what are the pros and cons of staying anonymous online? | INFJ Forum

what are the pros and cons of staying anonymous online?

Discussion in 'Relationships and Sociology' started by Gaze, May 6, 2010.

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  1. Gaze

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    Beyond safety, or security concerns, what are pros and cons of remaining anonymous online? By anonymous, i mean not posting a photo, revealing personal identifying info about yourself e.g. name, physical appearance, or other personal details about yourself, etc. Aspects such as concerns about perception, effect on our interaction, sense of freedom or restriction, etc. can be one way to look at this.
     
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    #1 Gaze, May 6, 2010
    Last edited: May 6, 2010
  2. Daeledin

    Daeledin <font color=#575EC1>NVs Fanboi</font>

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    Mostly you can reinvent yourself into any person you want to be. You could be a complete jerk, invent sob stories to gain sympathy, or stories to make people think you're the coolest person to ever live. A lot of people use internet anonymity to get away or do things they couldn't do to people in real life. We've even named the hardcore members of the interblag that do this. Trolls.

    Being anonymous on the internet can let you share things with people about yourself you wouldn't normally share. A method to get something off your chest to people. Probably one of the most gratifying things about the experience is that it can be with people you'll never meet and find acceptance from just by their limited interaction with you. Of course you can do this while being anonymous or public.
     
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  3. under skies

    under skies Community Member

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    Pro: You know that anyone who speaks to you is only interested in what you have to say, not what you look like or the fact that you both hail from the same location.

    Con: I think perhaps some would be less inclined to trust you or feel comfortable speaking to you. There may be the assumption that you actually have something to hide, and the assumption is probably that whatever you're hiding is a negative thing.
     
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  4. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    The con is thinking you are ever truly anonymous.
     
  5. Wyote

    Wyote Xenoi
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    It makes it an even playing field. People can't pre-judge you and make assumptions about what you are saying and any perceived motive behind it based on those judgements.

    Of course, once you've typed anything, the judgement often becomes even harsher online.
     
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    #5 Wyote, May 6, 2010
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  6. Soulful

    Soulful life is good

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    I agree with most of what's been said.

    Also, while online annonymity might allow someone to lie about who they are and invent or exaggerate their characteristics, it can be an avenue for learing to express one's lesser/shyer traits without the IRL awkwardness that tends to accompany learning or expressing a new skill.
     
  7. enfp can be shy

    enfp can be shy people vs the bad people?
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    The Internet allowed people to realize A LOT about the superficiality of: a) communication; b) personality. Before that, our culture has created ENORMOUS boundaries between us, based on: nationalism, racism, socio-economic segregation, profession (so called; I do not believe in professionals - they just form guild cults), language (duh), mannerisms, fashion, local culture and tradition, accent, age, food, climate, etiquette, the so called sexuality, political affiliation, sports fandom, art subculture; and really anything. For some reason people got used to believing very strongly in these things, and suddenly it all looks quite ridiculous (doesn't it). As Radiohead sing: "they got skin and they put me in". :p It's really a whole series of more subtle forms of racism, all of it, which now transforms into genism and reinforced ghettos of social status. The Internet is smack in the face of all the elitism in the world. Finally people begin to realize that there are no idols and demons, and even the mechanisms by which idolizing/demonizing used to occur. It's very funny, and it's very FAST! Wow... I mean, our cultures cannot cope with the speed of us realizing how much they are total bullshit. ^^
     
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    #7 enfp can be shy, May 6, 2010
    Last edited: May 6, 2010
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  8. bamf

    bamf Is Watching You
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    Sometimes I wish people couldn't easily figure out who I am, but I feel that by not being anonymous (like someone said before) people are more easy to trust you. They have a general sense that you are being honest (not that you really can trust anyone on the internet is actually being honest) and are more likely to be honest with you. It also helps one evaluate themselves based off of the interactions they have with other people. People don't mince words on the internet, and you can get some pretty honest perspectives on your personality.
     
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  9. Ecton

    Ecton Community Member

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    Regardless of staying anonymous or not, you are still being 'identified'. (This is not some paranoid rant.)

    Basically, you are creating an online identity for yourself whenever you stay in particular online communities for more than one session and type things. :)

    Large scale ramifications:

    It is important to keep in mind that many companies and "other organizations" are collecting databases of information on people. Names, addresses, phone numbers: sure. But they also collect keywords on interests, relationships, attitudes, etc. This data has both marketing and defense intelligence value. For example, employers may be able to buy 'summary profiles' of potential candidates. Yikes!

    There is currently research being conducted on pentaflop dataflow computing that will enable near-real time image analysis, for categorization similar to text analysis. So in the future, even pictures will become part of the present analysis methods.

    Essentially, both non-anonymous and pseudo-anonymous net information will be developed into individual and group profiles.

    This is not science fiction. If you are skeptical, just go to a job board and look for all the requests for data-analysis ai programmers. Then follow the links tot he companies that want those employees. Those jobs used to be about 'search'. Now they are about contextual analysis, both for search, but also for marketing data in the reverse flow direction.

    Net anonymity can limit your exposure to this influence, but it can be circumvented by ingenious profiling mechanisms. For example, do you tend to use similar Avatar names on different sites? Is there a set of words you always misspell? Do you use commas in unusual places? Have a favorite idiom? In the large scale 'anonymity' is and will be harder to maintain in online social settings.

    Small scale ramifications: Teachers and students are all aware of the brutality of youth. Kids are being attacked online, and teachers are always subject to information on their personal lives being exploited. The same can happen for employees of any institution. At this level, maintaining anonymity in a traditional sense is sufficient for privacy.

    So while we enjoy benefits from anonymity in the present, in the future you may be just one click away from people knowing all about you, or at least, your wants and desires as expressed in the virtual world.
     
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    #9 Ecton, May 6, 2010
    Last edited: May 6, 2010
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  10. IndigoSensor

    IndigoSensor Product Obtained
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    I don't really see the point in keeping myself anonymous on the internet. I feel like I am hiding who I really am and I don't like the feeling of that. I don't broadcast who I am actively, but at the same time I don't make it dreadfully hard to find out who I am if you do a little digging.

    As far as pros and cons, it would venture to guess that the only con of staying anonymous is lack of levels of personal satisfaction.
     
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  11. WellNoWonder

    WellNoWonder Peace Through Action

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    Yah....
     
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  12. OP
    Gaze

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    I think most who post online (at least on this site) are probably aware of all this, but i'd venture to say, i don't see focusing or thinking about this too much helping to do anything to make someone live their life in fear. I don't doubt anyone here thinks these things are not happening, but i think we have enough stress in our lives than to spend most of our time worrying about it. Real world has its safety and security issues as well. Yes, we are being monitored . . . so, what are we to do, hide out from the world until we are are completely secure? Yes, we should be aware, cautious and safe, but i don't think we need to become too self conscious about it. Living one's life in constant fear, is not really living at all.
     
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  13. Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    If someone calls me out on something that I have said that is stupid or that doesn't make sense, it is less awkward than in real life.
     
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  14. TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    pros - no indelible electronic imprint - you could still be identified, but it makes the job harder. and i've always figured there are at least 2x the amount of people lurking on any one website than there are actively participating, which means you really don't know who you're exposing your private information to, and how that could affect you in the future. (relative) privacy. the ability to reinvent yourself. less chance of being stereotyped or judged for anything other than what you say.

    cons - not being able to show exactly who you are, what you do, what kind of person you're like to people who might be your friends. human relationships are founded on intimacy, and how can you be intimate with someone if you don't know anything about them? there's a lack of trust, a lack of knowledge, a lack support if you need support if you continue to keep yourself in the shadows. this probably applies to real life too.
     
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  15. Ecton

    Ecton Community Member

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    I think we will just have to disagree on this point. In my mind, being presented with a sense of anonymity, but not actually having one, will have profound effects.
     
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  16. OP
    Gaze

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    bump
     
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  17. dark_angel

    dark_angel Community Member

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    pros: it lets you speak your mind without being judged by your RL camouflage.

    cons: your integrity gets unintentionally questioned whether this is done consciously or unconsciously.
     
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