Heroes

The science of why the comment section on just about anything is so awful

We're people. People have feelings. Feelings make you do things. Things that are not always the best things.

The science of why the comment section on just about anything is so awful

The comment section. It's where angry people go to express how angry they are at whatever they're commenting on.


Unfortunately, one of the side effects of anger is that it makes you dumb.

No really, it does.

Angry people tend to rely on cognitive shortcuts — easy rules of thumb — rather than on more systematic reasoning. They're also quick to blame individuals, rather than aspects of a situation, for problems. — Harvard Business Review

Anger also (surprise!) makes you mean and over-sensitive.

Even when the object of subsequent judgments bears no relation to the source of one's anger, anger increases: (1) a desire to blame individuals, (2) tendencies to overlook mitigating details before attributing blame, (3) tendencies to perceive ambiguous behavior as hostile, (4) tendencies to discount the role of uncontrollable factors when attributing causality, and (5) punitiveness in response to witnessing mistakes made by others. — European Journal of Social Psychology

And when you sprinkle a little online anonymity on top, you get something amazing awful.



Angry people being angry at each other and making each other angrier. And then they angrily tell other people how angry they are so more people can be angry with them.

This

becomes this

becomes this

and exactly zero productive discussion occurs.

Everyone is too busy

  • blaming individuals
  • overlooking mitigating details before attributing blame
  • perceiving ambiguous behavior as hostile
  • discounting the role of uncontrollable factors when attributing cause
  • and being punitive in response to mistakes made by others

just like they said in the study mentioned above.

So it's no surprise that anger is one of the most effective ways to get us to share things online.

Anger may be a particularly effective way to get people talking, but as the video shows, there are a lot more emotions that can be involved.

Some University of Pennsylvania researchers scienced it up and figured out we humans quite like feeling things. This chart from the video is based on their research and shows what motivates people to share things.

Knowing what you know now, it might be tempting to look at everything on the Internet like this:

The Internet is trying to manipulate you and that's OK. There is nothing wrong with wanting to share emotions.

Sometimes sharing emotions can make something really, really good happen.

Did you see this last year?

If so, you're in a club of over 12 million people. And you know what they did?

Upworthy didn't do that. A bunch of really emotional people did that. They felt things. They shared them. And then they helped try to make the world better by donating their own money.

So share all the feels! (But maybe share anger less loudly.)

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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Image by 5540867 from Pixabay

Figuring out what to do for a mom on Mother's Day can be a tricky thing. There's the standard flowers or candy, of course, and taking her out to a nice brunch is a fairly universal winner. But what do moms really want?

Speaking from experience—my kids range from age 12 to 20—a lot depends on the stage of motherhood. What I wanted when my kids were little is different than what I want now, and I'm sure when my kids are grown and gone I'll want something different again.

We asked our readers to share what they want for Mother's Day, and while the answers were varied, there were some common themes that emerged.

Moms of young kids want a break.

When your kids are little, motherhood is relentless. Precious and adorable, yes. Wonderful and rewarding, absolutely. But it's a LOT. And it's a lot all the fricking time.

Most moms I know would love the gift of alone time, either away at a hotel or Airbnb or in their own home with no one else around. Time alone is a priceless commodity at this stage, especially if it comes with someone else taking care of cleaning, making sure the kids are fed and safe and occupied, doing the laundry, etc.

This is especially true after more than a year of pandemic living, where we moms have spent more time than usual at home with our offspring. While in some ways that's been great, again, it's a lot.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less