Worldsex

If anonymity were banished today, would some company or agency compile a dossier on what each person had said or downloaded online, simply by watching? At the same time, the fears of the EFF types are still worth considering. One notable example occurred at a lunch with a few of my Net-philic buddies in San Francisco in the early s. I think the difference is that on Second Life the pseudonymous personality itself is highly valuable and requires a lot of work to create. The next layers of code built on top of that base, including Usenet, were created mostly in the countercultural climate of the s and s, and particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area, which includes Silicon Valley. In short, the CB craze was another source of the allure of instant easy anonymity. A populist outlaw culture rose up around a media technology, and that technology was CB radio.

Worldsex


I was more afraid of what ordinary folks like us were capable of than of the police. At the same time, the fears of the EFF types are still worth considering. One notable example occurred at a lunch with a few of my Net-philic buddies in San Francisco in the early s. To have a substantial exchange, you need to be fully present. Experimentation with illegal, mind-altering drugs was the rule, not the exception, in computer culture at the time. This all comes down to a question of balance: To get online in those days you usually had to have an academic, corporate, or military connection, so the Usenet population was mostly adult and educated. Before the Web, there were other types of online connections, of which Usenet was probably the most influential. The notion in the air those days was that the good, enlightened people would use digital networks to evade the bad enforcers, who answered only to an evil elite that was trying to oppress everyone else. Computers have an unfortunate tendency to present us with binary choices at every level, not just at the lowest one, where the bits are switching. All those academic, corporate, and military users belonged to large, well-structured organizations, so the hooks were immediately available to create a nonanonymous design. I think the difference is that on Second Life the pseudonymous personality itself is highly valuable and requires a lot of work to create. My mother was sent to a concentration camp when she was only a little girl by a society that went mad en masse within a remarkably short period of time. This lunch turned out to have been the founding event for an admirable organization called the Electronic Frontier Foundation EFF —and I declined to become one of the founders. Sex, Drugs, and the Internet Does anonymity breed nastiness in the online world? Anonymity certainly has a place, but that place needs to be designed carefully. If anonymity were banished today, would some company or agency compile a dossier on what each person had said or downloaded online, simply by watching? I often found myself a little out of step with my peers in those pre-Web days. In the s there was widespread discontent in the heartland with the newly imposed mile-per-hour speed limit. The idea that freedom meant protecting the privacy of bands of bad boys was not just part of the character of coastal, liberal America—it swept the whole country. But, as I have argued in my November column , anonymous groups of people should be given only specific questions to answer, questions no more complicated than voting yes or no or setting a price for a product. Truckers and those who idolized them would make up untraceable names, or handles, and warn each other about where the police were on the freeway, waiting to issue speeding tickets. Many influential engineers were also a few years older than I was, the right age to have faced the draft to fight in Vietnam. Call it drive-by anonymity. Still, that does happen, to varying degrees. Based on those data you could propose that transient anonymity coupled with a lack of consequences is what brings out online idiocy. There are many reasonable theories about what brings out the best or worst online behaviors; demographics, economics, child-rearing trends, perhaps even the average time of day of usage could very well play a role.

Worldsex


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2 thoughts on “Worldsex

  1. Vudal

    Truckers and those who idolized them would make up untraceable names, or handles, and warn each other about where the police were on the freeway, waiting to issue speeding tickets.

    Reply
  2. Meztigami

    It is widely perceived that the problem of uncivil conduct online has reached epidemic proportions.

    Reply

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