Title

Is Civility Contagious? Examining the Impact of Modeling in Online Political Discussions

Abstract

This study examines a way to promote civility in online political discussions through modeling discursive cues. An online experiment (N = 321) was conducted to investigate the impact of civil and uncivil discursive cues on participants’ mode of discussion. Results show that participants who were exposed to civil cues were more likely to engage in civil discourse themselves, stay on-topic, and offer additional perspectives in their comments. We also found that metacommunication (i.e., talking about the tone of discussion) engendered more metacommunication. This study illustrates the impact of modeling discursive cues and illuminates the possibility that participants in online discussion can improve their discursive environment.

Department(s)

Communication

Document Type

Article

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305118793404

Rights Information

© 2018 The authors. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial 4.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).

Keywords

civility, metacommunication, modeling, online discussion, political discussion

Publication Date

7-1-2018

Journal Title

Social Media and Society

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