A new study published in PLOS One shows that guys who harass women online are seriously (and quite literally) losers, the Washington Post reports. This tends to be especially true in online settings that are populated mostly with men.
Researchers studied 163 games of Halo 3 (a team-based shooter that was an incredibly popular video game back in 2007). Researchers found that men were generally nice to each other regardless of their skill level or if their team was winning. Better overall male players were nicer to female players too. However, players who would make mean-spirited comments toward women or called them names tended to be the worst at the game. They were, quite literally, losers.
Although researchers studied a game about shooting each other in the face, they said the game is very similar to the Internet as a whole: players are anonymous, there are enough players that the likelihood of you seeing someone you’re mean to is virtually nonexistent, and the player base is mostly men. Michael Kasumovic, one of the lead researchers on the study, thinks it’s because guys are defending what they see as male culture. It’s why you’re more likely to see this behavior on Reddit than Facebook, where the male-to-female ratio isn’t as skewed.