Trolls & Technology….

Thanks to Anders for his engaging presentation of his work developing a brand/application/digital identity/platform for his unique “TrollScape” world-building project.  Anders has been envisioning this digital project for sometime, step by step imagining different facets of a special digital experience that he hopes to bring to life.  “Trollscape” is a gamified experience wherein one in invited to discover the world of trolls in Norway.  It is designed with the imagination of a child in mind, but with interactive elements for people of all ages.  Trollscape will include many possible entry points, including locative storytelling via maps and outdoor discovery, mythology/historiography via discovery of “scientific” journaling, craft creation activities and incentivized games which help grow one’s “expertise” regarding trolls.  The project might evolve in a local context (Bergen) as a preliminary phase, but it has a broad appeal in a national context.  As different aspects of the overall vision are designed, a gradual scaling can occur.

I think our discussion with Anders brought to light the challenge of moving a creative and artistic vision into the realm of implementable reality.  We discussed the need for branding, the need for collaboration and funding, and we discussed the ways in which this creative/business-oriented project could dovetail effectively within the academic context of an MA in Digital Culture.  One of the most significant aspects of Anders contribution is his focus on interactive design, and especially the way in which a digital experience might refigure our experience with the real (our shared natural environments).  This project seeks to help people rediscover nature through storytelling and imagination fueled by digital design.  A term that came to the surface during our discussion was “pervasive interaction” -the design will reorient people to the real world.  The real world is therefore the key interface (but it is re-discovered via creative digital facilitation).

Next week we have some special time set aside to engage with visiting Digital Artist Ian Hatcher.  I really look forward to sharing some time with him and all of you.  I think you will find that his work, which explores cognition in the context of digital systems, is truly inspiring and compelling.  The plan is to meet at the University Library (at the cafe at the entrance).  He will give a short performance there of his work, and we can follow up with some pizza and discussion in the upstairs (2nd floor) atrium of the library.  The event should last about an hour and a half.  Please go directly to the library, and try to get there a bit early (perhaps around 13:20), so I can introduce you as my grad students in the crowd that will be attending.

For your blog post this week (due 2/11/17), there will be no assigned reading, but please write a reflection about the form and content of your planned contribution for the e-book collection we are compiling at the end of this semester.  In short, you will submit a final project that will be your “chapter” in our journal-like collaboration.  Your chapter can ultimately be a traditional academic “white paper”, it can be a hyper-text multi-modal presentation of your research, it can be a digital artifact/website designed to present and engage our readers in your research inquiry.  I would like for each of you to describe your plans for what you would like to submit – what it will look like, how you will organize and present your work.  Please provide as much detail as you can (i.e. if it is a website, what kinds of pages and sections will you develop?), and please start to map or outline the work you will need to complete in order to offer a solid and meaningful contribution.  You are welcome to take a picture of a mind map for your contribution.  ***Please remember, no matter what kind of “artifact” you plan to produce, your work should have a comprehensive Literature Review that reflects the critical/theoretical understanding that informs your research.

In two weeks we will be tackling the issue of algorithmic awareness with Victor as our presenter.  He will be providing a shared reading for us soon, which I will forward you.  You can read Victor’s shared material and blog your reflection about it before class on 9/11/17.

See you next Thursday 2/11/17 – remember to go directly to the University Library at 13:20!

Looking forward to it,

MZ

Ps.  Thanks for teaching me more about the Groke!

 

Make them beg for it – aka “envy”

In his book Evil by design, Chris Nodder composes the savoir-faire in design. As a human-centered designer, he suggests a guide based on the seven deadly sins, in order to make a product attractive and desirable to get. This week’s reading assignment is the chapter “Envy” and our fellow student is going to present his master’s project in this context.

A very successful example of how envy works towards a marketing strategy is Tom Sawyer’s attitude in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, as it is highlighted in the introduction of  Evil by design. The boy managed to present his dull and strenuous task as appealing and fun instead and finally his friends were aspired to get it done. Behaviorism and conditional psychology are considerably important parameters when it comes to designing a product or even a strategy to promote it. According to the author, the stages to make a product desirable include secrecy, scarcity, identity, aesthetics and functionality.

The manufacturing of envy involves the approach of “full-on destructive envy”, which assures that the item is a must-have. This is a remarkable technique of attracting buyers and users to a product/service promoted. Since our fellow student’s project mainly targets a specific clientele (for children), I can picture how the word-of-mouth could work in this case.

In general, this chapter reminded me of Pavlov’s dogs and although this experiment is not mentioned with regards to rewards and payments, I think it would be an outstanding fit. However, Nodder mentions reinforcement on a later chapter (Greed), that deals with the gaming industry and gambling in particular.

 

The Seven Deadly Sins: Envy

In this week’s blog I’ll be taking a look at chapter 7, Envy, in the book ‘Evil By Design’. It was provided to me by one of my fellow students in line with his masters’ thesis. In it, Chris Nodder, the author, describes how we can achieve or trigger each of the seven deadly sins in designing something.

 

In this specific chapter he puts forward 8 ways to make it so some of your customers feel a sense of envy in line with your product. They are: creating desirability, aspiration, pre-ownership, creating status differences, emphasize achievement, encourage payment over achievement, design status advertisement and creating a sense of importance.

 

I like how in a certain way, he doesn’t just rely on the fact that the sins are just bad or evil by default. The author makes the distinction between destructive envy (bad) and benign envy (good). It is important to make sure the former does not come forward in its extreme form.

 

The first way, creating desirability, is the same as the basics of marketing. Making sure it’s good to look at, saying it can solve your audience their problems and associating it with a lifestyle most people look up to, has been the foundation of advertising since a long time. Creating aspiration is somewhat the same I feel as creating desire, but only in a totally positive way.

Making people feel pre-ownership is a phenomenon that is relatively new I find, as it is amplified so much through the possibilities of the Internet. Because it is now so easy for developers of something to present their product online and keep their investors updated on everything this form of product investment has become so much easier. A lot of successful videogames have been made in through channels like Kickstarter.

Status difference, I think, is the best way to achieve envy. Being jealous of the status that someone enjoys is something that even goes back to high school. We all had the some peers in our teenage years that were much more popular than us. In that sense, status differences is something that we’ve dealt with our entire life yet are still susceptible to.

Earning achievement and paying for it, is something that I’m very familiar with in online games and I think has its place if it is handled correctly. High-end achievements should never be able to be bought because that way you take away a lot of prestige associated with it. If it’s impossible to distinguish between players who earned something the fair way and those who bought it, you’re not incentivising the former group to actually work towards it. This ties in with letting people advertise their status as well. It should be possible for people to show off what they’ve earned but again, you should take caution here that this does not create negative feelings if that status is a bought one.

Lastly making people feel important is, I think the most crucial one as it creates an immense brand loyalty with your customers. Making them feel appreciated and giving attention to their inputs, will make it so they will definitely come back to you.

 

All in all, this was a very interesting chapter. I’m curious what Anders will put forward tomorrow in his explanation of his thesis.


Envy

The suggested reading for this week by fellow student Anders is a chapter called Envy from the book Evil by Design, interaction design to lead us into temptation by Chris Nodder.
I’m already quite familiar with this book, since I`ve used it for both my programing courses already. So this is kind of going back to an old friend. Its been a while since those courses, but that doesn’t diminish the quality of Nodders readings.

Quite early in the chapter Nodder writes ” To use envy as a motivating force, it has to first exists.” This is a simple sentence, but it carries a lot of weight! If you look at almost every form of social media or large forums, there are tools in  place to invoke envy amongst its users. You have achievements, numbers of likes, upvotes, shares and reposts, all of these are designed to make us envious on one another. Everyone wants to at least once, be the person that receives hundreds of likes on Facebook, get thousands of hearts on twitter or instagram due to reposts or be the one that makes is from the drudge of user sub to the front page because of fake internet points ( the indigenous name for upvotes on the site Imgur ).

Enacting envy amongst its users are also to enact participation, or at least try to create the want to participate. It is a genius way of using our feelings to manipulate us into activity, and in such a way, generate more data for the sites themselves as we go.
Desire to be amongst the select few, and the envy of those that are, its is a remarkable play on feelings if you can afford to sit back and give it a critical and reflected view.
How easily manipulated we are.

Nodder writes about having people feel ownership of a product before they even buy it, or the product is finished. This is especially true in the gaming industry, where pre purchace now has become a normal thing, and those who do so will get early access to the game, or at least parts of it.  There is a lot of arguments going around about this, where most people think that this practise is ruining the gaming industry. By buying products long before they are finished, but that is a (loooong discussion) for another time.
This early access is also inciting envy, some people get to play the game you are so anxiously waiting for, so why not prepurchace it aswell so you can be a part of it also?
Even though you pay for an unfinished product, that might be cut short, be riddled with bugs and errors, and in worst case, might never be finished. Envy caused you to buy it, and in the end, you turn envious on those who didn’t buy it. It’s like a two-edged sword.

Other ways to make us envious towards each other is evident in apps like Imgur and Snapchat, who cleverly have implemented a feature called trophies, which are basically achievements in all but name. They are linked to your profile, and are open for all to see, so that you can brag, or others can spy and become envious. The trophy/achievement system is put in place to give users a sense of accomplishment, and to, as mentioned, enact envy, so that others are hopefully pushed into earning the same goals.

In some cases, you don’t even need to create envy, you can just build upon it. Nodders example here is the sale of premade and leveled up characters and accounts for the game World of Warcraft. As he writes, “[…]players who have more money then time.”
Create a shortcut and someone is bound to use it. An easy enough notion, and one that obviously works, since the sale of gaming accounts have been going on for 2 decades or more.

It’s quite clear that feelings are used to its fullest extent in having us grasping for more in our online activities, and that most people are clueless as to what extent their favorite website goes to in order to invoke these feelings.

If you happen to disagree with my comments, or if you feel I`ve missed a point, feel free to leave a remark.


Blogging about Masters #4

Whoah. Getting to the end of the Twine project I think.

Progress_25thOctProgress as of 25th of October.

Originally  wanted to have it finished and playable by the end of last week. but I think I can do it this week. Two of the three ‘events’ you can do before the fighitng in the game is done and I am currently in the process of the fighting mechanic.

Both you and the enemy can attack and if you win you can g on to the ending that I still haven’t finished. What I need to do is implement the items you gain from the different ‘events’ that will make the battle more than just chance on how much each of you hit the other with.

I only found out recently that audio is hard to implement in Harlowe format, but it is not essensial to the game and I do not plan on changing it to a format that support audio better.

firstpassage25thoct First passage in the game.


Creating desire for a new product

In his book “Evil by Design”, Chris Nodder writes about how to create envy and use it to enhance the popularity of a product. The first step in creating envy, according to Nodder, is to create desirability for a product. Nodder gives ut 5 ways to create desire:

  1. Secrecy: Being one of the few in the know about an item, making people speculate about the product.
  2. Scarcity: Small numbers, low availability of the item. This creates an urgency for people to get the product while they still can, and makes people think other’s like it.
  3. Identity: Identify the item with a desirable lifestyle, person or activity.
  4. Aesthetics: The item is pleasing to look at, hold and use.
  5. Functionality: The item solves a problem in an elegant way.

As an example of how desire has been created in this way, Nodder brings up Apple and the iPhone. I believe that he is right, that Apple is a very good example of a company that has mastered the methods of creating desirability.

But Apple does have an advantage in being an old, well-known company. They are pioneers in the computer market, and they reinvented themselves in the late 90’s as a company creating computers, and later Mp3-players, with an exciting new design.

So what about a start-up company with a brand new product? How can they create desire? Point 3, 4 and 5 from the list above is certainly something a start-up can do, if they have reasonably good technical- and design skills, and some start-up money and a head for marketing. But point 1 and 2 are different from a start up company. Secrecy, that few people are in the know about an item, is automatic – because no one has ever heard of the company or product before. In fact, secrecy becomes more of a problem, as the company would want to get the word out about what they are doing.

The second point, scarcity, is also somewhat automatic. A start-up company may not have the finances to mass produce whatever they’re making. Crowd sourcing and pre-purchase is a good way to get around this problem, because the company can produce their products knowing that they are financed and that some of the items are already sold. It also helps to make people feel ownership of the product before they’ve bought it, which Nodder mentions as a good strategy later in the same chapter.

A start-up company has to create functional and aesthetically pleasing products with an identity first. Then forget about secrecy – get the word out about it. And while scarcity can be a good way to create hype about a product, it is also a gamble for a start-up who needs to sell items to stay in business. Nodder’s list of ways to create desire still applies to start-ups. It’s just that these companies should turn the list up-side-down and focus on functionality, aesthetics and identity first. And they should just forget about secrecy – they can’t afford to be secretive about what they’re doing.

From Commenting in Networked Forums to Designing for Interaction….

Hi everyone,

So last Thursday we had a discussion of the readings that Magnus provided for us (see Oct 19th).  He chose these readings to accompany a presentation of his current research work on the issue of commenting in networked/online forums.  I found these readings to be very helpful in thinking about the kinds of dynamics to consider when thinking about how a networked platform invites community formation through commentary.  My notes (shared with all of you in class and on the class website) on Magnus’ two readings outline some of the main arguments offered by Reagle Jr. & Suler.  As I mentioned  in class, you are invited to expand on those ideas by collaborating in this open “notes” document.

Magnus’ walked us through the history of his project describing his methodology as an iterative process in which he has fine tuned his own taxonomy of commenting.  The process he sketched out reveals his considerable commitment (excellent!) with the efficacy of his methodology, and the intention to tighten up the reliability of the data collected.  The question that I think emerged for me overall is why is this study important?  Why do we need to think about the patterns and nuances that emerge in different commentary forums online?  What might these different commenting behaviors reveal for us when we think about community formation in the 21st century?  What do the commenting trends teach us about the nature of digitized notions of community?  What do these commenting trends teach us about the formation/development of human community in the digital age?  I think these questions are key to making this research matter in a significant way.

I think some important organizational concerns have emerged for me at this stage in our seminar proceedings.  In short, I think you all need to consider your preparation for this “discussion lead” with more nuance.  In our course syllabus I included the following description of what it means to take the helm as the discussion leader during this phase of our seminar (see course syllabus):

One of you will take the lead with specific readings and content of your choice.  In other words, you will be the discussion leader for a class period.  For your presentations, you will lead our class consideration of the assigned readings and organize our time together productively.  … 

***As our class leader, you should develop your own “lesson plan” or protocol for how we will engage with the text(s) and the ideas as a learning community.  You are welcome to -present the material, -distribute new supplementary material for us, -give us some guiding questions or prompts/ideas we can respond to and work with, -lead us in certain pedagogical exercises that will open up our understanding of the ideas for that week.  Be creative with the readings!  Think about new ways to work with colleagues to share this material and engender meaningful discussion.

In moving forward, I really hope that you will all take the time to prepare a thorough presentation of what you are working on, and why you chose the readings you selected for us to consider in light of your work.  You should plan a discussion about your own research thus far, sharing your questions and concerns about your own process.  I think it is useful to develop a few formal questions to prompt the seminar group with, as you think through your work more purposefully.  In short, this “discussion lead” protocol is your designated time to connect your research intentions with your own reflections regarding life in the networked digital age.  By preparing your presentation thoroughly, you will move your work along significantly.

So…..Anders is up next.  He will present to us a map of his ideas about his “Trolls of Norway” project – an online networked experience he is designing for eventual scale up in a public sector/open context.  He will link a walkthrough and explanation of his project map with a reading from “Evil by Design: Interaction Design Leads us Into Temptation” by Chis Nodder.  Please read the chapter entitled “Envy” (137-168) and like each week, blog a reflection of the reading. You can blog about your thoughts on online/networked interaction design.  For most of you, I think this text will be of real interest in your work moving forward.

Looking forward to our next seminar session!

Sincerely,

Dr. Zamora

 

 

Comments online

This week we were assigned readings from our fellow student, who is looking at comments found online (news articles and social media).

On the one hand, Suler (The Online Disinhibition Effect) focuses on the luxury of the anonymity that is offered online and engages individuals to share their opinion in a comment format. On the other hand, Reagle  (Reading the Comments) puts up with the toxicity in comments sections. Bringing these views together, this video approaches the comments discussion from a design/interface perspective.

As an everyday life observer, I would like to point out the qualitative difference of comments posted on social media or on news articles. In both cases, I can see the intention behind the comments made, this is why categorizing the comments had been a brilliant idea!

However, is it the perception of anonymity that encourages participation through comments, or the diverse nature of commitment that commenting implies?

In other words, when submitting a comment on an article, one has to be a member/register a username; if there are replies to comments, the authors get notified. This also happens in social media, with the main difference that notifications refer to replies or other comments/tags made by familiar persons (friend list). So, when commenting on a news article, the main intention would be to be heard, share an opinion or even direct the audience towards relevant discussions that are interest-driven in some cases.

How easy and appealing is it to comment online?

I recently noticed that while reading an article on Facebook, the cursor flashes in the comment field, engaging the reader to comment. Personally, I see bigger potential in comment fields content, evolving mimics of the post field content or even of search engines content and databases. Lately, I discovered this interesting tool useful to researchers who would like to explore the FAQ. I could not help myself but try it with the “comments on” search and here’s what I got:

It seems that people are very interested to read through comments on various topics for their own reasons.

After having completed the readings and watched the video, my personal conclusion about online comments consists of the following attitudes and phenomena:

  • Serial commentators
  • Hushing toxicity
  • Silent majority

All in all, I wonder, is this an identical replica of democracy represented in online participatory cultures? To be honest, it is not very progressive. Is this happening in the real world too? Reminds me of my childhood…

I graduated from a very strict high school (catholic) where students had specific dress code restrictions. Apart from being encouraged to wear decent and clean clothes at all times, we were not allowed to wear T-shirts or sweaters with stamps representing textual statements, music bands, football clubs etc. It is obvious that the school authorities wanted to avoid conflicts and debates among students and limiting youth fan cultures had been their respectful way to do so. Certainly, freedom of speech was highly encouraged, so we could talk about the  football team we support or our favorite band. Does this mean that our comments were invisible?

By the way, you guys let me down, I wore my “JUSTIN FOREVER” T-shirt in class today and there was no comment from any of you 🙁

Would you comment if I made this statement online?

Comments, trolls & disinhibition

In this weeks blog I’ll be taking a closer look at the comment system and the consequences of anonymity on social media and just the web in general. A classmate of mine has given me two good works on this, more specifically ‘The Online Disinhibition Effect’ by J. Suler and ‘Reading the Comments’ by J. M. Reagle.

 

I feel like talking about Suler is a good starting point on how online behaviour can work differently from real life performance. The disinhibition effect is the phenomenon whereby people online express emotions and desires that they would otherwise restrain offline. He makes a distinction between ‘benign disinhibition’ and ‘toxic disinhibition’, whereby the former is the situation where people display a large amount of hospitality and friendliness and the latter, the state where they express hateful and rude statements. Suler states that the anonymity, or even physical invisibility to a minor extent, we obtain online is a big factor in the creation of the effect.

While I understand the difference between the two versions I feel as if, the benign effect can’t really be called as an expression of suppressed feelings as the toxic one. People whom are friendly online, I think are by nature also very friendly people offline. While people who behave in a rude, hateful and discriminatory way online, aren’t necessarily also bad people offline. It wouldn’t be surprised if some Internet trolls are actually nice people in real life, but take on a complete new personality when they surf on the Internet.

This ‘Online Disinhibition Effect’ is important to keep in mind, as we move to the next work, namely that of J. M. Reagle. His text talks more specifically about comments on online blogs, forums and social media. I think we all have looked at the comments of a video or social media post before and found that it sometimes contains some very hateful messages. The comments are just an example of the effect described by Suler. Because our identity is protected by our anonymity online, we are free to comment whatever we want on what we find. A few famous youtubers have decided to disable their comment sections in the past, some of them even permanent. Many have stated that this action had an impact on their channel.

Another famous example where toxic comments come forth is on news articles on Facebook. Even though I try to stay away from them, I sometimes can’t resist reading them and finding out some very ignorant comments. When it comes to politics many take on a very cynical, even sour (as we say in dutch) attitude. While Facebook goes against the anonymity principle that is brought forth by both the authors, it is still not enough to block some very toxic comments. I personally think this has to do with the fact that even though our identity is exposed, nothing holds us accountable for what we write in comment sections. If people call someone out on a lie in a response to a comment, many of them will either ignore it or attack that person back.

Just today (15th of October), I saw a perfect example of the topic of this blog post. It was a news article by De Morgen, which a Flemish quality newspaper about a statement by the actress Mayim Bialik, who plays in The Big Bang Theory. It was about the recent scandal involving Weinstein in Hollywood. I won’t go further on this as it’s not of importance here but if you followed the news for the past week then you definitely heard of it. She said that because she dresses just mediocre and doesn’t really flirt with people, she never had the problem of men harassing her. In a perfect society women should be able to dress how they want etc., but because that’s not the society we live in, women are to be careful in those things. When I took a look at the comment section I was kinda disgusted with the responses to the article. One guy stated that she dresses mediocre because she has nothing to show for in the first place, another one calling her a dumb religious child. One guy even stated that she has been going crazy for a while now, speaking as if he personally knows her. 2 out the 3 profiles of the people I stated above where fake accounts. So here again the anonymity makes it so they can say whatever they want without it ever harming them in real life.

 

It is one of the many sad things that have come with the rising popularity of social media, and sadly one that is very hard to counter. Though we shouldn’t just look at the toxic comments, but also appreciate the encouraging ones or those with constructive criticism. As with anything on the Internet, there’s a good and bad side to it.


My thoughts on readings provided by a fellow student.

This weeks blog will be based on a few readings provided by a fellow student of mine and his intriguing Masters Thesis on Online Commenting.

The first reading I did was, Reading the Comments : Likers, Haters, and Manipulators at the Bottom of the Web by Joseph M. Reagle.

The text starts off with an explanation on where commenting had their “origins” and what it was mostly used for back in the days when the internet made its first steps towards maturity.
What really caught my eye though is when he mentions Dunbar´s eponymous number of 150.
This is the “magic number” that signals when a community has grown to large, and the commenting that was once (possibly) insightful and productive turn into a mishmash of trolling, hate, graffiti and nonsense comments. The magic is gone from what once was a well working community.
Not only does this signify that if a community grows to large, it will almost every time turn toxic, but that to keep the “magic” of such communities, you will need to restrict the number of users or contributors in order for it not to turn out like that.
Restricting members will again alienate the very people you are trying to reach with your content. It really is a “damned if you do, damned if you dont” scenario, and I find this aspect of the different web communities incredibly interesting.

I’m relating this to my own Masters Thesis, wich will be about engaging the silent majority in participatory culture and critical thinking. What good is it to try to contribute and participate if you turn out to be locked out of all the different forums and communities, because they reached 150ish members already.
How much do you get out of trying to participate in a forum where half the posts are trolling or toxic because there are no restriction on the number of contributors?
Should there be censoring or moderation on each forum making sure that its open to all, but the trolls and toxicity are kept from the public, and who would put up with such a job? Also, wont there be a lot of personal biases or cultural biases permeating those stuck with the job of censoring? Is not the act of censoring going against all that the “free web” is supposed to be?

Having such a discussion on how to keep commenting fruitful and not hostile in the large could be very interesting, and could yield some unique views on how to achieve the one or another.

Later on Reagle writes about Dave Winer, and his idea to make commenting on blogs invisible. The idea is that once a blog post is published, you have a certain amount of time to make a comment, 1000 words/characters or shorter, but it will not become visible until after the set time has expired. So once the time is up, all comments are visible, and no further commenting is possible, and anyone that has the need to make a longer remark or would like to follow-up on another’s comment, should do so in their own blogs.
By using a “trackback” function, anyone who had someone blog about their blog would receive a notification, and they could then visit the blog and see what that person had written in response.
Allegedly this idea was put to the test, and it ended badly, with spammer and scammer making instant use of this function to bog down bloggers with unsavory content.

Another point that’s made is that one of the easiest ways of partly constricting toxicity is to do like Facebook and Google+, require users to use their full name, wich immediately removes the anonymity provided by other forums and communities. This is partly true, but as most people can attest, it does not remove trolling or toxic comments in the whole. Facebook still struggles with such comments, both in the public sphere and in closed groups.

The read ends with going back to one of the first points made, that good communities grow, and once they grow too much, the users leave because it has gone “downhill” its back to the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” paradox.

The second reading, The Online Disinhibition Effect, John Suler.

A quick explanation, The online disinhibition effect is a term used for the phenomena of acting without or with lacking inhibitions online compared to their offline behavior.
Suler divides the Inhibitions into two categories, Benign Inhibitions – where you share your fears and emotions, or actively show kindness or go out of your way to help others, and Toxic Inhibitions – where you are hostile, hateful or visit places of perversion, crime, and violence. Activities that one would not engage in in real life.

Suler makes a point of writing about anonymity and the consequences of being “hidden” when your online. This anonymity is the biggest contributor to toxic behavior, the fact that it cannot be traced back to you ( it can, but it requires a lot of effort, and in some cases legal action) makes it incredibly easy to behave in a toxic manner.
The anonymity the screen provides, and the lack of needing to divulge ones personal information (full name and email) is providing all the right tools for anyone to become a troll or bully. There are no negative consequences to one self.

Further Suler mentions Solipsistic Introjection, in short, when you have conversations with other people in your head, projection their person into a dialogue with yourself even though they are not there. This can also happen when you talk to people online, as you write to them, and learn more about them , you assign them a face, voice, a personality and character, based on what they write to you.
In my opinion, this is blurring the lines or reality, and is leaning more towards having psychological issues then just projection a persona to the person you are writing to.
One thing is to make a reflected guess unto what personality the person has in retrospect to your writings back and forth, it is a whole other case to actually assign them all the other human characteristics.
It is almost like your creating an imaginary friend that you can talk to,  wich, in my opinion, if you do in adult age is a clear sign that you have a deep-rooted psychological issue. ( My apologies to anyone I offend with this remark )
Having fictional dialogue with a person you know, a good friend, or your partner is fine, but to attribute the same notion to a person you`ve only written to online is not.

Emily Finch is mentioned for her work with dissociative Imagination, in this context, when people see their online persona and activities as a part of a game, and not real life. They have a definite boundary between online and offline, and they separate the two.
This is a dangerous notion, because that would mean that people who has this dissociative imagination no longer think of their actions online as anything that has meaning or consequence, if it is all a game, then who does it affect when they act toxic or post something they should not.
Gamefication in everyday life may help to speed this dissociative state of mind, as more and more of everyday life in some way is beginning to seem like a game. You have achievements in apps like snapchat, or a scoring system, telling you how many points you or your friends have gathered. There are pervasive games, even further blurring the line between game and reality.

Linking this back to comments and commenting it would mean that once you are online, you are “in a game”, and as such, nothing you say or do will have any consequence for your “offline self”. Toxic or chivalrous behaviour doesn’t matter anymore, and if you “play a role” when you are online, then it is normal to experiment with said role. One day you’re a social justice warrior, the next your a toxic hater, spreading vile as you post, further down the line, you might be a white knight, trying to rid the internet of such characters as you yourself just played, by reporting toxic content, or by defending a person antagonized in a post by trolls or toxic comments.

Lastly, I was given a video to watch, and it my (not so) humble opinion, it is a nugget of gold hidden in the mud of user-generated content. It is definitively worth watching, wich is why I will not write about it. Go watch it, you`ll be better off if you do.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lvf8koqX_yE <—- glorious link.
The clip is 6 minutes long, and worth every second of it.

As always, if you agree/disagree with me, leave a comment, so that I can be super toxic and hateful, seeing as all this is just a game anyhow 😉
Honestly though, feel free to leave a comment.