The researchers were trying to find out what effect exposure to such rudeness had on public perceptions of nanotech risks. They found that it wasn't a good one. Rather, it polarized the audience: Those who already thought nanorisks were low tended to become more sure of themselves when exposed to name-calling, while those who thought nanorisks are high were more likely to move in their own favored direction. In other words, it appeared that pushing people's emotional buttons, through derogatory comments, made them double down on their preexisting beliefs.The study, which was in pre-publishing form, appears to have been taken offline.
I don’t want anyone to forget these questions, so I’m asking them again. Please think about them, and weigh in here. What do you make of these?John Stuart Mill, Internet Trolls, And The Principle Of Charity, Part I
•What can be done to get around the Google bottleneck – that self-reinforcing search-engine feedback loop mentioned above?
•What can we do to consistently draw attention to good science reporting?
•Do the benefits of online commenting outweigh the costs?
As Mill highlighted a person “is capable of rectifying his mistakes, by discussion and experience. Not by experience alone. There must be discussion to show that experience is to be interpreted… Very few facts are able to tell their own story, without comments to bring out their meaning.” For Mill this allowed us to step ever closer to the truth of a situation or gain ever more clarity on ideas. This was the most important goal of all rational debate and, for Mill, thoughtful discussion one of the most powerful ways to acquire it.Part II
Reading charitably does not even mean reading realistically or knowing the reader’s “true” intention, since that is largely impossible especially on a platform like the Internet. It means reading a comment, an idea, or a question in the best possible light, warranted only by two properties: (1) we are fallible and cannot know everything, no matter how certain we or our group might be; (2) many people are bad at communicating and sometimes have never encountered the ideas being presented, thus their asking questions should be viewed as if from a Martian rather than a murderer.Charity, Accuracy, And Being 'Nice' In Online Debates
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