Running head: EFFECTS OF ANONYMITY ON ONLINE BEHAVIOR.
EFFECTS OF ANONYMITY ON ONLINE BEHAVIOR.
Effects Of Anonymity on Online Behavior.University 24 May 2022
Online communities have become a common medium of exchange of information. Anonymity has become a crucial issue in online community research as it allows the collection and analysis of information. Anonymity in online communities allows researchers to observe new behavior patterns, such as people experimenting with different identities. They can also detect participation patterns by those with less power in an offline world. Different types of online anonymity, such as social, content, process, and technical anonymity, have been presented on online forums. However, there are unclear explanations regarding the relationships between these types of anonymity, relationships with other constructs, and online communities’ outcomes.
The social science resources used in this investigation are peer-reviewed articles and publications. I choose these resources because they are well-cited, complement other studies on the subject, and are falsifiable. The resources discuss the effects of anonymity on online behavior, such as deindividuation and disinhibition. They support my thesis that the effects of anonymity on online behavior are more positive than negative and thus should not be limited or denied. The articles are written by professionals such as psychologists and professors, and they contain information on studies and data relevant to the investigation.
My first resource is an article by Sardá, Thais; Natale, Simone; Sotirakopoulos, Nikos; Monaghan, Mark. (2019). Understanding online anonymity. This resource is relevant because it investigates the benefit of analyzing online anonymity from various interrelated perspectives such as human rights activities, policymakers, and/ or cyber security professionals. The second is an article by Felipe Vilanova, Francielle Machado Beria, Ângelo Brandelli Costa & Silvia Helena Koller | and Justin Hackett (Reviewing Editor) (2017). Deindividuation: From Le Bon to the social identity model of deindividuation effects. This article reviews deindividuation as an outcome of online anonymity. It is relevant because it compares deindividuation theories and delineates the advances in the phenomenon. Furthermore, the paper suggests that deindividuation may positively promote cultural understanding and prosocial behavior and bring contemporary issues into perspective. The third is a book by Kraut, R. E., & Resnick, P. (2012). The book is titled Building successful online communities: Evidence-based social design. MIT Press. The book investigates how social scientists can utilize social science insights such as social economy and psychology to improve the design of virtual interactions within online communities. This resource is relevant because it provides evidence on what social science studies suggest about online interactions and how to improve them for the best user experience.
While the resources have the similarities discussed above, their difference is that they inform different parts of the study on anonymity. They answer inquiries that seek to understand the definition of online anonymity, the potential impacts, and solutions that we could implement to protect users without infringing on their rights and freedoms.
The social science principles most influenced by anonymity are social roles and norms. There are different reactions to being watched. However, when provided with an opportunity to be anonymous, like on online platforms, humans are more truthful about their thoughts, words, and behaviors. People of various social positions interact and can easily break the rules tied to their status or professions. Virtual spaces free people from prejudgment based on appearance, allowing them to disclose a lot of truthful information about themselves at the risk of becoming hyper-personal with strangers. Anonymity also allows people to reach out easily to their communities of interest, idealize and present themselves more positively in true human fashion. The resources used in this study suggest that people are more likely to maintain civility and foster high-quality interactions when they are allowed partial anonymity through stable pseudonyms (Moore, 2021). Therefore, people can interact as the online persona they have established despite social norms and roles.
Proponents of anonymity claim that it is socially productive, but it does not have to be desirable to make the social world a better place. Various ethical and political issues arise when people use anonymity. Anonymity benefits social productivity through cohesion, but social scientists can also derive from conflicting perspectives. However, it is best to review online anonymity from social, ethical, and political lenses.
The issue I would like to investigate further is how the benefits of online anonymity inform public policy. As a social scientist, the first step to investigating is to ask the question. Inquiring would be followed by researching existing sources on the topic. A hypothesis regarding the research question would be that policymakers are forced to implement laws that help protect online users without infringing on their right to privacy or freedom of expression when positive outcomes outweigh negative outcomes. The next is to design a study that investigates the quality of online interactions. Do users utilize complete anonymity and pseudonyms or use their offline identities. What was the experience with their preferred mode? The final step would be to draw a conclusion from the recipient’s answers and report the results obtained. Understanding the behaviors that result from anonymity is relevant to protecting our rights and freedoms without violating the experience of others within similar communities.
Felipe Vilanova, Francielle Machado Beria, Ângelo Brandelli Costa & Silvia Helena Koller | Justin Hackett (Reviewing Editor) (2017) Deindividuation: From Le Bon to the social identity model of deindividuation effects, Cogent Psychology, 4:1, DOI: 10.1080/23311908.2017.1308104
Kraut, R. E., & Resnick, P. (2012). Building successful online communities: Evidence-based social design. Mit Press.
Moore, A. (2015). Online anonymity: study found ‘stable pseudonyms’ created a more civil environment than real usernames.
Sardá, Thais; Natale, Simone; Sotirakopoulos, Nikos; Monaghan, Mark (2019). Understanding online anonymity. Media, Culture & Society, (), 016344371984207–. doi:10.1177/0163443719842074
Running head: EFFECTS OF ANONYMITY ON ONLINE BEHAVIOR.