Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Debate: Online versus Offline behaviour

It has been a very long debate. People have different responses to the question: "Why our online behavior is different (if any) from the offline behavior?" And now people have already started responding on "How to deal with the errant offline behavior?" I recently came across a post by Justine Larbalestier, where he talks about his way of dealing with such people. In his post he says:

"I am no longer interested in hearing how lovely a particular person is in real life when they are a bully and a bigot and a troll online. I’ll go further than that it no longer matters to me if I have met said nasty online person in real life and have found them perfectly charming. Behaving well in only one or two spheres of your life does not make you a good person. Treating people with contempt speaks volumes. Always.
The internet is real life. What you say and how you behave in the land of livejournal or facebook or myspace or wordpress blogs or elsewhere is real behaviour. Those words are real and have real affects even if you turn around and delete them.
Why are there people who do not understand this?
I have a very strict policy on this blog. People who come looking for a fight are deleted. I don’t tolerate people who are rude to me or my friends in my home. This blog is my online home and I expect visitors to behave the way they would in my real life home. Or I will throw them out by banning them."
My response to this view:

Nailed it! I fully agree with you Jastine, I think every person who has the conscience to behave in a consistent and proper manner in both online and offline mediums would agree with you.
But there is one drawback to it!

These people (whom we ban) would feel like out-casted, and this may further incentivise them do the dirty work again and again in future. If not in your forum, then somebody else's (and not all forums are as closely monitored as this, example being: Wikipedia).

I think writing a small sentence at the end of post; reminding people to write carefully (otherwise: deleted!) would do the job. Everyone should have the chance to correct his/her mistakes. But banning them... may act as a painkiller, but not a solution at all...(think over it).

Read a related post: Right or Wrong

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