The findings of this research are entirely unsurprising, but somehow seeing the data is still shocking.
Online harassment has become one of most pressing issues within the digitally connected world. Many large online publications have stopped providing the platform to comment on their articles. Others have opted to link accounts to social media so that commenting is not anonymous.
Even on social media itself where people are easily identifiable, comments can be cruel, persecutory, and harassing. It's largely attributed to the distance created by digital interactions (as opposed to face-to-face). People act likes dicks.
The findings of the research by the Guardian are even more saddening; they show that women and minorities, who are already disenfranchised in relation to white straight guys, take the brunt of online harassment.
From the Guardian:
The dark side of Guardian comments
As part of a series on the rising global phenomenon of online harassment, the Guardian commissioned research into the 70m comments left on its site since 2006 and discovered that of the 10 most abused writers eight are women, and the two men are black. Hear from three of those writers, explore the data and help us host better conversations online
by Becky Gardiner, Mahana Mansfield, Ian Anderson, Josh Holder, Daan Louterand Monica Ulmanu
Comments allow readers to respond to an article instantly, asking questions, pointing out errors, giving new leads. At their best, comment threads are thoughtful, enlightening, funny: online communities where readers interact with journalists and others in ways that enrich the Guardian’s journalism.
But at their worst, they are something else entirely.
The Guardian was not the only news site to turn comments on, nor has it been the only one to find that some of what is written “below the line” is crude, bigoted or just vile. On all news sites where comments appear, too often things are said to journalists and other readers that would be unimaginable face to face – the Guardian is no exception.
New research into our own comment threads provides the first quantitative evidence for what female journalists have long suspected: that articles written by women attract more abuse and dismissive trolling than those written by men, regardless of what the article is about.
Read the rest here: link.