Will New Scientist be next?
At New Scientist, a social media researcher comments on Popular Science’s new policy of not allowing comments:
The editors of Popular Science therefore deserve credit for doing what few others have managed: start a long overdue debate among scientists, media and audiences about how we communicate science in this new environment. Online debates – including the comment sections – need to be both heterogeneous in terms of the viewpoints they represent and civil in terms of the exchanges they produce.
Social science tells us that disagreement among citizens can ultimately produce good outcomes. But modern societies also need to learn how to express disagreement without the substance of the debate being drowned out by yelling and screaming – especially in science. Until we get to that point, Popular Science might just have made the right decision in putting a hold on online commenting and giving all of us a chance to debate this issue a bit more carefully.
Excuse me but shutting down the yelling and screaming is fairly easy to do without shutting down comments.
Here at Uncommon Descent, we have a recipe that works: Just boot trolls. Suddenly the decibel level collapses from sonic boom to book club.
Also: “Social science tells us that disagreement among citizens can ultimately produce good outcomes.”
This researcher’s perspective is very badly off base. Society is not a therapy group. In the United States, “disagreement among citizens” is called the First Amendment. It’s their right. They’re responsible for their own life outcomes.
It’s disturbing that science media feel threatened by that. Wonder if there is more to it … ?