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!
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