To some, it’s just pure ego gratification when looking at their comments section on their blog or Facebook postings. But realize it’s not about you, as there’s just certain topics which just naturally generates discussion and raises controversy.
There’s also certain topics of general interest which are widely read, but the reader just doesn’t feel compelled enough to leave a comment. So for better engagement, what needs to be determined is what prompts, provokes someone enough to leave a comment.
The subject of the story along with how it’s presented, and the medium that it’s published on also has an influence. Some articles or stories may garner interest, but the readers just don’t care enough to make the effort to bother leaving feedback.
Information regarding an ongoing world catastrophe, for instance, may capture a lot of readers interests, but most just won’t feel compelled enough to express their views, as doing so takes too much work in thought.
Then there are those jaw dropping, eye opening topics which generates a lot of excitement, but there’s little diversity of opinion. For instance, whenever the local amateur sports team happens to win a game, the fans are thrilled as the victory was big, but there’s little motivation to discuss it.
Topics Which Creates Controversy
There are a certain brand of topics which have been scientifically tested to generate controversy. These topics elevate passion, and the majority will often differ in their opinions.
In these case, there’s ample room for continuing the conversation. Generally, the more controversial that the topic is, the more discussion that it will generate.
It’s regarded that controversial topics will usually affect people in different ways. First, the energy which a particularly topic creates, spurs readers to want to talk about it more.
But once a topic becomes too over the top controversial to the point of taboo, it then leads to increased discomfort in discussing it further. So any topic which is laced with extreme controversy, can lead towards difficult conversation.
The Testing Of What’s Controversial
To demonstrate what impact controversial topics have, researchers tested various degrees of topics on a large online forum over a period of time, first by rating how controversial that a particular story was.
Once the topics were graded on their scale of controversy, they then monitored the number of comments which were generated. Not surprisingly, the articles which weren’t considered that controversial, had fewer comments.
Those that were considered moderately controversial generated more comments on average. Those articles which they labelled extremely controversial had the fewest comments than those which were considered moderately controversial. So there is a middle ground, not too tame and not too extreme.
Their final observation was consistent with the belief that the highest of controversial topics created discomfort, which then makes the reader less willing to talk or comment about them out of embarrassment.
To Be Anonymous Or Not
In another study, the participants were told that their hypothetical conversations would be completely anonymous, while another group were told that they would need to disclose their identities during the conversations.
Then they were rated on how likely and open that they were, when having a conversation on a particular controversial topic. What was measured was how comfortable they would be, this based on if their identity was revealed or not.
Those who were told that their conversation would be anonymous, were more interested in engaging in the conversations where the topic were moderately controversial, more so than those topics which weren’t considered controversial, or extremely controversial.
For those who were told that they would need to reveal who they were, they were most willing to comment about completely noncontroversial topics, and less interested in topics which created controversy. This reflecting the individuals level of discomfort.
So once the topic grew more controversial and alarming in nature, people were rated as they becoming more uncomfortable regarding talking or even commenting on it.
The final test examined how the direct relationship between those they were conversing with, affected the willingness of they discussing the topic.
The study found that they were willing to talk about certain topics with a close friend or someone that they knew, when it came to highly controversial uncomfortable topics, more than the less controversial ones.
So Why Do These Studies Even Matter
Conversation and comments when it comes to controversial topics does matter. It’s found that one of the most important impacts of having a conversation which is highly topical is that it makes the conversation partners more bonded to each other following the discussion.
This occurs because once you discuss or comment on a particular topic with someone else, what you need to do is understand, respect, and then represent their point of view first, before you can actually respond to it.
What you need to do is synchronize your thought pattern with the other person, this in order to be able to talk or relate to them.
Ultimately, what these conversations will do is it helps those who may have completely different points of view, to be able to comprehend how someone else and their opinion is different from their own perspective.
What these conversations or comments can do is actually help in moderating the most extreme opinions of others.
Engaging Feedback And Conversation
If we’re wanting people to engage in conversations regarding controversial topics, then it’s important to find different ways of reducing their discomfort levels regarding the topics.
When increasing the social distance between individuals by keeping the conversations completely anonymous is one way of doing so. By promoting these types of conversations, we can then begin broader explorations of the topics which are the most polarizing, which creates better participation and understanding.