(London Guardian) Popular Science is closing comments on its articles. Citing “trolls and spambots”, the 141-year-old American magazine has decided that an open forum at the bottom of articles “can be bad for science”.

The decision was “not made lightly” said online content director Suzanne LaBarre – nor, appropriately, without some supporting scientific evidence. Citing research from a study by University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Dominique Brossard, the magazine argues that exposure to bad comments can skew a reader’s opinion of the post itself.

“Simply including an ad hominem attack in a reader comment was enough to make study participants think the downside of the reported technology was greater than they’d previously thought,” Brossard wrote in the New York Times.

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