Thursday, April 17, 2008

Issue of Responsibility

I think one of the most pertinent issues discussed during seminar today was that of responsibility. Although there is no real clear line as to where and how ethics should be applied to online communities and if those ethics should mimic those in real life (RL) I believe that the lack of them could potentially stunt the participant's personal growth. Although that's a tall claim and I don't necessarily believe that all people who live a virtual life free of responsibility will become bad people, I think that no matter what community you live or operate in there is a certain line that should never be crossed in terms of disregarding ethics or morals because once the possibility of that cross-over happens its really hard to ignore. An interesting question was asked regarding how Second Life is different from Facebook: in both you have the ability to create your own persona and interact with others in a way you might not get a chance to otherwise. I would say the difference is that on Facebook you are interacting with people who know the real you and because of that audience you feel the social pressure to take responsibility for your representations or actions. Versus what we read about in the Rape in Cyberspace article where even though the virtual rapist was "toaded" for his crimes, he was still able to come back a make a new avatar. I believe that although the appeal of absolute freedom to express yourself has a strong pull and I can understand why people participate within these communities as a form of education, I would still take the stand that sometimes you have to give up certain freedoms to be free because, as any political philosopher knows, that is what keeps us from anarchy.

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