Trolls win: rude blog comments dim the allure of science online

The public loses respect for science when flooded by disparaging blog comments. I wonder why the author didn't even mention the fact that a large volume of such comments on climate change are generated by employees of right wing corporations funded by fossil fuel money, using false online personas. Surely if the public were aware of the systematic poisoning of public discourse they'd be more immune to such influence.

... a study showing the tone of blog comments alone can influence the perception of risk posed by nanotechnology,...

 “When people encounter an unfamiliar issue like nanotechnology, they often rely on an existing value such as religiosity or deference to science to form a judgment,”...

Highly religious readers, the study revealed, were more likely to see nanotechnology as risky when exposed to rude comments compared to less religious readers, Brossard notes.
“Blogs have been a part of the new media landscape for quite some time now, but our study is the first to look at the potential effects blog comments have on public perceptions of science,” says Brossard.
While the tone of blog comments can have an impact, simple disagreement in posts can also sway perception: “Overt disagreement adds another layer. It influences the conversation,”...

Tags: respect for science, risk perception

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Replies to This Discussion

Bullies have always been profoundly influential in almost any social setting.  They wouldn't survive if they weren't, because it's certainly not good for the species as a whole!  So it has to be incredibly good for them, or it just wouldn't happen.

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