Website comment sections are a perfect example of what makes the Internet both great and terrible at the same time. The great part is the ability of authors and readers to interact directly to debate ideas and get new perspectives.
The bad part is that comment sections rarely live up to their promise. Most comment threats end in angry shouting matches and name calling. However, researchers have just stumbled on something else wrong with Internet comments.
Surprisingly, according to statistician Emma Pierson, the majority of Internet comments seem to be from men. On sites like the New York Times and Washington Post, women comment less. Some sites estimate up to 75% of their comments come from men.
Considering just many women as men use the Internet, people are scratching their heads as to why.
Some online authors opinion that it's a whole host of social factors that discourage women from speaking up or offering opinions. They also point out that on the sites in question, more articles are written by men as well. Plus, the nastiest Internet commenters do often say very bad things about women when they comment.
A few other commenters have taken the opposite view and said that it's because Internet comments are useless and women have better things to do with their time. Women are very active on social sites like Pinterest and Facebook.
In reality it's probably a mix of the two depending on the site and the women involved. I rarely leave comments on websites because I'm too busy running my own radio show and website. If I want to comment on something I saw, I can do it here.
So, what do you think about this gender gap in online commenting? Let me know in the comments below.
Also, since we're on this topic, I have to say thank you to my readers because you're great at keeping your comments polite and informative. I'm glad to have readers who prefer debate to mudslinging. As I said above, that's a rarity on the Internet these days.