Comments Gone Bad: Guardian Analyzes 70 Million, Discovers the Trends of Hatred
If you’ve spent any time whatsoever on the web, you know, way deep down at a cellular level, how truly nasty comment sections can get. My first experience with this was way, way back in the days when we connected to the web via CompuServe, and I saw what we were just starting to call “Flame Wars” break out.
The platforms have changed over the years, but the behavior has not. Well, actually, it has. The opportunity for unhinged, wicked obsessives to use technology to work out their deep-seated anger, fear and penis inadequacy issues (and howdy there, CCJ!) have only increased as we have come to lead more-connected lives.
The Guardian has done a deep-data-dive into its comment sections, and come up with some shockingly predictable/predictably shocking results:
New research into our own comment threads provides the first quantitative evidence for what female journalists have long suspected: that articles written by women attract more abuse and dismissive trolling than those written by men, regardless of what the article is about.
Although the majority of our regular opinion writers are white men, we found that those who experienced the highest levels of abuse and dismissive trolling were not. The 10 regular writers who got the most abuse were eight women (four white and four non-white) and two black men. Two of the women and one of the men were gay. And of the eight women in the “top 10”, one was Muslim and one Jewish.
And the 10 regular writers who got the least abuse? All men.
The takeaway here?
Without getting too obsequious, I’d like to thank you all for providing a decent space to read and discover and debate. This is all too rare, and takes careful gardening and an engaged community.