March 21, 2004

Honest Online

Everyone tells a little white lie now and then. But a Cornell professor recently claimed to have established the truth of a curious proposition: We fib less frequently when we’re online than when we’re talking in person. Essay: The Honesty Virus (NYT)

Basically, paper trails (even electronic ones) keep people more honest. Nowhere is that more evident than in discussion groups. With a weblog, you never really know if the author has gone back to make edits, though one of the unwritten rules of weblogging is to not go back and edit for content. I’ll sometimes go back and add something (a link to a later discussion, for example) but it’s implied that once I post somehting my view at the time is recorded and going back and changing that opinion ex post facto is an unacceptable altering of history.

Some Weblogging ethics references:

Nothing’s hard and fast, and I’m not sure I really buy anyone’s set of weblog etiquette. Which, I guess means I should come up with my own list in a future post.

Where honesty online is concerned, it’s all straightforward. Don’t lie. Try to be sure of your facts before you post. Don’t go back and distort your history. Etc.

Posted by James at March 21, 2004 1:56 PM
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Those who blog have essentially created their own subculture where some things are acceptable and some aren't. Like any subculture, it's sometimes hard to know the "rules" without becoming immersed in it, especially since they are still evolving. You're right. Nothing is hard and fast. Looking around at what others do is the best guide.

Posted by: JD Mays at March 21, 2004 10:04 PM

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