Regulation, convention and etiquette in online communities ramble

(Firstly, the topics we were to read, the online digital identity post was very common sense, but brought in a really good way. The line about being unique was very well put, and an opinion we kind of believe but never really see. Secondly, the reveal of the blogger, seems like another catfish scenario that is often publicized. It wasn’t right, but the internet has such grey areas at times in regards to these scenarios. Would it have been better etiquette to have listed the blog as fiction? Of course. But where are the rules? This brings me to the topic of discussion, something we were asked to talk about in our blogs this week.)

Online worlds are, and should be considered an extension of our own. In the same way you would respect authority, online should be no different. However, due to the anonymous (mostly)  atmosphere online, it is possibly more obviously shown how regulations have been broken. For instance, this recent article about Twitter Trolls  shows how the social media platform reflects this position I’ve highlighted. The line from the article linked above,(Bloomberg)  ‘Meanwhile, anonymity and the ability to message anyone on the site, although essential to Twitter’s nature, enable harassment.’ is exactly what I want to mention here.When people feel that they are not responsible for their actions, it can cause chaos.

Regulations online can be something as simple as listings, for example, when joining a forum. People join these for the same reasons we join in conversation in real life—to learn, to engage, or relieve boredom. You might find forums for medical students, that stops the every-day Joe-so from joining. It’s possibly elitism, (as in, you can’t sit at our table) but what would the alternative to keeping it open to everyone? (Alas, I’m becoming side trekked here),

However, regulations, convention and etiquette attempt to resemble the real life ones—some websites prevent people from writing too quickly (Youtube Live Chat for their streaming service, it allows viewers to 200 characters and a maximum of 3 submissions every 30 seconds ) others try to restrict the data change of info to a regulated list (Lucid Dreaming about a specific topic, but do allow personal talk lower down) And lastly, etiquette. As I’ve mentioned above, Twitter is notorious for lacking etiquette. It has become besieged by trolls at times, and are very lack about the consequences. This has, in turn, caused some people (famous or otherwise!) to leave the social media site. I think that analogy is a good one to use for this discussion.

People will only co-exist in a place where they feel safe (Maslow’s Theory could be brought up here, only to establish my point) and to be ‘safe’ is different for everyone. Some people might feel the internet isn’t a safe place at all, so they don’t mind people being rude, as at the end of the day, they can just ‘leave’. Others, however, use the internet for everything, communication between loved ones and friends, and exploring themselves and realizing self-actualization. To them, being ‘attacked’ or trolled on the internet could cause a tremendous negative impact on their lives.

Without order, regulations and rules, there can be a state of anarchy. Now, that doesn’t mean that we need to go so far as to censor the internet but having a sense of right and wrong can bring a stability to such a community.

The importance of rules and etiquette in society is something we have discussed as humans since time began. It’s also a cultural thing,  for instance,  you wouldn’t want to give the thumbs up abroad, etc. Having these rules makes us a functioning society. So, the question was to  ‘discus the importance of regulation, convention and etiquette in online communities.’ Hopefully I’ve established some reasons why above—it’s the reason we function as a society in ‘RL’. We are responsibile for our actions, and therefore try to act the best to negate any bad outcomes. Without consequences, we are bound to leave online and not be able to use it in the way it was intended. If someone posts about their private life in a forum in the section about lucid dreaming, then how will we continue to discuss lucid dreaming? Rules are needed, and etqiutte is what makes us able to respect one another and build relationships. (which, with Maslow again, is required.) I think it’s a no-brainer. It’s just as important as it is in real life. However, you will always have the people breaking the rules (bullies, criminals) but I find online rules in these matters are only now starting to change.

Some more reading here and here  if you are so inclined! Do comment below about how you feel on this topic—I’d love to hear any opinions. You could now break etiquette and not comment below (after me asking you to)—which would result in the finishing of this conversation. :’D (and thus my point!)

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