Clashing discourses

Freezing vs PlastinationOn Practical Ethics I blogged about Limiting the damage from cultures in collision, how clashing cultures of discourse can make a debate chaotic or even destructive. I took a bit of risk since the post dealt with things tangential to Gamergate, and I did indeed get some vigorous commenting – some of which was on target. A fair bit was a neat illustration of my thesis instead.

One interesting tip I got was from Adam Hyland about the paper 4chan and /b/: An Analysis of Anonymity and Ephemerality in a Large Online Community by Bernstein et al. They give some support for the ideas in the essay that started my post, how forums with high anonymity and ephemerality can produce very different discourse cultures. As some commenters in the twitter threat point out, however these forums also have methods of retaining memory – but it is a non-individual collective memory, rather a strict memory of who said what.

We can play around with how anonymous/pseudonymous/true nameish, ephemeral/permanent, quick/middle/long messages  are on a forum we build. It seems likely that somewhat predictable consequences  on the culture of discourse and how identity works would ensue: it would be a great project to test.