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Living in an age of online incivility: examining the conditional indirect effects of online discussion on political flaming

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Communication scholars have examined the potential pitfalls and rewards associated with the ability to communicate in online spaces. We continue in that line of research by proposing a mediated moderated communication process model focused on what conditions lead people to engage in aggressive online communication behaviors, otherwise known as flaming. Specifically, we argue that online political discussion socializes individuals to see flaming as an acceptable behavior. This increase in perceived acceptability in turn increases intention to flame. Results demonstrate that this increase in intention to flame is greater among those with high levels of verbal aggression. To test our model, we conducted two surveys that asked students and blog users questions about their online media behaviors. Results replicate across both surveys.
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Keywords: communication studies; computer-mediated communication; flaming; politics; quantitative; survey

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Communication, University of Arizona, 1103 E. University Blvd., PO Box 210025, Tucson, AZ, 85179, USA 2: School of Journalism, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA 3: Department of Advertising & Public Relations, University of Texas, Austin, TX, USA

Publication date: November 26, 2014

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