nasty effect
n. The polarization of opinions on a particular topic caused by exposure to uncivil commentary about that topic.

Example Citations:
Science magazine reported on the effects of nasty comments about science stories online: Not only do they fail to improve debate, they also make people stupider. The “nasty effect,” as the researchers call it, has a polarizing effect in that readers react by becoming more entrenched in their previous opinions, whether positive or negative.
—Stephen Marche, “There Are No Saints Online,” Esquire, May 1, 2013

But the nasty effect isn’t new, or unique to the Internet. Psychologists have long worried about the difference between face-to-face communication and more removed ways of talking—the letter, the telegraph, the phone. Without the traditional trappings of personal communication, like non-verbal cues, context, and tone, comments can become overly impersonal and cold.
—Maria Konnikova, “The Psychology of Online Comments,” The New Yorker, October 24, 2013

Earliest Citation:
Uncivil discourse is a growing concern in American rhetoric, and this trend has expanded beyond traditional media to online sources, such as audience comments. Using an experiment given to a sample representative of the U.S. population, we examine the effects online incivility on perceptions toward a particular issue—namely, an emerging technology, nanotechnology.
—Ashley A. Anderson, et al., “The ‘Nasty Effect:’ Online Incivility and Risk Perceptions of Emerging Technologies”, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, February 19, 2013

Notes:

Related Words:

Categories: