosilver that had several benefits and several risks. They then created two versions of the news post, one with comments that ran the gamut from supportive to skeptical but were civil, and one where the comments ran the same gamut but contained rude outbursts, obscenities and attacks on other commenters. [more]

Here is the full journal article: Crude Comments and Concern: Online Incivility’s Effect on Risk Perceptions of Emerging Technologies.