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Situational Behavior on the net 
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Post Situational Behavior on the net
I have always thought that the internet makes people more bold and confrontational. I am included in this I suppose (but I will back it up so watch it!! @#@$head).

Does anyone else here think that the internet loosens our moral codes similar to how the prison experiment supposedly did for the participants? From chat room bravado to sexual predators....what role does the anonymity of the net play in exacerbating 'evil' or immoral behaviors?

Mr. P.


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Tue Nov 13, 2007 4:14 pm
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Mr. P: what role does the anonymity of the net play in exacerbating 'evil' or immoral behaviors?


Great question! Yes, anonymity increases a propensity for immoral behavior. I think this gives us a clue to the connection between identity and morality: who we are plays a substantial part in how we relate to others, and vice versa. Isolated, detatched, disconnected and alone folk lack the richness of relationship that keeps one accountable and demands responsibility: they also lack the kinds of interactions that provide reality checks, keeping delusional notions at bay and expecting coherence in interaction.



Tue Nov 13, 2007 4:26 pm
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Dissident Heart wrote:
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Mr. P: what role does the anonymity of the net play in exacerbating 'evil' or immoral behaviors?


Great question! Yes, anonymity increases a propensity for immoral behavior. I think this gives us a clue to the connection between identity and morality: who we are plays a substantial part in how we relate to others, and vice versa.


Absolutely...which is why I see morality as a mask we put on our true selves. Moral action can be antithetical to individual survival but helps society as a whole function. Moral systems are thus imposed upon us and I think may contribute to aberant behaviors. Take, for instance, age of consent laws. By nature, humans are prepared to procreate at a certain age...anywhere from 11 on lets say. So the urges to procreate are there by natural progression. Yet we, and not even all that long ago, have suppressed the urges by making moral and legal rules against underage sex. Does this lead to suppressed instincts and does this have any effect on the emotional state of people? I do not have the answers, but I think about this alot. Are we, by restricting human nature, causing other problems? Don't get me wrong, I understand the reasons for some restrictions.

This is just a speculation of course. Thus, I do not think that Situations or Institutions transform 'good' people into 'bad' people, but rather gives us the opportunity to remove our moral mask and lets the dark side come out occasionally. I do not believe that we are inhernetly evil, or immoral, or inherently good, or moral. We are both...and we show both based on the situation we are involved in. I do tend to think that without constant reflection and diligence, we would gravitate toward a less than 'moral' state.

Mr. P.


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Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:13 am
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I become more assertive in internet forums than in face-to-face interactions. In person, I'm reluctant to tell someone "you're wrong" or "that doesn't make any sense" or "George Bush caused more suffering than Osama bin Laden did". However, saying that online is no big deal.

In part, that's because I'm conflict-averse. However, situational ethics plays a role. I don't like creating discomfort in someone who's in the same room as me. However, that moral reluctance weakens when I'm writing a message that will be read by people I've never met.



Sat Nov 17, 2007 1:35 am
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