Continuing the discussion from Examining "Signature in the Cell":
And finally, of some relevance to this blog:
A team of researchers at Cornel University working with the Wikimedia Foundation has come up with a digital framework for detecting when an online discussion is likely to get ugly. In a paper uploaded to the arXiv preprint server, the team describes their approach and how well their algorithm worked during testing…
To solve this problem, the researchers looked at over 1,200 online conversations on the Wikipedia Talk pages looking for linguistic cues. In this context, cues were words that suggested demeanor and level of politeness. In so doing, they found that when people used cues such as “please” and “thanks,” there was less of a chance of things getting ugly. There were also positive phrases, such as “I think” or “I believe” that suggested an attempt to keep things civil, which tended to keep things on an even keel. On the other hand, they also found less helpful cues, such as when conversations started with direct questions or the word “you.” Such cues tended to lead to degradation in civility at some point and, the researchers suggest, are often seen by a reader as hostile and contentious.
Hmm. Food for thought. I think we could all profit by taking these findings to heart (myself included).