posted on Mar, 10 2008 @ 01:53 PM
Originally posted by MrPenny
Originally posted by Anonymous13
but rather about making it difficult for participants to distinguish each other in the short term, hence, e.g., dampening flame wars between specific
users (e.g., between "MrPenny" and "Anonymous13").
But that's an "effect" of the anonymity and its inherent secrecy. It makes the anonymous part more of a simple management tool, than some noble
spirit of the Internet. I don't participate there, but I'm having some difficulty imagining how anonymity can dampen flame wars.....since the
medium is text and it's the text that generates the meaning. How does a true "community" develop there?
"Difficult for participants to distinguish each other"....A mask does the same thing.
Civility, decorum, ( I know, civility and me? pshah!! ) and alert moderation does the same thing. If the results can be duplicated without strict
I need to do some more digging around.
I would welcome this. In the meantime, I will say that I am very bad at explaining with analogies, so that the most viable options are probably
either a strict formal explanation (which is almost always useless for all parties involved) or a demonstration (which is hard without actually
visiting one of the sites).
For the formal side, I would follow the example of an earlier argument in an unrelated field, and say that one of the dampening agents is that of
iterated uncertainty. In particular, as the chain of an exchange extends, any uncertainty about who the other party is will tend to decrease the
intensity of any exchange dependent on identities (e.g., personal flame wars). Hiroyuki (founder of 2channel) said it this way:
If there is a user ID attached to a user, a discussion tends to become a criticizing game. On the other hand, under the anonymous system, even
though your opinion/information is criticized, you don't know with whom to be upset. Also with a user ID, those who participate in the site for a
long time tend to have authority, and it becomes difficult for a user to disagree with them. Under a perfectly anonymous system, you can say, "it's
boring," if it is actually boring. All information is treated equally; only an accurate argument will work.
Beyond this point, unfortunately, I have to reach into the realm of analogy, which will almost certaintly be ineffective, and I would much rather have
others visit the actual sites to examine ideas for themselves than to extend the argument much further using my own ill-conceived analogies. But, to
the extent that analogy may be effective, the best to be used might perhaps be that of an immune system, where overactive moderation can lead to
sickness in the 'host' of constructive contributions; we have, in fact, observed this in our own non-anonymous forums related to project Chanology,
perhaps in part due to an influx of trolls, generally thought to be of CoS origin, and in part perhaps due to the heterogeneity of our new