Conformity rules in cyberspace
August 24, 2001 6:17 AM   Subscribe

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.
posted by dhartung (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
i wonder how they were able to ascertain, with any scientifically adequate certainty, the gender of the chat room members. (with respect to the observation that "females appeared more likely to conform to authority.")
posted by moz at 8:03 AM on August 24, 2001

true, dark, willnot whomever typed he/she when refering to moi. I see what other MeFis are concerned about anon accounts. The idea of some MeFi using an (avatar?) second account does unerve me a little. this should be an interesting link.
posted by clavdivs at 8:17 AM on August 24, 2001

I know, I think it's funny when people misrepresent themselves and assume that no one else is doing it too.
posted by witchstone at 8:52 AM on August 24, 2001

The team is going online using graphic representations for characters showing different sexes and racial backgrounds. One image is of a neutral object, such as a chair.

"Man, I'd sure like to fuck that chair."
posted by Skot at 9:33 AM on August 24, 2001

hmm, they should have gauged people's reactions to late 70s barcaloungers with worn-down furry plaid upholstery and a side pocket full of remote controls held together with a rubber band. (I'm sure Lileks has a picture of one of these in the 70s archives somewhere!)

Maybe a brightly colored beanbag chair would get the shmoo-fetishist population salivating.

and what about sick bastards propositioning rainbow brite children's chairs?


obscure Lounge Lizards reference of the day: Skot wants to fuck a chair. Chair is shocked."
posted by Kafkaesque at 10:26 AM on August 24, 2001

Pardon my ignorance.....but what is a MUD?
posted by Kafkaesque at 1:56 PM on August 24, 2001

MUD = multi user dimension.

if you ever played zork, it's like that, but with lots of people. and fighting, and spell casting, and stuff. it all moves too quickly for me.
posted by moz at 3:07 PM on August 24, 2001

The predatory behavior of internet guys on IRC & other chat venues reminds me of the way that the weird looking roleplaying guys (me included, ten years ago at least) would descend on any girls who entered the world.

The girls were always ten times weirder and screwed up than the guys, so it's not like it didn't work out in the end... As for how it works today, well, no comment. :)
posted by Turtletail at 8:53 PM on August 24, 2001

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