Lessons in the Delicate Art of Confronting Offensive Speech. Researchers have detailed the difficulty of confronting prejudice, but they have also found that even the politest of objections – or subtle corrections to loaded words – can almost instantly curb a speaker’s behavior. With a clearer understanding of the dynamics of such confrontation, psychologists say, people can develop tactics that can shut down the unsavory talk without ruining relationships, even when the offender has more status or power: a fraternity president, say, or a team captain or employer. [more inside]
RandomProxy [via mefi projects] Tired of talking to the same people on AIM all the time? RandomProxy allows you to talk to someone randomly and anonymously. Air out your problems with your boss or just find out what the weather is like across the country. Warning: Not for those who strictly adhere to the rules of conversation.
Conformity rules in cyberspace... countering expectations that near-anonymity would encourage actions outside social norms. An Australian research team entered chat rooms and staged situations (a somewhat skeptically viewed practice, though the article doesn't mention it). Now they're studying users' reactions to avatars of different races and genders -- and for control purposes, a chair: Initial results show that most people approach the female character first and that some of those approaching the chair ask for a sex specification or assume it is female.