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Beyond the “Swear-Police”: A Nuanced Approach to Uncivil Discourse Online

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Digital Scholarship Centre, 6th floor

Main Library

University of Edinburgh

Edinburgh

EH8 9LJ

United Kingdom

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Dr Patricia Rossini discusses a multidimensional solution aimed at developing a better understanding of the role of incivility online.

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Beyond the “Swear-Police”: Towards a Nuanced Approach to Uncivil and Intolerant Discourse Online

Incivility is broadly seen as an innate component of social interaction online. For the past two decades, researchers interested in studying online discussions have examined the nature and causes of uncivil discourse, as well as the potential effects of these behaviors. Due to the complex nature of identifying uncivil discourse, automated approaches have often reduced it to dimensions such as profanity, vulgarity, name-calling, and cursing. These approaches have limitations, mainly because they reduce “toxicity” to the tone, and not to the function, of online discourse. Based on her research, Patricia Rossini compares the use of “off-the-shelf” solutions with a more nuanced approach to online discourse, and will discuss a multidimensional solution aimed at developing a better understanding of the role of incivility online in the context of the Twitter Conversational Health project and the Illuminating project's digital campaigns.

Patricia Rossini is an inaugural Derby Fellow in the Department of Communication and Media at the University of Liverpool. Her research in online political talk, uncivil and intolerant discourse, and misinformation has been funded by social media platforms such as WhatsApp (PI), Twitter, and Facebook (Co-PI), and by the Knight Foundation. She is also interested in online deliberation, political campaigns, and political participation. Her work has been published by Communication Research, Political Studies, Social Media+Society, the International Journal of Communication, the Journal of Information, Technology & Politics, and the Journal of Public Deliberation.

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Digital Scholarship Centre, 6th floor

Main Library

University of Edinburgh

Edinburgh

EH8 9LJ

United Kingdom

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