Monitoring and correcting: why women read and men comment online

Cynthia Peacock, Emily Van Duyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using a probability sample of online news commenters and comment readers from the United States, we investigate gender differences in online commenting. We focus on two distinct behaviors in these spaces: commenting and reading and the motivations behind these practices. Our results indicate that men are more likely to leave online comments, while women are more likely to read online comments and not comment. Men are more likely than women to report commenting for corrective or information giving reasons. Women are more likely than men to report reading comments in order to gauge the public’s opinions. Moreover, these patterns of behavior were not dependent on topic–both men and women were equally likely to cite these reasons on both political topics and other news stories. We consider these results in light of the ongoing influence of gender role socialization and discuss their implications for public discourse engagement and opinion expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInformation Communication and Society
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • comment sections
  • gender role socialization
  • online news
  • public opinion expression
  • spiral of silence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Library and Information Sciences


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