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 And There, Lurking Among Dozens of Well-Intentioned Opinions

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Aaron
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PostSubject: And There, Lurking Among Dozens of Well-Intentioned Opinions   Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:04 am

This is a good piece about the role that anonymity plays in human behavior, specifically internet trolling.

Quote :
Where Anonymity Breeds Contempt

There you are, peacefully reading an article or watching a video on the Internet. You finish, find it thought-provoking, and scroll down to the comments section to see what other people thought. And there, lurking among dozens of well-intentioned opinions, is a troll. ...

Trolling, defined as the act of posting inflammatory, derogatory or provocative messages in public forums, is a problem as old as the Internet itself, although its roots go much farther back. Even in the fourth century B.C., Plato touched upon the subject of anonymity and morality in his parable of the ring of Gyges.

That mythical ring gave its owner the power of invisibility, and Plato observed that even a habitually just man who possessed such a ring would become a thief, knowing that he couldn’t be caught. Morality, Plato argues, comes from full disclosure; without accountability for our actions we would all behave unjustly.

This certainly seems to be true for the anonymous trolls today. ...

Some may argue that denying Internet users the ability to post anonymously is a breach of their privacy and freedom of expression. But until the age of the Internet, anonymity was a rare thing. When someone spoke in public, his audience would naturally be able to see who was talking. ...

Content providers, stop allowing anonymous comments. ... In slowly lifting the veil of anonymity, perhaps we can see the troll not as the frightening monster of lore, but as what we all really are: human.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/opinion/30zhuo.html

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Uriah



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PostSubject: Re: And There, Lurking Among Dozens of Well-Intentioned Opinions   Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:39 pm

I think some people want the Internet to be a virtual copy of IRL society. Same rules, same ettiquette, same social taboos, etc...

However, the Internet, and the culture it harbors seems to be defying that wish. In fact, Internet culture can in many ways be seen as a direct rebellion against the structures and rules of normative (IRL) society.

Trolling is a great example of that. Some trolls are simplistic (like, say, your average gamer on Xbox live), and other trolls approach the realm of Dadaism (like the famous John Titor, or most of what 4chan and Anonymous do).

For good or for bad, the Internet is different than the "real world".
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Aaron
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PostSubject: Re: And There, Lurking Among Dozens of Well-Intentioned Opinions   Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:20 am

Uriah wrote:
For good or for bad, the Internet is different than the "real world".

I don't know. It seems to me that for many of the youth the Internet and test messaging are becoming their new "real world". For instance, my niece recently just had a two year relationship with a guy in which text messaging and "facebooking" were their primary forms of communication. The two of them would sit in a room together and text back and forth to each other because they didn't know how to interact with each other otherwise.

I wonder what is going to happen from an evolutionary perspective if this sort of thing continues to happen?

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Uriah



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PostSubject: Re: And There, Lurking Among Dozens of Well-Intentioned Opinions   Mon Dec 06, 2010 7:59 pm

I understand what you're saying, and I agree. There is a perception, amongst "digital immigrants" that the culture of the Internet should be, or is, the same as the culture of traditional society, but for "digital natives" that is simply not the case. In fact, those natives may well eventually bring the cultural norms of the digital world out into the analog world. God help us when they do. Wink
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