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Your outraged internet comments are only making you angrier
Don't like this article? Probably best to keep it to yourself
 
Someone is always wrong on the internet. Don't let it get to you.
Someone is always wrong on the internet. Don't let it get to you. Thinkstock

Facebook, blogs, Reddit, the comments section of this very website — no corner of the internet is free from online rants.

But while venting online might feel cathartic, it could actually make you angrier in the long run, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

As any online journalist knows, there are certain people who seem to revel in anonymously venting their anger. But what beleaguered writers may not be aware of is that there are two kinds of venters, according to the study: Those who feel relaxed and calm after reading and writing online rants, and those who become sad and upset.

The study did not determine why certain people feel better after indulging in outrage, but it did find that those people eventually ended up angrier.

Not only that, but the people who felt compelled to share their rage through a series of tubes claimed that "they experienced frequent anger consequences, averaging almost one physical fight per month and more than two verbal fights per month."

So yes, your suspicions were correct, that person insulting you every day on your blog probably does have an anger management problem.

The study prompts the question: Is there any benefit to writing seething rants online?

Not really. This jibes with past studies on internet "discourse."

"At the end of it you can't possibly feel like anybody heard you," Art Markman, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, told Scientific American last year. "Having a strong emotional experience that doesn't resolve itself in any healthy way can't be a good thing."

In the end, seeking out a flesh-and-blood human being to hash out a political argument with will probably make you feel better than writing in all caps on the internet.

 
Keith Wagstaff is a staff writer at TheWeek.com covering politics and current events. He has previously written for such publications as TIME, Details, VICE, and the Village Voice.

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