Thursday, February 12, 2009
A partner at a Chicago law firm has recently called to my attention that the on-line ABA Journal is increasingly playing host to "comments sections" on articles that are full of sexist and racist abuse, as well as just general unprofessional nastiness and creepiness. The editors have been shockingly stubborn about cleaning up this mess. The partner who called this to my attention reports that she and a number of colleagues are interested in supporting some empirical research into whether the abusive comments on the ABA Journal site are falling into certain (unsurprising) patterns, namely, disproportionately targetting women and minorities who are mentioned in stories. It would also be useful to measure the frequency of abusive comments and their character. If you have the pertinent expertise, and would be interested in looking into this, please e-mail me and I will put you in touch with the Chicago attorney interested in the project. She reports that she and her colleagues will be able to provide financial support for research assistance needed for this project.