From Pine View Farm

“I Trolled You So” 0

At Psychology Today Blogs, Joe Pierre reviews recent research revealing why anonymous internet comments are so wretched. A snippet (emphasis added):

(Psychologist John–ed.) Suler attributed the disinhibiting effects of online communication to several factors, most notably the ability to be anonymous (hiding our identity), invisible (not seeing nor being seen in face-to-face contact), and asynchronous (not interacting in real time). While Suler’s hypotheses were largely speculative at the time, subsequent research by Dr. Russell Haines and colleagues suggests that while anonymity does increase participation on online discourse, it does so across the board, without any specific or disproportionate benefit to shy people.2 The potential for anonymous online communication to have an “equalizing effect,” allowing shy people to speak up, was not supported in his experimental study. Instead, Haines found that anonymity “removes the accountability cues and frees members to express unpopular or socially undesirable arguments,” freeing reticent opinions as opposed to reticent people.2 In other words, the anonymity of online communication gives us the sense that it’s okay to speak our minds, sharing opinions that we’d more likely keep private – appropriately so – in face-to-face social interactions.


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