Opinion: Popular Science is wrong to get rid of online comments

Sep 30, 2013 by Marie-Claire Shanahan, The Conversation
Thanks, we don’t want to know what you have to say. Credit: lewishamdreamer

Popular Science has announced that it will be closing online comments on its news stories. Uncivil commenters have an overly negative effect on readers, it claims, with a small number of negative commenters poisoning the way readers perceive the stories. A New York Times article is used to back up the claims.

I disagree with their reasons. Of course, the site is theirs. They can do what they need and want to do with their comment sections. More worrying to me was the response of fellow science communicators that more publications should do the same.

There are two main reasons why I'd like to suggest caution. First, the evidence for the poison effect of uncivil comments isn't nearly as damning as is claimed. Second, there is a lot of potential good in comment sections and removing them sends some fairly negative messages about .

The New York Times piece was based on a study published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. The authors measured the reaction of 1183 adults who read a blog post about risks and benefits related to nanotechnology. Some received a version with civil comments and some a version with uncivil comments. The overall results though:

…did not demonstrate a significant direct relationship between exposure to incivility and risk perceptions.

This would be tough to tell from The New York Times article.

The things that did have an impact weren't too surprising. Readers who were familiar with nanotechnology and who already supported nanotechnology tended to perceive lower risks than the rest. These factors explained more of the readers' perceptions than any others, and they support decades of work that prior beliefs are one of the largest factors in how readers interpret what they read.

Digging further into their analysis, the uncivil comments seemed to slightly heighten the views that people already had, and when they divided them by religion they tended to react slightly differently to the uncivil comments. But both of these effects together explained only 1% of the differences in readers' risk assessments. Does that seem like solid evidence for publications to decide to do away with commenting all together? I don't think so.

Apart from a shaky justification, I also see a serious problem with the knee-jerk reaction to remove all comments. I'm generally in favour of strong moderating policies. Even if they don't really change people's minds about the risks of nanotechnology, uncivil comments may be undesirable for many other reasons.

A few years ago I completed a study of expertise claims in comments left in response to health stories in the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail. For the study, I gathered all of the comments posted on four health stories one week after the stories had been published. Off-topic and uncivil ones were removed, but it turned out there was a lot left. They were important and valuable comments. Extensive contributions were made by parents, patients and people with medical expertise. Questions were asked and clear thoughtful answers were often given.

There are often calls in popular science publications for people outside of traditional scientific communities to become more interested and engaged in science. Comment spaces are a viable place for that to happen.

Like any actual place of conversation, they also fall victim to domination by extreme voices and need to be well managed. Town hall meetings and public consultations are a great example. When they're good, they're fascinating and offer real insight that the panel members or politicians could never have fully appreciated without opening the floor to members of the public or a particular community. They can provide access and a voice for people to actively influence science and technology as it affects their lives and communities. At their worst they can be reactionary shout-fests of frustration for all involved. Despite these dangers, though, their benefits are usually recognised to outweigh their drawbacks.

If these online venues for scientific engagement are closed, the message becomes: "Well we didn't really mean for people to be engaged, we just want you to listen to us more." This is a return largely to outdated models of science communication where the sole purpose is to push information out to people for their ready and unquestioning uptake. If science is truly about discussion of evidence and a willingness to be open to new findings, then the public cannot be left out of that process.

But what about claims that there is a decades-long war against expertise? Well, a no commenting policy is also a no experts commenting policy. Comment spaces are also places for experts to answer questions and support or correct information presented in the article. I'm uncomfortable giving back complete control to how risks are presented in a forum where no expert has a space to disagree with what Popular Science or another venue says. What a no commenting stance says to me is that the publication doesn't need or want those contributions associated with their articles.

Overall, incivility doesn't seem to have nearly the dire effect that Popular Science seems to think it does. Comments are often frustrating (sometimes even heartbreaking) but readers are still making up their minds based on other factors. So the benefits Popular Science hopes for are unlikely to be realised. And instead of looking for better ways to manage, guide, moderate or selectively publish comments we lose all of the potential benefits for real engagement.

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antialias_physorg
4.6 / 5 (32) Sep 30, 2013
First, the evidence for the poison effect of uncivil comments isn't nearly as damning as is claimed

I dunno. I seem to remember (unless memory is playing tricks on me) a few years back that serious scientific discussion on physorg was still possible in the comments section (and anything else was stringently moderated/removed with an appropriate admonition).

Nowadays scientific discussion is (almost) absent, and the only thing that is currently happening in the comment sections is refutations of crank science trolls.

I agree that the comment section should be kept. But the moderation should be reapplied (at least to the extent of enforcement of the guidelines).
Sinister1811
3.6 / 5 (34) Sep 30, 2013
Not a bad idea. Unfortunately though the cranks and conspiracy theorists will make accusations of censorship. But after a while, enough is enough.
krundoloss
3.2 / 5 (25) Sep 30, 2013
I love adding comments to articles, but I don't think they should always be highly scientific. Sometimes others act like you are supposed to research for hours just to add a comment on a website.

It is very interesting to have, because there is almost always someone who comes along and adds some really valuable comments.

But it all comes back to the sociology of anonymity, they just want to get the last word in, by proving you wrong they are somehow right. Trolls have got to go! Attack my comment if you want, but do not attack me personally.
antialias_physorg
4.8 / 5 (26) Sep 30, 2013
Sometimes others act like you are supposed to research for hours just to add a comment on a website.

Depends on the standards of the website. Physorg used to be a site where anything but a reseached answer was frowned upon (by the moderators). If you post to 4chan then research is probably not necessary.

But if you want to have real scientific discourse then you have to demand from people that they at least try to look up stuff before posting. Otherwise you get mired in the basics (i.e. you're back to explaining to trolls/cranks why their brainfarts aren't science - and aren't adding anything valuable)

Science is just one of those things where you have to have an understanding of the basics before comments make sense. It's just not home-decorating where anyone can make a valuable comment from the get-go.
Moebius
3.3 / 5 (26) Sep 30, 2013
Considering some of the morons who inhabit this and every forum I've ever seen. I'm not surprised at all. How many jerks here have alter ego's that never comment and they use just to vote comments down on people they don't like? Considering how many there are I don't believe it's one or 2 people doing it. I'll bet people are doing that to vote their comments up on sites like Yahoo and amazon. People can be such low life scum, you will probably see others doing what PS did eventually as the morons find every chink to screw things up, just like hackers. And since the web masters of sites like this are also morons, they allow people to have user names and vote but never comment and they don't notice that every vote is a 1 to the same people all the time.
Q-Star
3.9 / 5 (22) Sep 30, 2013
Popular Science is owned by the Bonnier Corporation and it became a part of the new Cult of Scientism - a dogmatic circle jerk of intellectual bullies, who insist the only "science" that's true is their own selected brand of corporate-sponsored science. All legitimate science is excluded and attacked if it dares question the core beliefs of the Cult of Scientism. Those beliefs include some real whoppers, such as, "Corporate science is the only science that counts," and, "GMOs are safe, even without long-term testing, because we say they are." In this cult "Bad science," is anything that "has failed to convince many mainstream scientists of its truth." This, of course, is nothing more than "mob science" which isn't really science at all. If new science were only recognized once all the existing scientists were convinced of its truth, then science would never have advanced.


Are ya just mad because they kept close tabs on ya and caught each new username after just one post?
El_Nose
4.8 / 5 (20) Sep 30, 2013
I agree with ant -- when i first came to this site you could ask a question in the comments - it would get answered and people would chime in with questions and general discussion on the science of the topic. Then AGW got hot and then there was the era of Otto and the era of creationist bashing and now here we are where AWT commenters go on 5-10k word rants and everyone gets to a point of -- who cares
Mr_Science
3.2 / 5 (31) Sep 30, 2013
But if you want to have real scientific discourse then you have to demand from people that they at least try to look up stuff before posting. Otherwise you get mired in the basics (i.e. you're back to explaining to trolls/cranks why their brainfarts aren't science - and aren't adding anything valuable)

I wouldn't say that is always the case. Explaining basic science concepts to someone that is willing to learn is a valuable and worthwhile exercise. The problem comes about when the person is not willing to learn.

The desire for knowledge is what science is all about. When someone has the drive to learn is it not our responsibility as scientific literate people to educate them?
BAKOON
2.8 / 5 (29) Sep 30, 2013
When someone has the drive to learn is it not our responsibility as scientific literate people to educate them?
I would say yes, but there are exceptions.
There are a few people here that use "questions" as a shield against criticism. They will say something truly awful, and then claim it was just a question. Or they say things that are truly dumb and easily researched because they are too lazy to look the answer up in 1 of a thousand places.

I'm not saying don't answer questions. Just be aware of frequent posters' histories and take that into account when addressing them.

The problem comes about when the person is not willing to learn.
Sometimes they fake a willingness to learn in order to increase their acceptance among the community here. A genuine desire to learn should be fostered, but those that pretend should be ran out with pitchforks.
Mr_Science
2.6 / 5 (25) Sep 30, 2013
Are ya just mad because they kept close tabs on ya and caught each new username after just one post

I have read many of your comments and have come to the conclusion you are very knowledgeable in a few fields. I like to read your comments when they are relevant to the article or answers to questions from other commenters. However, this quote is off topic as many of the comments around here are. I believe this to be the failure of these types of sites like Popular Science and phys.org. The more the subject is about the article at hand the better the communication can be.
I have been reading the articles for years and I have become fed-up with the entire off topic issue. I created this account (my only account) to try and say people to stay on topic. I fear phys.org will go the way of Popular Science or simply shutdown if something isn't done soon.
Mr_Science
2.6 / 5 (22) Sep 30, 2013
Sometimes they fake a willingness to learn in order to increase their acceptance among the community here. A genuine desire to learn should be fostered, but those that pretend should be ran out with pitchforks.


I completely agree
Kiwini
1.8 / 5 (32) Sep 30, 2013
If those tasked with maintaining this website would simply follow these rules, most of the aforementioned objections would cease to exist- http://phys.org/help/comments/

Think of the bandwidth that you'll save when the nimrods using this place for their long-winded rants are made to follow the rules.

open_knows_nothing
1.5 / 5 (25) Sep 30, 2013
I think this is a non-problem. By its action, 'Popular Science' has admitted its agenda is about getting a certain message across,... rather than passively conveying science news. I suspect it has nothing to do with crank theories either, but more to do with anti-far left politics.

Everyone already knows that published scientific research is of a different standard and quality than anonymous comments on an internet science news site.

Also, these type of popular news sites generally never go into any detail at all, and so many times the comment section is actually more interesting and less superficial than the article itself.
BAKOON
2.6 / 5 (27) Sep 30, 2013
The above post is the type of politically charged crap that the moderators here need to be aware of and proactive in eliminating. The comments section is not a bad idea per se, but coupled with abysmal moderation it is ripe for abuse.

Get rid of the political trolls. The mods here used to care. They seem to have admitted defeat a long time ago.
BAKOON
2.6 / 5 (28) Sep 30, 2013
Open_knows_nothing is exactly the type of poster that needs to be eliminated. Just going by the name, it exists only to express disgust with a known rating troll "open" that should have been eliminated a while ago.

These comments sections are no place for politics and anyone who uses this site as a political platform should be shown zero tolerance.
Q-Star
3.9 / 5 (19) Sep 30, 2013
Are ya just mad because they kept close tabs on ya and caught each new username after just one post
However, this quote is off topic as many of the comments around here are.


Instead of self-appointing yourself as the "comment police", maybe ya should spend more time just taking in the comments ya like, and ignoring those which ya don't like.

But be that as it may be,,,, My comment was exactly on topic.

My comment had to do with:

1) Popular Science's comment section.

2) Popular Science's years long battle in blocking references and lengthy discourses on the AWT.

3) Popular Science's years long relationship with the poster I was addressing my comment to.

Ya, on the other hand, run about 10% commenting on topic, And 90% commenting on posters of comments. So practice what ya preach, eh?
Noumenon
1.6 / 5 (28) Sep 30, 2013
The above post is the type of politically charged crap that the moderators here need to be aware of and proactive in eliminating. The comments section is not a bad idea per se, but coupled with abysmal moderation it is ripe for abuse.

Get rid of the political trolls. The mods here used to care. They seem to have admitted defeat a long time ago.


Actually, it is your crusades of "ousting commentors" and trashing the site with adolescent posts, that is disruptive. You posting as FrankHerbert have made as many bias political posts as anyone else here, so stop being a hypocrite.

Lets assume that everyone is perfectly capable of skipping posts they don't like, and making decisions for themselves which ones to read. It's when others try to make that basic decision for you, that one should be suspicious.

BAKOON takes it upon him self to be thought police, but as indicated at my profile page, he is far from being qualified.
kochevnik
1.5 / 5 (23) Sep 30, 2013
Of course they don't want public comments. Popular Science is another CIA-owned propaganda rag.
Noumenon
1.4 / 5 (28) Sep 30, 2013
Open_knows_nothing is exactly the type of poster that needs to be eliminated. Just going by the name, it exists only to express disgust with a known rating troll "open" that should have been eliminated a while ago.


And what does "BAKOON" exist for? Open_Knows_Nothing makes very few posts compared to BAKOON.
…......

Actually, Franklins/Teech2 adds more to this site in knowldge than the thought police crusaders and rating trolls,... and it is easier to skip his AWT posts than the troll ratings.
shavera
4.1 / 5 (9) Sep 30, 2013
not to toot my own horn or anything but reddit.com/r/askscience is usually a consistently well-moderated location to ask scientific questions based on scientific articles.
TransmissionDump
5 / 5 (12) Sep 30, 2013
I'm a non-scientist, but I love coming here and reading the discussions you guys have. It doesn't take long to work out who's switched on and who's a crank. The extra information I find within your posts explain the articles further and also introduce me to laws, concepts, rules, observations, behaviours etc. which if there was no comments I would still have no idea about. I've learned quite a lot from you all and about science too.

Please don't stop.

TD
Noumenon
1.7 / 5 (29) Sep 30, 2013
The above post is the type of politically charged crap that the moderators here need to be aware of and proactive in eliminating.


But the motivation behind 'Popular Science' eliminating commenting was a political one, by their own admission when they mentioned effects upon public policy.

It is not about erroneous science related comments they're concerned about. After all, the articles presented are typically cutting edge science for which it is unreasonable to expect strictly relevant comments at a pop-science news site where very few details are supplied.

The political left ran into the same struggle in talk radio, where they tried to silence their opposition by reinstitution of the 'fairness doctrine'. They're about indoctrination and silencing opposition, not about open and free expression of points of view. This is actually quite counter to scientific principals.
BAKOON
2.2 / 5 (26) Sep 30, 2013
But the motivation behind 'Popular Science' eliminating commenting was a political one, by their own admission when they mentioned effects upon public policy.
Only in your reactionary persecution fantasy daydreams.
gmurphy
5 / 5 (13) Sep 30, 2013
I think this thread illustrates quite nicely why Popular Science ended up banning comments :P
Noumenon
1 / 5 (23) Sep 30, 2013
But the motivation behind 'Popular Science' eliminating commenting was a political one, by their own admission when they mentioned effects upon public policy.
Only in your reactionary persecution fantasy daydreams.


"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." - Popular Science on the politics of their decision.

I think this thread illustrates quite nicely why Popular Science ended up banning comments :P


You must be a masochist for having read these posts in any case. It's what I find funny about this invented issue....

You can not have been disturbed by someones posts unless you have voluntarily went through the effort of having read it.
kochevnik
3.2 / 5 (18) Sep 30, 2013
@Noumenon They're [liberals] about indoctrination and silencing opposition, not about open and free expression of points of view. This is actually quite counter to scientific principals.
You remind me of an obese woman I saw on an airplane, screaming that the fitness community was oppressing her not allowing her to occupy three seats for the price of one
SaulAlinsky
2.1 / 5 (22) Sep 30, 2013
You must be a masochist for having read these posts in any case. It's what I find funny about this invented issue....

You can not have been disturbed by someones posts unless you have voluntarily went through the effort of having read it.

Noumenon, this is different from your constant whining about rankings how? Just stick to science and quit being such a bed-wetting little girl.

Better yet, don't post and no one can give you 1's.
obama_socks
1 / 5 (22) Sep 30, 2013
There have been many times when I've made an attempt to steer the discussion back to the topic by posting a comment that was relevant to the topic of the article, in spite of a certain individual (Otto/Bakoon) who comes into a thread and posts something that is completely "off-topic", most often for the purpose of firing off some reprehensible character assassination and ad hominems...which is an attention-getter.

This individuals's goal is always to disrupt the discussion in an attempt to drive away those who take delight in discussing with and learning from science-minded others in this Physorg.

The Terms of Use are proven to be useless, for the most part, in addressing the issue of such character assassins and their sockpuppetry. I believe that Otto/bakoon's aim is to degrade the quality of Physorg as a science website, drive away the scholars, scientists and other professionals, and to transform Physorg into a haven for actual trolls, cranks and others like Otto and his ilk.
BAKOON
2.1 / 5 (22) Sep 30, 2013
The moderators have yet to delete this comment:
Their self-condemnation will prove their undoing when they die and each one's Soul is forced to remain in the body and can FEEL the agonies of being part of a rotting corpse.

The Soul of an evil person will feel all the pains of a hellish existence as it is placed in the ground in darkness that is blacker than night. It has time for reflection of its evil ways and evil thoughts, words and deeds that it had while it lived.

The evil person's Soul doesn't experience the FIRES of hell immediately. No, it has to wait a very long time until the Sun goes supernova and envelopes and draws the Earth into it.
When this happens, all evil Souls, including demons, will burn for eternity.
I say it again what it I believe to be true in spite of what preachers say.
-Obama_socks

Read more at: http://phys.org/n...html#jCp

Franklins, I will not go to the back of the bus. YOU can be silent.
obama_socks
1.2 / 5 (21) Sep 30, 2013
"They're about indoctrination and silencing opposition, not about open and free expression of points of view." -Noumenon

Precisely. There are certain elements within Physorg and within the U.S. government that employ such strategies. I suspect that Popular Science had discovered that those elements were, in fact, degrading PopSci's comment section also, and had come to the conclusion that off-topic and ad hominems were in bad form, and would only hurt their readership, and thus, their revenue. The bottom-line actually drives a publication's creativity and perseverance in an industry that is so full of competitors.

BTW...I stand by all my comments re: religious doctrine. Some may feel upset, but that is no fault of mine.

Ralp
3.8 / 5 (14) Sep 30, 2013
There is no conspiracy between physorg and the US government, lmao. You people are insane.
obama_socks
1.3 / 5 (23) Sep 30, 2013
There is no conspiracy between physorg and the US government, lmao. You people are insane.
-ralp

I never said there was a conspiracy between Physorg and the government. Try reading my post again: certain elements = employ = such strategies. Check out the words: "indoctrination" and then "silencing opposition". If you still don't comprehend the meaning after reading it 100 times, you may need a remedial reading course.
Ralp
3.8 / 5 (10) Sep 30, 2013
Why would I want to read that horrible trash twice?
kotyto
5 / 5 (8) Sep 30, 2013
A case of monkey copy cats taking after the miscreants of youtube.... they belong in the garbage bin :-)
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.9 / 5 (15) Sep 30, 2013
Friends come and go. Enemies and trolls and lazy posturers and arschkriechers and vandals and lying assholes and dimwits accumulate. Because even if they find they cant contribute meaningfully they at least enjoy the attention.

One stellar example...
I stand by all my comments re: religious doctrine The evil person's Soul doesn't experience the FIRES of hell immediately. No, it has to wait a very long time until the Sun goes supernova and envelopes and draws the Earth into it.
When this happens, all evil Souls, including demons, will burn for eternity.

http://phys.org/p...tto1923/

-oh sorry bakoon I see youve already posted that one. Lets see...
A photon is affected by gravitational forces only if those forces are strong enough to have any effect on the photon" ...............SOLAR SYSTEM SIZING: The solar system was big enough to accommodate all planets and other bodies
-Yeah theyll do.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.7 / 5 (14) Sep 30, 2013
I've made an attempt to steer the discussion back to the topic by posting a comment that was relevant to the topic of the article
-Relevant... you mean like this?
I do not understand why SETI..."[isnt looking for alien messages in extrasolar aurora emissions].....I earn over a quarter million dollars per year on the job as an Engineer
-???
reprehensible character assassination
-Your LACK of character in coming here and pretending to be an engineer or a nurse or a psychiatrist is WHY you get attacked.
This individuals's goal is always to disrupt the discussion
-What - you dont think that stuff like the following is disruptive??
in order to have absolute zero growth, NO babies are to be live births...If all the adults live to be 100 years, then it will mean that no new babies will be allowed to be born UNTIL ALL those adults have died first
-A normal troll who posts shit like this could slide. But one who pretends to be a fucking ENGINEER must FRY.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.8 / 5 (13) Sep 30, 2013
learning from science-minded others in this Physorg.
Lets see... what have we learned from obamasucks?
employed by an aerospace company in the capacity of an Engineer with many degrees... we are working on a new aerospace company project which will not be spoken about in these threads because it is "top secret... I took a few days off from NASA... they're calling me back to the station... We had no way of telling immediately what it was, although some suggested that it might be the sky-crane but, being that it was the first mission into Gale Crater, there was a lot of speculation going round. That was a good day for all... "I haven't slept very much since the approach to the planet...I'm back on duty in a couple of hours...
-It looks like we have learned that some lunatics actually believe they can lie with abandon and get away with it, just because this is the internet.
I've never been a NASA engineer
-But you are an incredible LIAR arent you?
GermanJoey
1.8 / 5 (18) Sep 30, 2013
Obama_socks is a huge dumbass and needs to be banned. The others are sort of tolerable, sometimes. Franklins should be limited to one post per hour.
Howhot
3.5 / 5 (8) Sep 30, 2013
I'm guilty. I admit it. I will sometimes toss a hot potato into the comments to tweak the noses of the global warming deniers. So many times though, it's just a backlash to what I see is a rightwing effort to deceive the public and stifle free speech on topic that are not supportive of the conservative position(s). But in politics right now, there is a take no prisoners attitude, and it is reflected in comments.

However, the comment section is one of the few locations where you do see many sides of an argument develop or be shot down. Occasionally you do see real science questions discussed and questions answered. Also, it is very entertaining sometime just to read what people have to say about a subject.

I like the anonymous comment sections. It's very real even if it can be like raw meat at times.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (14) Sep 30, 2013
Re: "Nowadays scientific discussion is (almost) absent, and the only thing that is currently happening in the comment sections is refutations of crank science trolls."

It really depends upon what one's definition of "science" is. Today, we have entire disciplines of study which feel free to completely ignore fundamental principles in science. Is a discussion about whether or not electric currents should be considered a possible inference for cosmic magnetic fields really refuting "crank science trolls"? Within the empirical sciences, the question was already settled long ago. It's only in astrophysics and cosmology where such questions are considered ludicrous. That would seem to qualify these people not as "cranks" or "trolls", but instead as critical thinkers who are discussing a controversial subject which the textbooks have simply failed to adequately address.
Q-Star
2.9 / 5 (15) Sep 30, 2013
Re: "Nowadays scientific discussion is (almost) absent, and the only thing that is currently happening in the comment sections is refutations of crank science trolls."

It really depends upon what one's definition of "science" is. Today, we have entire disciplines of study which feel free to completely ignore fundamental principles in science. Is a discussion about whether or not electric currents should be considered a possible inference for cosmic magnetic fields really refuting "crank science trolls"? Within the empirical sciences, the question was already settled long ago. It's only in astrophysics and cosmology where such questions are considered ludicrous. That would seem to qualify these people not as "cranks" or "trolls", but instead as critical thinkers who are discussing a controversial subject which the textbooks have simply failed to adequately address.


Na, ya are in the troll and crank group. To ya critical thinking means criticizing all real scientists.
Neinsense99
1.7 / 5 (15) Sep 30, 2013
Popular Science is owned by the Bonnier Corporation and it became a part of the new Cult of Scientism - a dogmatic circle jerk of intellectual bullies, who insist the only "science" that's true is their own selected brand of corporate-sponsored science. All legitimate science is excluded and attacked if it dares question the core beliefs of the Cult of Scientism. Those beliefs include some real whoppers, such as, "Corporate science is the only science that counts," and, "GMOs are safe, even without long-term testing, because we say they are." In this cult "Bad science," is anything that "has failed to convince many mainstream scientists of its truth." This, of course, is nothing more than "mob science" which isn't really science at all. If new science were only recognized once all the existing scientists were convinced of its truth, then science would never have advanced.

Your meds are in the drawer. Ignore that voice in the tea pot telling you not to take them.
Neinsense99
2.3 / 5 (16) Oct 01, 2013
If those tasked with maintaining this website would simply follow these rules, most of the aforementioned objections would cease to exist- http://phys.org/help/comments/

Think of the bandwidth that you'll save when the nimrods using this place for their long-winded rants are made to follow the rules.


Says the down-rating troll who targets myself and certain others wherever and whatever we post. Hypocrite.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (16) Oct 01, 2013
Na, ya are in the troll and crank group. To ya critical thinking means criticizing all real scientists.


Yup, frozen in fields and magnetic reconnection are hallmarks of astrophysics. And it's criticizing the cranks and pseudo's that believe this crap that goes on, there are no real scientists involved there at all.
88HUX88
5 / 5 (2) Oct 01, 2013
http://www.eurekalert.org/ you can't comment here but the news comes cleaner without the same level of spin you get here; just click on more news at the bottom of the breaking news column
Humpty
1.4 / 5 (19) Oct 01, 2013
All in brawling in the forums is both fun and informative.

Popular Science - is a wank fest.

If I am ignorant on the subject then, then reading the article and checking out the apparently more informed opinions AND the contrary or contrasting opinions... That helps me see more into the subject.

Trolling can be fun - I do heaps of it on Yourtube...

And seriously though, I have to ask myself unless a forum is 99% "You suck dicks" type comments - generally there will be good and useful things to be said.

Even commentors who attack the writers, generally DO have some really good points.

I think fighting like cats and dogs on the forums is good because it's socially enlightening, character building and you learn heaps.

Websites lacking dynamic discourse are sterile, and full of their own politically correct bullshit.

Gizmag censored my comments about their promotion of war-tech as a bad unethical thing..

People dislike contributions being censored - so few people go there now.
antialias_physorg
4.5 / 5 (8) Oct 01, 2013
I think fighting like cats and dogs on the forums is good because it's socially enlightening

...which is certainly OK on a social forum (facebook pages, 4chan or similar)

On sites like this, however, it's about the science. Science doesn't benefit from infighting on a social level. It isn't changed by poster X having an opinion on poster Y one bit. No one will be able to draw anything valuable with regard to the article from such content.

And in case this isn't clear (and it seems that to some it very much isn't): This is a comment section - not a forum. The point is to COMMENT on the article - not to provide a FORUM for your own self-expression or your unrelated ideas.
Humpty
1.4 / 5 (17) Oct 01, 2013
obamasucks - is a fucking good bullshit artist, telling a wonderful tale... LOL

I know we shared an examination table during an anal probing, on our last alien abduction.

There we met Jesus and Mr Bomb Head and all the league of Justice super alien power league team - all powered by Atlantis Tech as stolen by the Nazis on the far side of the moon.

True.

Humpty
Oct 01, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Oct 01, 2013
But if you want to have real scientific discourse then you have to demand from people that they at least try to look up stuff before posting... Science is just one of those things where you have to have an understanding of the basics before comments make sense
Well thank you aa this will look very nice on my profile page. And I suppose we should expect to see it again in forthcoming threads as well... but hopefully, not so much.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Oct 01, 2013
Well thank you aa this will look very nice on my profile page.

Why would you put it on your profile page? Do you intend to stop posting?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Oct 01, 2013
Well thank you aa this will look very nice on my profile page.

Why would you put it on your profile page? Do you intend to stop posting?
No as I feel gratified in apparently teaching at least one person here the value of research. Apparently. But I would stop I guess for money. EU (pronounced 'ew') money would be ok. Deutschmarks are only good for jewelry now. And ballast.
brt
2.8 / 5 (20) Oct 01, 2013
After looking at this particular comments section, I can say with certainty that the problem is that trolls and cranks have no idea that they are actually trolls and/or cranks. 75% of these comments are from lunatics who are the worst offenders, yet now they play the victim. It's just like politics; these people are insane.
brt
2.7 / 5 (16) Oct 01, 2013
Apparently one wrong aspect of the closure of PopSci discussions is, the orphaned trolls could find their new refuge right here.


See my point?
brt
2.3 / 5 (15) Oct 01, 2013
Na, ya are in the troll and crank group. To ya critical thinking means criticizing all real scientists.


Yup, frozen in fields and magnetic reconnection are hallmarks of astrophysics. And it's criticizing the cranks and pseudo's that believe this crap that goes on, there are no real scientists involved there at all.


and again
brt
2.1 / 5 (14) Oct 01, 2013
Re: "Nowadays scientific discussion is (almost) absent, and the only thing that is currently happening in the comment sections is refutations of crank science trolls."

It really depends upon what one's definition of "science" is. Today, we have entire disciplines of study which feel free to completely ignore fundamental principles in science. Is a discussion about whether or not electric currents should be considered a possible inference for cosmic magnetic fields really refuting "crank science trolls"? Within the empirical sciences, the question was already settled long ago. It's only in astrophysics and cosmology where such questions are considered ludicrous. That would seem to qualify these people not as "cranks" or "trolls", but instead as critical thinkers who are discussing a controversial subject which the textbooks have simply failed to adequately address.


and again
brt
2.1 / 5 (14) Oct 01, 2013
If those tasked with maintaining this website would simply follow these rules, most of the aforementioned objections would cease to exist- http://phys.org/help/comments/

Think of the bandwidth that you'll save when the nimrods using this place for their long-winded rants are made to follow the rules.



and again^120...
Humpty
1 / 5 (13) Oct 02, 2013
Ahhhhhh you see I was right.

Time to go.
Neinsense99
1.4 / 5 (11) Oct 03, 2013
Ahhhhhh you see I was right.

Time to go.

I agree, except to say it should have happened before you arrived.
beleg
2 / 5 (4) Oct 06, 2013
@AP
Your memory serves you correct. When I found what I was looking for here I did not move on.
The same train of thought and research was exciting to read and see. I understood their work.
And their comments - on the rarest of occasions when they commented here.
Which made enduring the rest worth it. And now, as you say, I dunno.
Sinister1811
1.7 / 5 (11) Oct 06, 2013
Ahhhhhh you see I was right.


Yep, thanks to all the king's men. :P
Captain Stumpy
1.3 / 5 (13) Oct 07, 2013
i came here to learn. i really love science. i admit it is a pain to sift through the Troll's postings, and i have lashed out more than once in anger. this is my fault. but i have learned quite a lot through the comment interactions, and by asking questions. Most of the PM's i have sent are still waiting to be read (or answered), so i dont usually try that anymore.

the difficult part, ESPECIALLY when learning about something, is sifting and researching the crank posts, while retaining an open mind and learning the truth. (especially with slow internet connect).

it would be nice if the moderators would get back to work, but then that may also exclude people like me trying to learn... i guess you just have to take the good with the bad.

all in all, i feel the comments are worthwhile, and needed. they provide a different perspective. I have even caught myself up-voting Bakoon and Zeph when they post something that i agree with. the changes in perspective can open a mind to new ideas.
goracle
1.5 / 5 (8) Nov 06, 2013
obamasucks - is a fucking good bullshit artist, telling a wonderful tale... LOL

I know we shared an examination table during an anal probing, on our last alien abduction.

There we met Jesus and Mr Bomb Head and all the league of Justice super alien power league team - all powered by Atlantis Tech as stolen by the Nazis on the far side of the moon.

True.


Make sure to retain the movie rights.

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