A ridiculous study conducted by a group of stupid Slovenian and British researchers has scientifically proven that the more negative a discussion thread is the more active it will be. What a load of bullshit.
Pardon my negativity; I was merely trying to stimulate conversation in today's science post. Researchers used a process called "sentiment analysis" to measure emotional content in posts on both the BBC forums and Digg, coming to the conclusion that anyone that's ever posted in an internet discussion thread was already well aware of: Hate is great.
Well not great per se, but certainly better at generating reactions than love, kindness, and unicorns. Unless they're dead unicorns.
"If you want a long chat, don't start by saying 'I love this!', at least not online," says Mike Thelwall, head of the Statistical Cybermetrics research group in Wolverhampton, UK.
I love this quote.
Not only do negative emotions promote longer comment threads, they also promote togetherness. It's something we see every day here on Kotaku. Someone speaks out against a particular game or console, and suddenly commenters start appearing out of thin air to take a side. Bonds are formed. Friends are made. I'd like to imagine there's even been the odd love connection, though I'm not sure I want that verified ever.
This internet phenomenon is really basic human behaviour amplified by the anonymity an online identity affords.
"There is evidence that group cohesiveness may be related to negative feelings about others," agrees Tom Buchanan, a psychologist at the University of Westminster in London. "Members of an online community might unite around a perceived attack on them or some aspect of their identity."
There is hope for those of you that would rather have everything happy and all the unicorns alive. Thelwall says the least negative conversations generally revolve around aging rock stars, so in order to make sure the comment section stays positive, here's Steven Tyler of Aerosmith.
Flaming drives online social networks [NewScientist]