commentHope for democratic participation. Pits of partisan incivility. Perceptions of online news comment sections run the gamut.

Optimistically, online comment sections offer a forum for gathering and sharing diverse opinions. Yet commenters presenting carefully researched arguments can run up against angry individuals railing against the government, the news media and fellow commenters.

News comment sections – while hopeful representations of what democratic representation could be — can turn into uncivil hotbeds of distortion, attack and vulgarity.

We’re interested in researching ways to reduce incivility in comment sections. We hope that our results will provide real-world guidance for newsrooms.

Journalist Involvement in Comment Sections: What happens when journalists take a more active role in comment sections?

Civil Discourse in Online Spaces : We partnered with the National Institute for Civil Discourse to see how we can promote more civil online engagement.

Background & Facts Prior to Comments: People are more willing to get involved in comments when they’re provided with background information containing pro- con arguments.

New Approaches to Comment Moderation: How one researcher spent three months trying new ways to code for incivility in comment sections.

Restructuring Comment Sections: We compared a traditional one-column comment section to a three-column section. Our research found benefits and limits to using a three-column structure.