The Psychology of Online Comments

From the article: 

Anonymous forums can also be remarkably self-regulating: we tend to discount anonymous or pseudonymous comments to a much larger degree than commentary from other, more easily identifiable sources. In a 2012 study of anonymity in computer interactions, researchers found that, while anonymous comments were more likely to be contrarian and extreme than non-anonymous ones, they were also far less likely to change a subject’s opinion on an ethical issue, echoing earlier results from the University of Arizona. In fact, as the Stanford computer scientist Michael Bernstein found when he analyzed the /b/ board of 4chan, an online discussion forum that has been referred to as the Internet’s “rude, raunchy underbelly” and where over ninety per cent of posts are wholly anonymous, mechanisms spontaneously emerged to monitor user interactions and establish a commenter’s status as more or less influential—and credible.

No doubt that being contrarian comes easier when we are ''anonymous.''  According to the article, anonymous comments are less likely to change someone's mind over an ethical issue (than if you're discussing the issue in person) and face to face interactions are far more emotionally rewarding, than online discussions. I can see that. 

Even after foreign state manipulation of social media (Russia, Iran, etc)... I still find it diverting that ordinary, non-spamming J. Q. Citizen actually gets online with the intent to "change minds" (with respect to individuals in the mass public s/he doesn't literally know, and those who aren't malleable youth). Occasionally there probably is a receptive rarity ("I've never been exposed to such unadulterated _X_ way of thinking or propaganda in my life!" or some feral offspring of wilderness isolation). But the rest: After a few stages, one should be able to recognize the wall of futility even if one had such an intent.
And that's why I never look to change anyone's mind. And CC's sense of futility is why she doesn't really engage.
This came up in the RC thread, but I see CC “engaging” quite often. Engaging doesn’t have to mean debating, is that what you mean?

As an aside, I posted this same thread topic on SF and a member there copied and pasted the link to the RC thread, there. (The member gave you a shout out, Syne) Apparently, they see you as a victim of the ''bullies'' of Sci-Village.

It goes to show, that internet strangers form opinions of one another, with little information to go on, except for responses to various threads. They build an idea of other members in their minds, and for some, it can become a pseudo-reality.
CC only engages with those who agree with her. Hence her sense of futility in changing minds or even receptiveness.

I found that thread, and CC is right. I'm no victim, no matter how strangers online may treat me. I never feel kicked around or bullied, which just goes to show how subjective those have become. Bullying use to be objective, physical abuse or violence, and insults were only teasing, good-natured or not. So strange that people could once stand up to actual, physical bullying, but now they can't even handle a few insults. Sad really.
Is it possible that the Internet is more real than reality for some/many people? Webbed feet, webbed hands, webbed brains. I can imagine that for people trapped in a hospital bed (or cell) the Internet would become the place where they live. Even for the mobile the web may be more interesting than their own lives. Add the possibility of addiction to something that offers stimulation and I can see the possibility that being attacked on the Internet could (for some) be more serious than a physical attack in the 'real' world. Those of us who didn't grow up with the Internet and 'social networking' could easily underestimate or miss completely the impact of it on young people.
Good points, confused. Upon becoming active again on SF, I remember learning that Billy (mod) had passed away. It really took me aback. Even now, when seeing his ''jokes'' thread or running across his name in a random thread, I miss his presence on that forum. He was so kind, and it just goes to show, that not all online interactions are merely words on a screen.

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