[MUD-Dev] Expected value and standard deviation.

Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no> Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no>
Wed Jan 14 09:50:43 New Zealand Daylight Time 2004

"Michael Tresca" <talien at toast.net> writes:

> 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.

Yes, there is problems, but async messagebased communication has
more peculiar problems which may put the user in a defensive mood:

  - permanent written record makes "thinking aloud" and
  socialisation risky (is he chatting or is this a formal
  representation of his philosophy?)

  - a user is more likely to write long sequences of statements that
  makes assumptions about what other people mean without any
  correction, thus you get escalation in heated discussions

USENET has worse problems: It's viewed by radical/reactionary
elements as their channel for "changing the world". Thus they
aggregate and regular people seem to give up on it as an avenue for
fruitful discussion? How many people can stand the mindless
racist/sexist/facist/capitalistic viewpoints found on USENET
political groups? The system is a big failure... for free speech and
real democracy. (The hardcore free-speech-very-unagreeable-guys self

> say that disinhibition in other situations does not nullify the
> thesis that CMC causes more disinhbition as a result of the
> anonymity it provides.

I don't nullify it, but I think it is overrated when it comes to
MUDs in terms of undesirable behaviour.

> fictional.  That's a cloak of anonymity that ultimately will
> encourage disinhibitive behavior.

Maybe. Still, if users are so disinhibited, why won't they all tell
me their physical gender? Never seen anyone hide that from me in the
physical world... ;) Anonymity allows a lot of freedom from certain
social mores, but the net effect is probably a bit complex.

One might argue that the anonymity creates a stigma for those people
that are not in the in-crowd, in the sense that they don't get the
cues that make them feel accepted. Which in turn might yield more
erratic behaviour...

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

Aye, I didn't mean you in particular. I meant the mudding
community. The community tends to attribute "single incidents" to
the entire population. They see a few people a guild acting out and
attribute the behaviour to the entire guild, admins get a distorted
view of average user behaviour in their population because they get
all the complaints etc.

Ola - http://folk.uio.no/olag/
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