The importance of etiquette, convention and regulation in online communities

18 Nov

The importance of etiquette, convention and regulation in online communities

                          

Within all areas of society, real or virtual, there are rules of etiquette. Although these rules are often clearer in the ‘real’ world, as we have been taught them since a young age, it is perhaps harder to decipher the rules of internet etiquette. Considering the importance of virtual technology, it is essential to adhere to rules and regulations which you would in ‘real life’.

 

Online hosts regularly have terms and conditions which the user is obliged to accept. These rules create a set of guidelines which state what is acceptable and unacceptable in that particular cyber space. Although these rules and conditions vary slightly, they tend to follow the same structure. For example, if you are planning on participating on an online public forum, as in real life, you must respect other users.

 

Another aspect of online etiquette is the topic of copyright and reproducing material which is not your own. In some cases, an individual may forge another internet user’s material without even being aware that they are abandoning the laws of copyright. Simply by copying and pasting even the smallest amount of information and passing it off as your own can get you in to trouble. Regardless of whether you are in the virtual world or the ‘real’ world, copyright is illegal.

 

Like in everyday life, politeness is essential. When talking to someone who you do not know, it’s considered rude to make uneducated, aggressive comments concerning that person’s opinions or thoughts. The same applies when you are speaking to someone online. For example, if you are visiting a blog post it is deemed disrespectful to leave comments below in block capitals, demeaning the writer’s viewpoints, especially if what you are saying is not relevant and uncalled for. Politeness is essential if you are seeking online respect.

 

It is also important to realize where you are in cyber space and how to communicate with others in that community. If you are in a formal environment, such as a journalist’s mailing list, it is necessary to respect that the language and tone used there will be different to that of a casual blog, for example, one about the latest gaming sensation. It’s essential to understand that the only way you are being judged is through the way in which you write and what you write about. Since you are not face to face with the people you are talking to, it is sometimes harder to convey what you really want to say.

 

It is also helpful to know that although emoticons can convey emotions when writing, if they are not used appropriately they can come sometimes come across as immature.  Therefore, in formal situations, emoticons should be kept to a minimum, for respectful reasons.

 

In the 1990’s, a set up rules and guidelines, called Netiquette were set up to provide internet users with online regulations to which they must abide by. Online communities of all types and genres have now adapted these rules to suit their own sites, but in general a great deal of these guidelines have remained similar to the originals.

As in all areas of life, etiquette is important and considering the extent to which online communities are growing all the time, we must ensure that we abide by these rules and regulations in order for the virtual world to advance even further.

 

Sources:

RFC: 1855, Netiquette guidelines

Albion.com – The core rules of Netiquette

 

 

 

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From prosumer to producer

13 Nov

 

The debate which surrounds the question as to whether the ‘producer’ still exists in web2.0 technologies is discussed in Dr. Alex Brun’s document, ‘From Prosumer to Producer’.

 After reading the document, I became more aware of the argument at hand. As technology progresses in the fields of social networks, online publishing, viral markets and multi- user gaming, it’s only natural that the divide between producer and consumer is becoming diminished. The word ‘Prosumer’ has been created to describe the merging of the processes undertaken by the producer and the consumer.

 This generation of ‘Prosumers’ is now referred to as the ‘Generation C’.

 In times gone, before the likes of Google, Facebook or Second Life, the producer and consumer had two very different roles. The producer developed products in small groups, with less input from the actual consumer. The chain of production consisted of 3 components leading onto each other, Producer to Distributor to Consumer. However today, the input of the consumer is far more important than it was; it has grown to become vital to the production of facilities in the ‘Virtual community’.

 The consumer essentially kick starts the process of producing, by inputting creative idea’s. Although the producer is essential in the actual process of making a product successful because of their technical skills, without outside support and creative knowledge from the likes of ‘computer nerds’ and ‘Hi-fi fanatics’, their products would be limited and undesirable to the public.

 Therefore, the chain of production has evolved, instead of being composed of three parts, it now has many elements. Now the producer is firstly advised by the consumer through the distributor and so on. This chain is much more diverse and therefore allows for advancements in Web2.0 products.

 Not only is the consumers input used in creating new technology at the beginning of the development process, it is used in order to sustain the product’s success. An example of this is Wikipedia, which is being constantly updated by the consumer. Anyone can share their information on this site. Although it was the producers job to set up the bones of the site, it is the ‘Prosumer’ who keeps the site running by constantly updating it and enlarging its information base.

 Another product which has evolved only recently is the Open Source Beer, which takes the role of ‘Prosumer’ a step further by allowing it’s users to be able to benefit from the original product. It gives the consumer the freedom to be able to produce their own beer from the original recipe. This means that anyone can use the recipe to brew their own ‘free beer’ or create a derivative of the recipe. Therefore, anyone can avail of making money from the beer which they have made, so long as they credit and publish the recipe under the same license as the original. Surely this project can only work if the bond between producer and consumer is solid.

 It would seem that today, on the web, little is impossible and this is due to the merging of the two equally essential contributors, the ‘producer and ‘consumer’.

 In Dr. Bruns’ document, he questions whether there is a limit to the amount of input the consumer can give to a product and whether at some point, there will be no distinction between the producer and consumer. However, I believe that no matter how far things develop there will still be a distinction between the two. Without the technological knowledge of the producer, would the product not simply remain an idea?

Destinations

26 Oct

I have visited  5 particular destinations in Second Life which I would like to mention:

Luminocity:

I decided to go this bar because I was interested in seeing how music is used to set an atmosphere in Second Life. It was quite a relaxing environment and was fully furnished with dance floors and couches.

One aspect of this destination which I found interesting was the fact that it was advertising job placements. The hopeful employee’s were to have a well presented appearance and a background in customer service.

Andy Warhol-Behind the camera (University of Delaware):

I decided to travel here to get a better understanding of how artists’ work is portrayed in virtual exhibitions. When I arrived I realised it was very similar to how a traditional exhibition is laid out, with plain, white walls and seating available.

Ballet Pixelle:

As I’m very interested in ballet, I decided to go to a virtual theatre, showing Second Life’s first professional ballet company. It was laid out like a  traditional theatre with lots of information and photos of live shows available in the lobby. Unfortunately when I visited, there was no show running but I will be sure to return soon.

Enchanted Dreams:

This dream-like and colourful destination appealed to me because I wanted to visit somewhere with the sole intention of viewing the creativity which is involved to create these worlds.

Originalia:

This ‘world’ which is designed by artists, was described as ‘creating illusions of faked reality’. Although I don’t fully understand this term it was still enjoyable to travel around this destination looking at the different sights such as the fire/lava pit.

Having visited these various destinations, Second Life is a little clearer to me. One of the main thing’s I gained from visiting them was seeing how organized everything is, and how things are timed like they would be in ‘real life’.

Is one life enough?

20 Oct

My name is Saoirse Sexton and I’m currently studying Visual and Critical Studies in DIT.  As one of my elective classes I choose to do an online module called Virtual environments (Is one life enough?).

When I realised an online ‘gaming’ module was available to me I was immediately drawn to it. I was attracted to the idea that I could learn and develop skills in a virtual world, instead of the traditional classroom environment.

My expectations:

By participating in this module I hope to learn about the importance of virtual worlds and networking sites and how they affect the ‘real’ world.  Virtual worlds are obviously becoming more and more key to the advancements and success of business’ etc. and therefore I think it’s vital to be able to manage yourself in these online worlds. I am eager to learn how virtual skills can help me with future endeavors.

From this experience I would  like to gain relationships with others also using Second Life. I would like to advance my personal avatar and in the future set up a business which perhaps would be harder to do without the aid of virtual environments like Second Life.

I also hope to learn more about the intriguing. technology behind Second Life and how it has been programmed to allow you to travel half way across the world in a matter of seconds and from there interact with people whom you wouldn’t usually have the opportunity to connect with in the ‘real’ world.

Hello world!

20 Oct

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