[MUD-Dev] Expected value and standard deviation.

Michael Tresca talien at toast.net
Sun Jan 11 15:29:07 New Zealand Daylight Time 2004


Ola Fosheim Grøstad [mailto:olag at ifi.uio.no]

> I doubt humans are significantly different just because they
> happen to use say a computer rather than a footballfield or a
> phone. Yes,

I agree with you.  The medium alone is not what changes people.
What makes them significantly different is the level of anonymity
the communication medium provides.  You are slightly anonymous on a
football field.  You are more anonymous on the phone.  You're even
more anonymous over a game where there are no visual or audial cues
tied to what makes you, you.  The higher the anonymity, the more the
disinhibitive behavior.

> there is most likely some disinhibition in CMC, even in video
> conferences. (Although, one might ask if the users in such studies
> were thoroughly familiar with the medium.) There are a lot of
> problems with message based communication without moderation,
> especially in cultures like USENET, which I assume is what you
> have been looking at... Sure.

The necessity for moderation implies there's a problem.  That
doesn't contradict that people are more disinhibitive when they're
more anonymous, and CMC provides that more than other mediums.

> There are also problems with people being in the army or driving a
> car!  So, let's not extrapolate too heavily... when it comes to
> MUDs.

I've argued the point (as have others on this list) that driving in
a car is its own anonymity.  Can't speak for the army, other than to
say that disinhibition in other situations does not nullify the
thesis that CMC causes more disinhbition as a result of the
anonymity it provides.

If anything, CMC is altered but still relevant in MUDs.  Now we have
fabricated social cues.  Yes, they replace the normal visual/audio
cues provided in face to face conversation, but they are still
fictional.  That's a cloak of anonymity that ultimately will
encourage disinhibitive behavior.

> Fact is, one should be surprised that people act as nice as they
> do in virtual worlds rather than claiming the opposite based on a
> few mindless brats. I met more jerks in my schoolyard than I do in
> virtual worlds.

Ahem.  I never made my claim based on a "few mindless brats."

Mike "Talien" Tresca
RetroMUD Administrator
http://michael.tresca.net
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