Wednesday, February 18, 2004

1. On page 56 of Communities in Cyberspace  the author cites the possibility that it may become more difficult in the future to deceptively establish identities online. If we agree that the potential for deception is tied up with the general flexibility of the internet, and possibly also with the ability to interact anonymously, would it be on balance a good thing if deception were more difficult?

2. In a couple different places, the author of “Reading Race Online” makes the following observation: whereas in the real world people make character assumptions based on race, online people make race assumptions based on character traits. There is a fundamental shift from deductive to inductive reasoning. Is this shift reflected in other areas? What does it mean in the long term for the way people think? (I’m thinking of McLuhan with this question. Literacy, according to his work, fundamentally changed the perception and thinking of societies, and I wonder if the shift from deductive to inductive reasoning suggests what changes new media may bring.)

3. On page 86 is the passage: “The probability of the perpetuation or demise of gender differentiation cannot be ascertained without first establishing, at least theoretically, whether gender is a feature of the flesh or a figment of the mind.” I have two questions about this. First, am I misreading her, or is she actually entertaining the possibility of the demise of gender differentiation because of the Internet? Second, is she now proposing to resolve the same binary opposition which she dismissed as a “truth trap” back on page 78?

Them's my three questions. Research proposals to arrive shortly (after I doctor one so it doesn't resemble one of Anna's ideas so much!).


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