How comment trolls can influence your opinions


It's a familiar scene — a science story, published on the internet, is berated with all kinds of trollish comments. Well it turns out that, as crazy as some of those comments may seem, their tone can actually impact how readers feel about the subject of the article. That's according to new research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which found that not only can the tone of comments influence how a reader feels about a subject, but the "less civil" that tone, the bigger the impact. And that influence can actually reinforce what readers already believe. As Chris Mooney writes in Mother Jones, "it appeared that pushing people's emotional buttons, through derogatory comments, made them double down on their preexisting beliefs." Be careful what you comment.

The Verge
Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.



Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.