Not sure why this made me chuckle, but it did:
Trolls win: Rude blog comments dim the allure of science online, EurekAlert: The trolls are winning. Pick a story about some aspect of science, any story, scroll down to the blog comments and let the bashing begin:
- Wonder how much taxpayer cash went into this 'deep' study?
- I think you can take all these studies by pointy headed scientists, 99 percent of whom are socialists and communists, and stick them where the sun don't shine.
- Yawn. Climate change myth wackos at it again.
- This article is 100 percent propaganda crapola.
- Speaking of dolts, if you were around in the 70s, when they also had scientists, the big talk then was about the coming ice age. And don't give me any of that carbon emission bull@!$%#.
Such nasty back and forth, like it or not, is now a staple of our news diet, and in the realm of online science news, the diatribes, screeds and rants are taking a toll on the public perception of science and technology, according to a study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. ...
UW-Madison science communication researcher Dominique Brossard reported the results of a study showing the tone of blog comments alone can influence the perception of risk posed by nanotechnology, the science of manipulating materials at the smallest scales. ...
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," she explains.
UW-Madison Life Sciences Communication Professor Dietram Scheufele, another of the study's co-authors, notes that the Web is a primary destination for people looking for detailed information and discussion on aspects of science and technology. Because of that trend, "studies of online media are becoming increasingly important, but understanding the online information environment is particularly important for issues of science and technology."