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Slate article: "The Trolls Among Us"

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by bonnie, Nov 29, 2014.

  1. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Really interesting Slate article, proposing that we should lose our anonymity on the internet.

    And then there was the female gamer who decided to deal with rude comments by contacting their moms on Facebook. (Loved this one!)

    I've long looked at this forum and recognized there are many members who behave exactly as they would in person (thank you :) ) & others who, behind the wall of anonymity, say things they'd never say if not on a forum (you know who you are).

    All in all, an interesting topic for discussion - perhaps over the holiday table.
     
  2. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    Good one, Bonnie. Thanks. Sometimes, I wonder if technology brings out many of our latent negative traits such as cowardice, aggression, misogyny and so on. One could get in serious trouble very quickly if they exhibited those in real life so, hiding behind a keyboard is an easy out. Having said that, there are always the issues of privacy and security that'd preclude the use of real names in some situations.
     
  3. Rockster

    Rockster Active Member

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    I tend to view behavior as influenced by Internet anonymity like I do the effect of alcohol on behavior: People don't act like a-holes because they were drunk, they simply more readily reveal that they are a-holes because they were drunk.
     
  4. ModelX

    ModelX Member

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    I agree that anonymity probably needs to go away for most of the Internet! I don't think that aggression and rudeness, which seem higher with anonymity, are the path we want our society to follow.
     
  5. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    I'm torn. On the side of losing anonymity ... better behavior & decrease in people making a living by commenting for a political party or business interest. Against ... well, I'd say privacy. But most people do very little to protect their privacy beyond an anonymous username. Their IP isn't masked, they use the same username on a number of forums, etc. So privacy really isn't as big of a deal as people say it is. So is it really just the perception of privacy?

    I can also tell you of some uncomfortable situations where, because I use my first name here, I've been tracked across other social media sites like facebook, by people who clearly were not doing it for friendly purposes. Had I used a different username it would probably have been enough of a barrier to prevent that from happening. But I'm also active enough in this community that people know my name anyway. So if I used a diff username, it would probably be a false perception of privacy.

    It's one of those things that has no clear black or white answer. As always, the most interesting topics lie in the gray. Can't look up the answer somewhere, what is right for one is not right for another.
     
  6. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    I think there are more good reasons than bad to allow anonymity for those who want it. The ability to speak the truth without repercussion is quite valuable to society. Yes it also allows lying without repercussion, but I think in the end the truth will always win out.
     
  7. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    It would be nice, though, if the paid commenters could be weeded out somehow. That *truth* doesn't seem to be winning out in a lot of cases.

    I'm not sure what the gain is on 'speaking truth without repercussion' is that is gained with anonymity. Most of us are comfortable speaking the truth without anonymity in real life. Why do we need it all of a sudden in electronic form? And do we really have it? Or do we just think we do? (I'd argue that we do not.)
     
  8. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    Some of us already are identity-open on this forum (Curt Renz is another who immediately comes to mind). I can vouch that being open in that regard absolutely, positively assists in maintaining a civil atmosphere in all its aspects.

    Somehow, though, it hasn't stopped my doggerel. Have to keep working on that one....
     
  9. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    Certainly there are degrees of anonymity, but unless you are a forum administrator or moderator I don't think the average person has the ability to find out a person's identity without quite a bit of legwork if one is reasonably careful. I can state that on more than one occasion I've been able to continue commenting on articles after being "banned" from certain places :cool: There are ways to hide an IP address too.
     
  10. Larry93428

    Larry93428 Member

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    I am surprised people want to hide their identity. Are their opinions so toxic?
    Also, I see people obliterate their license plate - unless it is personalized.
    Is there sense in that?
    ~Larry
     
  11. ggr

    ggr Roadster R80 537, SigS P85 29

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    Unfortunately, without (the possibility of) anonymity, there are many really bad things that can, and do, happen to society. If nothing else, the simple chilling effect on speech critical of the government is bad enough, and has been demonstrated many times. I'm active in the local ACLU, and we have a number of active first amendment cases at any given time. The framers of the US Bill of Rights obviously thought this was an extremely important right, that's why they made it number 1. I think what is needed is a recognition that paid anonymous recommendations and/or attacks are a form of spam, and regulation under something like an extended CAN-SPAM act in the US (not that that has been particularly helpful). Sorry that this is getting close to politics.

    PS. I don't consider my user name to be anonymous, it's just my initials, that go back to pre-history when I was mhtsa!ggr, and [email protected], and such things. I'm Greg Rose, and though there are many of us, you should be able to figure out which one easily enough if you want to. That said, I really believe in the need for anonymous speech on the Interwebs.
     
  12. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    I don't think anyone is arguing taking away the right to anonymity, ggr. I'm certainly not.

    But let's talk specifically about a forum like this. Should there be anonymity? This isn't someplace where people NEED anonymity to be protected. (A car forum is not some place where the ACLU would be concerned with protecting rights.) Would lack of anonymity weed out those that are paid to place certain types of messages here or have other interests at play? Would people behave differently?

    Removing anonymity is not under discussion by the forum, btw. Just an interesting thought brought on by the article and other stuff I've read recently.
     
  13. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    There are people who become obsessed with others for various reasons. I think anonymity in any forum allows rational people to avoid being harassed by the irrational. If someone is going off on me in a comment thread or forum I can choose to ignore them. If they know who I really am and get my phone number or address it could become a problem. That possibility would certainly curtail my posting activity. Of course a certain population of individuals would probably welcome that :wink:
     
  14. Pollux

    Pollux Member

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    This forum is well-moderated, so anonymity doesn't lead to significant nastiness here. IMHO, it's a good balance; people can remain anonymous if they wish, but overall discourse remains fairly civil. I suspect that the balance comes at an increased cost of moderator time and/or number of moderators. And then perhaps to the problem of, "who moderates the moderators"? :)

    Alan

     
  15. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    doug.

    - - - Updated - - -

    ... and moderator abuse, at times. Some more than others (speaking for others). I haven't gotten the worst of it.
     
  16. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    Excellent points.

    Agreed. I'm not a celebrity like Curt, but I also prefer to reveal my real name. As much as I am addicted to this forum, it is after all just a forum. If I feel that I need anonymity before I post something, then obviously the subject is simply not worth discussing in public. The world won't stop spinning just be because Larry refrained from expressing his opinion on TMC. :wink:

    Larry
     
  17. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    Anonymity makes a lot of people behave very poorly. I think this aspect of the internet is dehumanizing.

    The secondary effect of anonymity is that you can have as many personas as you want. If you offend and alienate a particular community, you can come back and start over as many times as you want.

    I would love a magic technology that allowed people to have anonymity, but also limits them to one persona so that they have to live with the consequences of everything they do and say. Anonymity protects the individual, but accountability protects society.
     
  18. Rheazombi

    Rheazombi Member

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    I feel like we're forgetting the basic premise of anonymity: privacy. Frankly, almost nobody I know even knows I have a Model S and I like to keep it that way.
     
  19. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    But the world may be missing out on hearing an unconventional but possibly enlightening viewpoint. There is a long history of persecution of "radical" ideas that are eventually proven to be true.
     
  20. tigerade

    tigerade Member

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