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One year in, Facebook’s big algorithm change has spurred an angry, Fox News-dominated — and very engaged! — News Feed » Nieman Journalism Lab
A new report from social media tracking company NewsWhip shows the effects of the turn toward “meaningful interactions”:

It has pushed up articles on divisive topics like abortion, religion, and guns;

politics rules; and

the “angry” reaction () dominates many pages, with “Fox News driving the most angry reactions of anyone, with nearly double that of anyone else.”
misinformation  platformization  polarization 
yesterday by scritic
West Coast Stat Views (on Observational Epidemiology and more): Life on 49-49
In 49-49, the Romney campaign hit a stretch of embarrassing news coverage while Obama was having, in general, a very good run. With a couple of exceptions, the stories were trivial, certainly not the sort of thing that would cause someone to jump the substantial ideological divide between the two candidates so, none of Romney's supporters shifted to Obama or to undecided. Many did, however, feel less and less like talking to pollsters. So Romney's numbers started to go down which only made his supporters more depressed and reluctant to talk about their choice.

This reluctance was already just starting to fade when the first debate came along. As Josh Marshall has explained eloquently and at great length since early in the primaries, the idea of Obama, faced with a strong attack and deprived of his teleprompter, collapsing in a debate was tremendously important and resonant to the GOP base. That belief was a major driver of the support for Gingrich, despite all his baggage; no one ever accused Newt of being reluctant to go for the throat.

It's not surprising that, after weeks of bad news and declining polls, the effect on the Republican base of getting what looked very much like the debate they'd hoped for was cathartic. Romney supporters who had been avoiding pollsters suddenly couldn't wait to take the calls. By the same token. Obama supporters who got their news from Ed Schultz and Chris Matthews really didn't want to talk right now.

The polls shifted in Romney's favor even though, had the election been held the week after the debate, the result would have been the same as it would have been had the election been held two weeks before -- 49% to 49%. All of the changes in the polls had come from core voters on both sides. The voters who might have been persuaded weren't that interested in the emotional aspect of the conventions and the debates and were already familiar with the substantive issues both events raised.

polarization  Teaching 
2 days ago by scritic
Wikipedia and the Wisdom of Polarized Crowds - Issue 70: Variables - Nautilus
Teplitskiy: One lesson that our work raises is around branding or creating a culture and letting people know about it, and letting it be the mechanics of how you organize a platform. One interesting thing about Wikipedia is it’s got a very strong culture. If you want to play in the sandbox, you should be ready to back up your claims, cite your sources, cite sources that are reasonable, listen to others. That clearly discourages some people from joining, people who are not willing to play by reasonable rules. They do more filtering up front on who can play, not in a heavy handed way, but more by signaling their culture strongly, and people who don’t like it don’t stick around.
polarization  misinformation 
2 days ago by scritic
Notes on Peterson, Shapiro, Facts, Feelings — Crooked Timber
The discussion concerns, so to speak, the status of certain feelings. You have a feeling that a certain image of positive masculinity (paternalistic, dominant) is valid, exemplary, normatively binding.

So: what is the status of this feeling?

Peterson speculates, on the basis of evolutionary psychology, that: facts care about his feeling. Shapiro backs him up by arguing that Aquinas and Leibniz concur. There has to be a reason why things are as they are, including our feelings about positive masculinity. There must be something underlying it! (My feeling can’t be resting on nothing. That would imply I am like a snowflake, liable to melt. Abzu forbid!)

Note: this is only masculine feelings. Facts care about guyfeelings. It’s a priori!

To be fair, Peterson doesn’t claim certainty. But, to be fairer: the whole thing seems so transparently Just-So-Story-ish wishful and (to spin it in the most charitable way) wildly indulgent in rank speculation. (And Leibniz!) The conspicuously uncritical quality of it, especially in light of Shapiro’s famous catch-phrase?
9 days ago by scritic
The wisdom of polarized crowds | Nature Human Behaviour

As political polarization in the United States continues to rise1,2,3, the question of whether polarized individuals can fruitfully cooperate becomes pressing. Although diverse perspectives typically lead to superior team performance on complex tasks4,5, strong political perspectives have been associated with conflict, misinformation and a reluctance to engage with people and ideas beyond one’s echo chamber6,7,8. Here, we explore the effect of ideological composition on team performance by analysing millions of edits to Wikipedia’s political, social issues and science articles. We measure editors’ online ideological preferences by how much they contribute to conservative versus liberal articles. Editor surveys suggest that online contributions associate with offline political party affiliation and ideological self-identity. Our analysis reveals that polarized teams consisting of a balanced set of ideologically diverse editors produce articles of a higher quality than homogeneous teams. The effect is most clearly seen in Wikipedia’s political articles, but also in social issues and even science articles. Analysis of article ‘talk pages’ reveals that ideologically polarized teams engage in longer, more constructive, competitive and substantively focused but linguistically diverse debates than teams of ideological moderates. More intense use of Wikipedia policies by ideologically diverse teams suggests institutional design principles to help unleash the power of polarization
polarization  research  platformization 
13 days ago by scritic
Rumors of the 'Nonreplication' of the 'Motivated Numeracy Effect' Are Greatly Exaggerated by Dan M. Kahan, Ellen Peters :: SSRN
Abstract This paper does three things. First, it describes the design defects (principally, the lack of statistical power) that make it misleading for Ballarini & Sloman (2017) to claim that they “failed to replicate” the results of Kahan, Peters et al. (2017). Second, it presents the positive results of our own replication study. Finally, we conclude with a brief discussion of why confining assertions of non-replication to studies that satisfy emerging replication protocols—in particular the imperative of “faithful recreation of a study with high statistical power” (Brandt, Ijzerman et al 2014, p. 217)—is essential to the contribution such studies can make as building blocks of a cumulative science. Keywords: replication, gun control, risk perception, science communication Suggested Citation:
polarization  Motivatedreasoning 
14 days ago by scritic
Why are urban and rural areas so politically divided? - The Washington Post
where urban-rural divides are important. In France, for example, “yellow vest” protesters claim that President Emmanuel Macron’s policies favor wealthy urbanites at the expense of poorer rural residents. In Britain, urban dwellers tend to oppose Brexit and want a connection to the European Union, while small-town and rural residents tend to favor leaving the E.U.

In general, the core supporters of right-wing populist political parties across Europe are in more rural areas, where they feel left behind the globalized economy and alienated from the multiculturalism of European capitals
14 days ago by scritic
Opinion | The Oppression of the Supermajority - The New York Times
This is almost entirely wrong-headed and puts all the blame on "Congress" which is beholden to "industry" and therefore is thwarting the "will of the people." Really, Tim Wu, couldn't you have gone and read up stuff on polarization a little more?
14 days ago by scritic
A Clinton-era centrist Democrat explains why it’s time to give democratic socialists a chance
Compare this with extra Klein's interview with Jason Farman on NMT. Farman still says we should pay for Medicare for all. But his arguments in the podcast were all political just like delongs are here.
polarization  toblog 
15 days ago by scritic
The new reactionaries
Nice piece to use to show that research is not predictive of political prescriptions.
20 days ago by scritic
America’s Crowded Statehouses: Measuring and Explaining Lobbying in the U.S. States - James Strickland, 2019
Across the United States over time, numbers of registered interest groups have continued to increase, but these populations mask the total amount of lobbying that is occurring within America’s statehouses. Among registered interests, average numbers of hired lobbyists have increased markedly since the late 1980s. This study both quantifies this increase and identifies a set of causal variables. Previous studies have proposed a variety of short-term, political and long-term, institutional factors that govern rates of lobbying. Using a new data set spanning multiple decades, I find that changes in lobbying can largely be ascribed to institutional variables, including the implementation of term limits and regulations on lobbying. Lobby regulations, one-party dominance, and legislative expenditures also appear to play a role in determining rates of multiclient lobbying. Direct democracy and state spending do not affect the hiring of lobbyists by registered interest groups.
23 days ago by scritic

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