Comment: In awe of the irony

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In awe of the irony

"The Web, it should be said, is still a marvelous place for public debate. But when it comes to reading and understanding news stories online — like this one, for example — the medium can have a surprisingly potent effect on the message. Comments from some readers, our research shows, can significantly distort what other readers think was reported in the first place."

And by distort, they actually mean present the other side of the argument I'm sure.

I wonder if the authors realize that their entire article is nothing more than a comment on a study, the only difference being that their comment happens to be sponsored and promoted by NYT? Yes, the article's authors performed the study, but the vast majority of the article (and a good bit of the study as well), is commentary.

For the record, I just read the paper, and the study resulted in a pretty weak correlation at best (R^2 =17%). Only 2 of the 4 original hypotheses were proven even using the weak correlation, and the "polarization effect" was not even one of the original hypotheses. After discovering this "polarization effect", they went on conjecture why they thought it occurred (not once did they attribute it to the fact that the blog was neutral, and that strongly opinionated comments could possibly win people over to their own view). They didn't even publish the blog article or comments, so I can't comment much more on that.