Your Opinion is Bad For Science, According to Suzanne LeBarre, Online Editor for “Popular Science”

(SUSANNE POSEL)   Suzanne LeBarre, online editor for Popular Science, announced to web users of their news site are shutting off their comments option because it “can be bad for science.”

LaBarre maintains: “As the news arm of a 141-year-old science and technology magazine, we are as committed to fostering lively, intellectual debate as we are to spreading the word of science far and wide. The problem is when trolls and spambots overwhelm the former, diminishing our ability to do the latter.”

Popular Science is concerned about attracting “vexing commenters” who are “shrill, boorish specimens of the lower internet phyla.”

The “fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader’s perception of a story” and this is not good for scientific dispensation.

This is the exact definition of a “troll” according to the MSM.

LaBarre cites a study entitled, “The ‘Nasty Effect’: Online Incivility and Risk Perceptions of Emerging Technologies” which expounds that “uncivil discourse is a growing concern in American rhetoric, and this trend has expanded beyond traditional media to online sources, such as audience comments.”

With data collected from 1,183 participants that led to the assertion that those exposed to “rude comments ended up with a much more polarized understanding” of the subject matter of the article.

Essentially, the comments influenced the reader’s perspective, comprehension and opinion about the information they received from the article more than the article itself.

Mainstream media’s reaction to this is to point out that “online comments have always been — and probably always will be — one of the Web’s thorniest problems.


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