The impact of anonymity and issue controversiality on the quality of online discussion

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The quality of online political discussion is a concern regarding the democratic potential of the internet. Although there is empirical evidence of the highs and lows in terms of the quality of online discussion, little is known about how different factors affect the discussion quality. Moreover, the effects of anonymity and issue controversiality have not been adequately addressed in previous research. Using an experimental design, the findings indicate that, contrary to expectations, anonymity does not necessarily have a negative effect on the discussion quality. Instead, issue controversiality is found to have a greater impact. Several interaction effects are found.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)37–51
JournalJournal of Information Technology and Politics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • politics
  • political discussion
  • online discussion
  • quality of discussion
  • anonymity
  • issue controversiality
  • factorial design
  • Experimental research

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