The Psychology of Online Comments

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by wegs, Feb 7, 2020.

  1. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    From the article:

    Anonymous forums can also be remarkably self-regulating: we tend to discount anonymous or pseudonymous comments to a much larger degree than commentary from other, more easily identifiable sources. In a 2012 study of anonymity in computer interactions, researchers found that, while anonymous comments were more likely to be contrarian and extreme than non-anonymous ones, they were also far less likely to change a subject’s opinion on an ethical issue, echoing earlier results from the University of Arizona. In fact, as the Stanford computer scientist Michael Bernstein found when he analyzed the /b/ board of 4chan, an online discussion forum that has been referred to as the Internet’s “rude, raunchy underbelly” and where over ninety per cent of posts are wholly anonymous, mechanisms spontaneously emerged to monitor user interactions and establish a commenter’s status as more or less influential—and credible.

    https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of...e-comments

    No doubt that being contrarian comes easier when we are ''anonymous.'' According to the article, anonymous comments are less likely to change someone's mind over an ethical issue (than if you're discussing the issue in person) and face to face interactions are far more emotionally rewarding, than online discussions. I can see that.

    Thoughts?
     
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  3. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Yes one would expect a face to face interaction with somebody one knows would be far more influential when it comes to changing an opinion. Though a good argument might provide food for thought and perhaps a refinement of someone's position.

    Where internet discussions are however helpful is in alerting readers to a wider range of new information than would be readily available from their own face to face contacts. Naturally, some of this new information may need to be verified or corroborated, as one may not know or trust the source.

    Regarding self-regulation, yes it seems to work up to a point. One forum I belong to almost never bans people. However the nutters and pains-in-the-bum are rapidly identified by the community and people seem eventually to stop replying to them - and they give up. (This has happened to Theorist, on that forum, several times, in fact.

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  5. geordief Valued Senior Member

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    "Authority" is a very interesting concept in itself ,regardless of the medium.

    "Might is right" may have been its first incarnation.

    That acknowledgement may never disappear from our assessment.

    At all times,perhaps we equate to a degree the high moral ground with its physical easily defensible position.

    If we have inner strengths that can counteract that to a degree but we are all puny social animals although we can leverage our positions with alliances

    I am thinking of the Doctor in China who has paid with his life ,perhaps because he spoke out of turn.
     
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  7. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Nuh uh.

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    I find it easier to be honest anonymously. I live in Conservative Hell (Western Canada Division), so I don't often tell people face-to-face what I think. (And they're extremely unlikely to change my mind.)
     
  8. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    As you are unlikely to change theirs. My subsidiary of Conservative Hell is rural Ontario, where a lot of my neighbours give high approval ratings to the Ford Slitheenium , while a few other neighbours are freethinking, bilingual Ood fans. Nobody changes anyone else's mind about anything ever.
     
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  9. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

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    I remember having to meet someone in a town called Abbottsford in a coffee shop called Tim Hortons. When I walked in, I saw three tables of people holding hands and praying.
     
  10. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    If everyone’s heels are dug in, how are minds changed then when it comes to social justice issues, for example? Minds change every day, it would seem...who are the mind changers and how are they doing it?
     
  11. geordief Valued Senior Member

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    Social structures generally keep minds from changing.Otherwise minds are freer to change.

    I am not sure whether some social structures can encourage freedom of thought ,though. They would be interesting structures.
     
  12. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    No. Minds change when large circumstances change. A conquest, a war, revolution, civil war, a technological lurch or economic upheaval that alters the distribution of wealth and power. The mind-quakes 20th century, like the sixteenth, were the result of a centuries-long groundswell building up in the social fabric. When there is a big even, like an enlightenment, industrial revolution or a brace of world wars, it leaves a trail of attitude-shifts. But the the most recent one ran out of energy about thirty years ago - positions have solidified again; we're in a period of intellectual decline.
     
  13. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Does it mention what form these mechanisms take?
     
  14. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Not entirely sure, and what is meant by ''spontaneous?'' Maybe that's just poor word choice on the part of the author? Maybe it means that here on this site for example, there seems to be a community understanding of who is a troll for example, and who isn't. This happened through observations of members' behaviors, seeing how well their posts are received, if they've been banned, etc. Not sure how ''spontaneous'' that process is, but I'm thinking that is what the author meant.
     
  15. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, I don;t take issue with the word spontaneous - I'm sure they simply mean 'grass roots' - as in 'by forum members'.
     
  16. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    The “mechanisms” are likely in the form of “likes” or some variable. I’m not familiar with that site the author cites as an example, but when discussing forums “self regulating,” that could be how they’re handling it. Not always a fair gauge though of quality comments, because often times, members of forums may “like” posts, only of their buddies, simply because they like the poster. I’ve noticed this on another forum I used to frequent - members who weren’t “popular” (whatever that may mean) would post provocative ideas, comments and content - but receive few likes. The popular bunch who posted virtually the same comments AFTER those not so popular members, would receive many likes.

    I lurked mainly but observed this dynamic that only served to drive away decent members, because it was clearly a popularity contest.
     
  17. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, probably.

    I was half-hoping that they had developed some new technique to determine "...a commenter’s status as more or less influential—and credible" that could be the basis for a more broadly applicable rating system - like implementable here on SciFo.
     
  18. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    I think MOST members of this site use the “like” system in the way it was intended - for quality content, or posts that resonate with them (they agree with the posts that they’re “liking.")

    When looking at someone’s total number of posts on this forum against their number of “likes,” that can reveal how others feel about their posts - a community reputation of sorts. This site didn’t always have this feature and for those who have 10,000 + posts (long time members), they may be quality posters, but the “like” system didn’t go into effect until well into their years here. (I don’t think there’s a way to adjust for that “lost time.”)

    This site doesn’t have a large group of discussion participants right now, so it’s a bit easier to see whose posts have merit. (in one’s opinion) It’s quite subjective at the end of the day. Lol
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2020
  19. foghorn Registered Senior Member

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    But, that may be just a reflection of that poster's type of ''friends'', and not the whole community.

    Well, look at MR's post count and likes, would you say they reflect how poor MR is treated or respected by the whole community here? I haven't looked at his likes score, would you say it is high?


    It seems a lot of ''discussion'' by some on this site is about how members on this site are treated. Some here even go to others sites to ''discuss'' the mods here at Sciforums.
    Poor old Syne is getting kicked by all over there. Bunch of bullies that lot over there.
    https://www.scivillage.com/thread-7059-post-34224.html#pid34224
     
  20. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    True.

    I haven't looked at MR's, but I know that his defense of alien life, UFO's, etc...is frowned upon here, because the general community perception is that he doesn't provide evidence. He believes that numerous ''eye-witness'' accounts however, are evidence. Since this is a science forum, I understand why spirited debates tend to happen in his threads.

    We shouldn't be discussing other sites discussions, here. I want to say that another member here dragged over discussions from another science site, and it was frowned upon. That said, you'd have to be involved in those discussions on that site, to see why some have grievances with Syne.

    The mods have a challenging job to be sure, but there have been decisions made that I don't personally agree with, and we can agree to disagree. The ''report'' feature is good for voicing who we (non mod members) observe as violating forum rules. Like all things though, there are subjective ideas of what is offensive and what isn't. I'd say I agree for the most part with who is banned, but MR's banning, I don't understand, just being honest. I could see if he posted in the hard sciences subforums, but he doesn't. I don't really follow his threads often enough though to understand what posts are seen as infractions and violations, so my opinion is based on MR's historical posts. (I don't think he's ever changed his stance over the years, on what he considers to be evidence.)
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2020
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  21. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    It would probably be an affront to him to be evaluated as a victim, or deemed as kicked around.
     
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  22. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    He's doesn't get suspended for his views; he gets suspended for breaking the rules we all signed up for - in his case, it is usually spamming a thread with links without providing any explanatory comments or description.

    "E8. When linking to other sites, include a description and/or meaningful link text – not just ‘Link’ or ‘Click here’."
    http://www.sciforums.com/threads/sciforums-site-rules.142880/


    And it's not a ban; it's a temporary suspension. It gets longer each time he ignores it. And he has been warned many, many times, so he has no excuse.
     
  23. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Ah, gotcha. As mentioned, I haven’t been up to date on the latest posts in those threads. That said, this has been an eye-opener for me, because I didn’t realize that posts/opinions in the non hard science sections require scientific evidence to support them.

    There is no objective scientific data to back up the existence of extraterrestrial life or UFO’s, so why does that section exist? I’ve always assumed it is for a general bantering of ideas and opinions about non-science/off topic subjects.
     

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