By now the centrality of mutual respect in deliberative theory and practice must be clear. Both as a requirement and a desirable outcome, respect lies in the heart of public deliberation. There is, nonetheless, extensive controversy about the definition of respect and its implications. Warren and Steiner discuss the tricky moral challenge of defining whether some disrespectful discourses are inacceptable in public debate.
Steiner diverges from Habermas , according to whom the deliberative procedure remains in charge of filtering unacceptable arguments. Steiner, however, claims that a number of discourses and ways of expression do not deserve deliberative engagement.
For him, "some arguments are so distasteful that they should not be addressed at all" Steiner In current research on deliberative democracy, some scholars have sought to further specify the meaning of respect by establishing some internal distinctions. Gastil , for instance, has tried to define what respect for other participants can mean when one looks at different venues or moments of discussion. In everyday conversations, respect demands the acknowledgement of others' experiences and perspectives.
In the media, it requires giving sources the benefit of the doubt. In electoral campaigns, respect calls for reasonable and less antagonistic debate. In political institutions, it demands decorum and substantive not personal criticism, as well a celebration of diversity.
In groups, it depends on trust in fellow citizens. Steenbergen et al. These dimensions are operationalized in the DQI Discourse Quality Index , which codes respect toward groups, toward positions and toward counterarguments, following a scale that ranges from no respect to explicit respect. In the revised version of the method the DQI 2. Such refined and nuanced interpretations of the category of respect are particularly helpful when one investigates discursive arenas that are particularly marked by disrespect.
This is the case, for instance, with some online environments traditionally characterized by low levels of respect, such as news comment sections and YouTube conversations, which are analyzed in this article. Other studies also use disrespect as an important variable for the comprehension of discursive exchanges. In the cases investigated in this article, this type of situation is recurrent, as one can simultaneously mobilize religious membership, for instance, to attack LGBT groups.
It is also important to mention the existence of studies that seek to understand how personal narratives can mediate disrespectful discursive struggles. According to Black , story telling contributes to shifts in discursive frames marked by misunderstandings. Deliberative scholars who study online arenas have also sought to discuss the potential relationship between anonymity and disrespect. Janssen and Kies point out that while some scholars are enthusiastic about the effect of anonymity in freeing participants to express their unfettered views, other scholars fear the consequences that follow from the absence of responsibility and commitment that results from the lack of identification in online arenas.
Scholars working more generally in the field of online politics as opposed to online deliberation have also made a considerable effort to comprehend the presence of disrespect in conversations. Gervais' research focuses on the relationship between incivility in discursive exchanges and the media.
Based on quantitative empirical work, the author claims that the exposition to uncivil media content fosters uncivil behavior in other discursive arenas. Papacharissi offers a very interesting contribution to this agenda, when she distinguishes impolite comments from uncivil ones. The former disregard rules of etiquette and courtesy, while the latter involve attacks on beliefs, rights and opinions, making them a greater danger to democratic life.
Democracy is not possible without disagreement, and, according to Papacharissi , rude comments cannot be considered to be inherently bad for discussion. For her, an uncivil but polite comment is much more dangerous than an impolite but civil one. In the broader fi eld of political communication, Schudson has a strong argument against idealized forms of conversation in democratic theory.
He claims that political conversations are eminently conflictive and asymmetrical. Democratic conversation that aims at solving problems is characterized by its public nature, exposing citizens to different viewpoints. It is uncomfortable, often impolite and unfriendly. Yet according to him, it is important to acknowledge the tension between the many principles usually mobilized to define a democratic conversation. Aligned with these concerns, we understand that rude sentences are not a priori damaging to democracy.
In this sense, some forms of disrespect may even promote discussion, public reflection and the emergence of new and more complex solutions to collective problems. Obviously, this does not mean we are transforming disrespect into a democratic value. After all, Steiner is right in stating that some forms and levels of disrespect are antithetical deliberative democracy.
As a matter of fact, the borders between civility and politeness do not seem so clear and definitive in democratic terms as Papacharissi seems to imply. Rudeness is not only a matter of etiquette, and may, in specific circumstances, hinder deliberation Steiner And, as Bohman and Richardson realize "sometimes, indeed, the pursuit of justice requires engaging with others uncivilly. In order to investigate expressions of disrespect in online discussions, we selected a controversial issue in contemporary Brazil, namely LGBT rights.
Heated debates have been triggered by a bill seeking to criminalize homophobia, and by a judicial decision prohibiting notary offices from refusing to marry gays and lesbians. In , the discussions became particularly strong, when a Christian pastor named Marco Feliciano was elected to the presidency of the Human Rights Commission in the National Congress. His conservative positions incited a public response from LGBT activists, pervading the massive demonstrations in June As a result, Feliciano became a permanent target of LGBT activists, but also received strong support from some religious demonstrators.
The present movement first emerged toward the end of the 's, as part of an important cycle of protests in Brazil. According to Facchini , several voices emerged in defense of civil rights amid the context of the country's re-democratization, including the "homosexual movement," as it was then called. Recognition of marriage equality was achieved in , when the Supreme Court recognized that same-sex are entitled to the same marriage rights extended to heterosexual couples. Discussions around this topic have been highly controversial and often disrespectful.
For this reason, we selected the issue to conduct our analysis. The database is formed by comments published in news portals and YouTube videos. The reason for selecting these two platforms is that they are often seen as the most disrespectful ones. Comments in news portals and under YouTube videos are rarely considered as contributions to deliberative processes because these "wild arenas," to use Davies and Gangadharan's 11 expression, lack important elements that are necessary in order to foster deliberative exchanges.
In the case of news websites, we initially examined comments from the five most accessed Brazilian news portals, according to Alexa's ranking 4 : uol. We narrowed our focus to stories about LGBT rights that were published during the week of 12 to 18 May , during which time the National Justice Council formally declared that public notaries could not deny the right of civil marriage to homosexuals.
Our sample consists of the two articles that received the most comments: one published by G1, and another by Terra. We restricted our focus to the first 5 comments from each article, for a combined sample consisting of comments from news websites. Following the same logic, we selected the three YouTube videos on the same subject that were among the most viewed as measured by the built-in view counting tool : one favorable to LGBT rights, one opposed, and a third relatively neutral video. Chronologically, the first comments responding to each video are included in the sample, for a total of comments from the video-sharing platform.
After data collection, we coded each comment according to 41 variables, guided by deliberative ideals and strongly influenced by the procedures adopted by Wales et al. The coding scheme sought to assess several factors, including: inclusiveness, reason-giving, reciprocity, respect and orientation to the common good. Three trained coders worked under the close supervision of the research coordinator.
After the initial coding, the entire database was revised and discussed by the two authors of this article and the three coders. All questions, doubts and ambiguities were discussed amongst the larger group, resulting in updates in the database. During the coding process, comments that had been repeated and those that were later deleted probably by the users themselves and were no longer accessible were removed from the sample.
For this reason, the coded database contains 1, comments instead of 1, A further filter was then applied to remove posts that were not related to the topic of interest e. LGBT rights. Table 1 shows the distribution of relevant and off-topic comments in each of the discursive spheres investigated. Table 1: Distribution of comments in the investigated discursive sphere per focus on and off topic , We therefore worked with a sample of 1, comments in order to assess the presence of disrespect in online debates. For the assessment of this category, we have adopted a coding scheme that borrows elements from the DQI and from Papacharissi's distinction, as well as from the procedures suggested by Wales and her contributors We focused on coding explicit manifestations of disrespect, instead of trying to measure implicit and explicit forms of respect Wales et al.
A distinction was made between 1 disrespect toward groups and 2 disrespect toward arguments and participants of the forum. The former involves several types of stigmatization, humiliation and exclusion, thus clustering most of the uncivil posts. The latter includes rude behavior against other participants and their arguments. We are also aware that disrespect is a contextual variable Steiner We faced several dilemmas during the coding process. Our way to deal with these dilemmas was to discuss each doubt extensively in order to seek coherence.
We also believe that, in acknowledging this, we are attempting to deal with the limits of our own analysis. Based on our coding of disrespect, in this article, we sought to answer three main questions: 1 Might greater levels of reciprocity stimulate an increase in the levels of disrespect? In order to address these questions we will first present some descriptive statistics and correlations between our categorical variables. We then estimate a multivariate logistic regression model.
Analyzing 1, comments in two discursive arenas often seen as aggressive, we found out that A comparison of frequencies shows that comments in YouTube The data reveals that disrespect toward groups and non-participants of the forum When the platforms are compared, it is possible to notice that disrespect against groups and non-participants is slightly higher in news websites Table 2. Table 2: Frequency of disrespect in on topic comments in both arenas investigated, Using these two forms of disrespect as our dependent variables, we can now move to some correlations in the pursuit of answers to the three abovementioned questions.
In order to examine if reciprocity may fuel disrespect among participants, we tested the correlation between these two variables. It is important to explain here that reciprocity was coded in two main ways. First, explicit reciprocity was measured by overt reference to other participants of the forum or by the use of "comment reply" tools, that allowed direct responses within a platform. Second, we considered cases of clear reciprocity, through the use of specific words, expressions and markers, without explicit reference to another participant.
It is worth highlighting that we acknowledge this is a very restrictive way to measure reciprocity. For the type of analysis conducted in this article, however, we needed a more direct and straightforward category that could be quantitatively measured.
When we discuss reciprocity in this article, therefore, we are talking about a restricted type of direct interaction that does not exhaust the notion advocated by several deliberative democrats. Despite adopting this restrictive notion, we found Most of them YouTube presented the greatest frequency of comments coded as reciprocal We did not find a positive variation between the presence of reciprocity and disrespect in either of the analyzed spaces.
There is no dependence between the two variables, when disrespect is analyzed in an aggregate way. However, when we split the types of disrespect, it is possible to glimpse some correlations. The Chi-square test suggests a relationship between Disrespect 1 i. Such correlation also occurs in separate spaces, reaching Table 3: Distribution of Disrespect 1 and reciprocity in the debate in both arenas, This correlation also emerges once we split the manifestations of reciprocity and consider only the explicit type.
Disrespect 1 varies in the same direction as explicit reciprocity That number was comparable for YouTube Comments that show disrespect toward groups and toward non-participants present an interesting pattern. Although Table 4: Distribution of Disrespect 2 and reciprocity in both arenas, This pattern is also reproduced when we deal exclusively with explicit reciprocity. The percentage of posts that are disrespectful and reciprocal The data is interesting because it suggests a positive relation between Disrespect 1 toward arguments and participants from the forum and reciprocity, and between Disrespect 2 and reciprocity.
This suggests that rude comments tend to be more reciprocal than uncivil ones. As we noted however, the number of comments with Disrespect 2 was far greater than the number of comments with Disrespect 1 , which sheds light on the lack of an observed positive variation between the presence of reciprocity and disrespect as such in either of the analyzed spaces.
The second question raised by this paper regards the role of anonymity in fueling disrespect. Because we are investigating online interactions we could be certain whether participants were revealing their actual names or using pseudonyms and fake identities. As a way to deal with this problem, we considered that the participants who use pseudonyms that are not personal names, and whose gender cannot be inferred, are probably willing to hide marks of their identities.
When someone identifies oneself as "V. Vendeta", as "Hanavi Arjxxi" or as "Capivara arredia" for instance, they identify themselves with expressions that do not reveal a name. Despite being problematic, this way to deal with the issue at least allows us to glimpse the question of anonymity. In our database, There is weak correlation between disrespect and the absence of identification.
In the messages written by persons with pseudonyms, Table 5: Distribution of disrespect per proxy of identification in both arenas, Therefore, the provisions of such contracts in general, in the case of a company change directly affect the continuation of compliance with such contracts, changes in the party before the transfer of their rights and obligations of such contract, to obtain the consent or approval Nike Presto On Feet Women of the other party, When another couple or change of control allows the termination of the contract..
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