The double-edged sword of online deliberation: How evidence-based user comments both decrease and increase discussion participation intentions on social media

Schäfer, Svenja ; Müller, Philipp ; Ziegele, Marc

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-613440
Document Type: Article
Year of publication Online: 2022
The title of a journal, publication series: New Media & Society
Volume: tba
Issue number: tba
Page range: 1-26
Place of publication: London [u.a.]
Publishing house: Sage Publ.
ISSN: 1461-4448 , 1461-7315
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Humanities > Institut für Medien- u. Kommunikationswissenschaft
Pre-existing license: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Subject: 300 Social sciences, sociology, anthropology
Abstract: Deliberation theory posits that users’ willingness to participate in online comment sections should increase if the discussions are more evidence-based. However, extant empirical research does not clearly support this assumption. The current study argues that social comparison processes and the metacognitive perception of knowledge mediate the relationship between evidence in comments and participation intention in different ways. Findings from two online experiments (NStudy1 = 368; NStudy2 = 854) support this assumption: For three different topics, the results show that providing evidence in comments, as opposed to merely opinions, increases participants’ perceived knowledge by increasing their factual knowledge. At the same time, evidence in comments decreases participants’ perceived knowledge through social comparison with other commenters. Higher perceived knowledge is related to increased participation intention. In summary, the studies reveal psychological mechanisms that explain why high deliberative quality of online discussions does not necessarily stimulate further user participation.
Additional information: Online-Ressource

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