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The Internet

Why Are We So Rude Online? 341

kodiaktau writes "An article in the WSJ discusses why internet users are more rude online than they are in person. The story discusses some of the possible reasons. For example, a study found that browsing Facebook tends to lower people's self control. An MIT professor says people posting on the internet have lowered inhibitions because there is no formal social interaction. Another theory is that communicating through a phone or other device feels like communicating with a 'toy,' which dehumanizes the conversation. Of course, a rude conversation has never happened on Slashdot in the last 15 years."
The Internet

The Internet's Age of Rage 315

RackNine sends this excerpt from an editorial at the Guardian: "The worldwide web has made critics of us all. But with commenters able to hide behind a cloak of anonymity, the blog and chatroom have become forums for hatred and bile. ... The psychologists call it 'deindividuation.' It's what happens when social norms are withdrawn because identities are concealed. The classic deindividuation experiment concerned American children at Halloween. Trick-or-treaters were invited to take sweets left in the hall of a house on a table on which there was also a sum of money. When children arrived singly, and not wearing masks, only 8% of them stole any of the money. When they were in larger groups, with their identities concealed by fancy dress, that number rose to 80%. The combination of a faceless crowd and personal anonymity provoked individuals into breaking rules that under 'normal' circumstances they would not have considered. ... One simple antidote to this seems to rest in the very old-fashioned idea of standing by your good name. Adopt a pseudonym and you are not putting much of yourself on the line. Put your name to something and your words are freighted with responsibility."
The Internet

UK Teachers Say Censor The Internet 463

Marlow the Irelander writes "The BBC is reporting that in response to a YouTube video of a schoolboy breaking his teacher's window (yes, this is a video), NASUWT, one of the teaching unions in the UK, is calling for legislation to control the internet. Could Britain, rather than the US, be the main front of the battle against censorship in 2007?" From the article: "Unfortunately, any yob or vandal can now have their 15 minutes of fame, aided and abetted by readily accessible technology and irresponsible internet sites which enable such behaviour to be glorified. [The general secretary of the union] said the union supported a zero tolerance approach in schools to pupils who used technology to abuse and undermine teachers, and called for more rigorous legislative control of internet sites which gave them license."

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