Turns out there’s scientific proof that conservatives are more reactionary online than liberals.
Researchers at Lafayette College exposed people to obnoxious online comments from liberals. They found that liberals tended to ignore those comments while conservatives reacted sharply. That’s not a surprise.
However, the same study found conservatives reacted even harsher to disagreeable comments from fellow conservatives.
Now, there are a few reasons to take this with a grain of salt. First, it’s only one study. There may be problems with methodology or question wording or a dozen other things. Second, this is pretty much what we liberals would like to believe, isn’t it? That should give us pause before we get too self-righteous over this. Third, the study was done using volunteers recruited via Mechanical Turk, and I’ve had some pretty uncomplimentary things to say about MT before.
Still, it’s intriguing and certainly deserves some follow-up. I presume this result is related in some way to the fact that conservatives tend to have higher in-group loyalty than liberals, but that’s just an armchair guess. Maybe further research could dig into that.