Skip to comments.[PopSci] Why We're Shutting Off Our Comments [Debate is bad for science] (barf)
Posted on 09/24/2013 6:37:34 PM PDT by markomalley
Comments can be bad for science. That's why, here at PopularScience.com, we're shutting them off.
It wasn't a decision we made lightly. 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.
That is not to suggest that we are the only website in the world that attracts vexing commenters. Far from it. Nor is it to suggest that all, or even close to all, of our commenters are shrill, boorish specimens of the lower internet phyla. We have many delightful, thought-provoking commenters.
But even a fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader's perception of a story, recent research suggests. In one study led by University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Dominique Brossard, 1,183 Americans read a fake blog post on nanotechnology and revealed in survey questions how they felt about the subject (are they wary of the benefits or supportive?). Then, through a randomly assigned condition, they read either epithet- and insult-laden comments ("If you don't see the benefits of using nanotechnology in these kinds of products, you're an idiot" ) or civil comments. The results, as Brossard and coauthor Dietram A. Scheufele wrote in a New York Times op-ed:
Another, similarly designed study found that even just firmly worded (but not uncivil) disagreements between commenters impacted readers' perception of science.
If you carry out those results to their logical end--commenters shape public opinion; public opinion shapes public policy; public policy shapes how and whether and what research gets funded--you start to see why we feel compelled to hit the "off" switch.
A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to "debate" on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.
There are plenty of other ways to talk back to us, and to each other: through Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, livechats, email, and more. We also plan to open the comments section on select articles that lend themselves to vigorous and intelligent discussion. We hope you'll chime in with your brightest thoughts. Don't do it for us. Do it for science.
Who wants to place a bet that this started when they started getting their asses kicked on global warming debates?
Yup that’s what I was taught in engineering school.... check popular consensus and proceed full speed ahead. /s
In other words, we don’t want to take the time or spend the money to have Moderators on our site so take your discussion somewhere else that cares.
Susie La Barre would make a good stripper name.
Q: How can you tell when one-side is losing a debate?
A: They cut off debate.
Bunch of quacks . . .
A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics.
Yep. And it's about damned time.
Case in point - the 1984 NIH Consensus Conference on Cholesterol. After decades of scientific studies that had persistently shown no relationship between saturated fat in the diet and heart disease, a carefully packed government committee, ignored the results and declared a "consensus".
And proceeded to sentence millions of americans to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc.
But it's taken 20 years for the story of how business interests manipulated the research, the grant funding, and the peer review process, to ensure that evidence exonerating healthy animal fat, and placing the blame where it belonged, on sugar, refined carbohydrates, trans fats, and industrial seed oils, never made it into the discussion.
It was so much easier to control the process, back in pre-internet days, when control of the committees and control of the media made sure that dissenting voices were never heard.
Taking that bet would be like taking pablum money from a baby. LOL
No doubt about it. Can’t have the natives outing the magazine for jumping on board the goreball worming nonsense.
Will have to qualify this saying I’ve not follow Popular Science’s position on Global Warming. If they did agree with the “man made myth”, they deserve what they get for it.
If you can’t take the heat, get outvof the kitchen.
Yup, I understand that is the new “Scientific Method”! :>)
See I spent all that money when it could have been done for so much less ;)
This is what Popular Science is reduced to?
Why Dudes Who Can’t Smell Never Get Laid
What Is the Point of the Female Orgasm?
What Our Eyes Say About Our Sexual Preferences
Man Diagnosed ‘Comatose’ For 23 Years Was Actually Conscious All Along
Will Running Barefoot Cure What Ails Us?
8 Signs That Girl You Met On The Internet Is Fake
Pales in comparison to the DDT ban, which has killed around 100 million people in the Third World; also the result of junk science.
Hmmm, Britt Hume is now saying that talk radio is bad for the GOP since it calls out pubbies who say they are “conservative”.
Leftscum shutting down facts that don’t fit their political meme?
Color me shocked. NOT!
ad virum would be a male person only.
Haven’t had anyone to practice my Latin with for forty years, and you just can’t get the newspapers in Latin out here in the boonies.
[it was facetious]
These guys obviously haven't heard of Werner Heisenberg. Certainty is the anathema of science. I stopped reading PopSci a long time ago and this just reminded me why. They've gone PC.
At one point, the consensus among Europe’s intelligentsia was that earth is flat. Until science and scientific methods showed that consensus meant nothing in science. But then, it became very important again: It’s a consensus that the science of climate change is well established.
You can add the magically disappearing hole in the ozone cured by banning R-12 Freon to that list. It was the practice run for GoReBalWarMinG!!111!!!eLeBiNtY!!!111
Uncivil comments? Or inconvenient comments?
When your positions don’t comply with 8th grade SCIENCE you grow too embarrassed to allow public ridicule.
then again, it’s the ‘indepth investigative studies’ the low info progressives are use to
Back in the 1970s, the term “Greenhouse effect” was quite popular. One issue, I believe it was Popular Science, after years of using it, had an editorial that they would NEVER use that term again. That was when they believed that a new ICE AGE was starting.
I watched their issued and sure enough, several years later the were using another term, GLOBAL WARMING!
I dunno...they've been getting their asses kicked on this subject with some regularity for the past decade.
“A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to “debate” on television.”
Ha! Everything from evolution to the origins of climate change? What else is in that “everything” spectrum? I don’t recall any politician or tv talking head debating relativity or the big bang, so I am guessing there is no “everything”. They are just mad that the public won’t swallow their very politically charged “scientific opinion” on those two topics as the gospel.
You know what? If you politicize science, then you can’t complain about science being fodder for political debate.
I didn’t know that Dick Nixon used to be a taxi driver. A well-dressed one, too.
No scientific model is ever complete.
Any science that claims to be "settled" ain't science.
But I would like to air a pet peeve. The phrase “ad hominem attack” is a degenerate form, and I would say a vulgarisation, of the original idea of an “ad hominem argument”.
“Ad hominem” means “to the man”, not “against the man”, and it originally meant an argument tailored to a particular audience. For instance, if speaking to an audience of astronomers one might include rhetorical references to stars and galaxies and other astronomical objects. Galileo actually used the term ( ad hominem ) in a sense close to this.
I think the particular meaning we have today arose because of one form of arguing “to the man” in a debate before an audience. One might try to sway the audience by ridiculing the opposing debater, suggesting that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, etc. We can suppose that this sure-fire formula would be widely practiced and become familiar to all as the “ad hominem attack”.
Hey Gang! The name of the rag is "Popular Science." It's all about what's the popular "thing" right now. I wouldn't go there for anything higher than an eighth-grade level of understanding. Which was fine back when I was in the eighth grade....
And he took fares that smoked!
I saw a movie once called “Attack of the ad hominems”.
Minivans with sunroofs! No cup holders?
Any news or information website that does not have comments in this day and age is worthless. If it doesn’t allow comments I don’t even bother reading it.
“Its a consensus that the science of climate change is well established.”
You’ll notice that certain apologists only get concerned about consensus when they can’t point to clear experimental verification.
Eventually people are going to realize that the issue with evolution is that believing in the whole of it requires you to believe G-d does not exist at all and the backlash will intensify. Einstein was not an evolutionist, Newton, if evolution had been as prominent in his time, would not have been an evolutionist, neither would Galileo or Kepler.
That's about as ad hominem as you can get.
Does PopSci want to shut Algore's pie hole?
We reserve the right to free speech.
You are free to say anything we agree with.
I’m sure you ignorant, racist, Global Warming deniers understand. :)
“Comments can be bad for science. That’s why, here at PopularScience.com, we’re shutting them off.” That reads almost like satire, but they’re serious about it. :-)
But why limit it to science? Shouldn’t those who believe they have the truth about other topics as well suppress dissent from those who they believe don’t? What a wonderful idea! (Or have we gone down that path before — both civilizations in general and science in particular?)
Maybe I’m imagining this, but doesn’t the history of science — and practically every other field of inquiry — show that the establishment has been wrong time after time, and about all kinds of things?
“Comments can be bad for science”? I feel like I’m watching a Monty Python skit. Yes, comments will include some stupid ones — many stupid ones — but the better ones should have the advantage in the arena of ideas. That’s the foundation on which free societies are based, and much of the progress of the last few centuries. If you can’t defend your ideas, Popular Science, then that’s too bad. Maybe they suck.
You know people really didn’t think the Earth was flat- that is a myth by humanists and later secularists to defame the previous generations and eras as incompetent and ignorant and along with disparaging religious people as if they were all anti-logical bufoons.