On June 13, I have been asked to lead a discussion at Blog Potomac in the D.C. area about ethics in an online world. I wanted to start the discussion early and test some questions that I hope to put to the Blog Potomac crowd. I started with this question on Twitter, a microblogging platform that allows people to quickly brainstorm with their first impressions:
- kamichat What are the ethics of an anything goes Internet world? How far is too far in your opinion?
I asked the question because we find ourselves, for better or worse, in an age where anyone can shape the medium (the Internet) to serve their purpose- altruistic, commercial or nefarious.
The answers were far ranging and very thoughtful, but it became clear to me that ethics are very much based on a person's view of the world. I have edited and rearranged these a bit so that you can more easily follow what I learned. I broke this down into the main ideas that emerged:
- Expect the worst,
- Cyberstalking goes to far,
- Child porn goes too far,
- Personal responsibility,
- People are inherently good,
- Community self polices,
- Anything goes undermines trust,
- Moderation and balance will prevail.
After you read the dialogue, please take a minute to answer what you think should guide online ethics from a corporate point of view.
Expect the Worst
Cyberstalking Goes too Far
Child Porn Goes Too Far
People are Inherently Good
Community Self Polices
Anything Goes Undermines Trust
- kamichat @albertmaruggi So true, but the truth is these are all open channels and often trust can be an illusion
Moderation and Balance Will Prevail
merubin @kamichat The true illusion is that there is no line and no ethics. How incredibly short-sighted! People forget that there are others on the other side of the screen. "Kamichat" is a real person. "Merubin" is a real person. W/o ethics, we're done for and screwed.
- kamichat @merubin But don't you think that the freedom of social channels can lead to disinhibition?