Project ANONYMOUS background research

As in previous posts explained, for our project we have thought about an anonymous live tweeting website. This idea requires wider background research as well as the naming of inspirational websites/apps and looking into current debates about anonymity in the internet.

First of all, let us look at pages that follow the concept of anonymity. One of them is called 4Chan.org. It was founded in October 2003 and is an English language, image based, message board with a simple design. On the site, users post anonymously images and comments across the 49 offered message boards. Most of them are dedicated to fandom cultures, like comic books, video games or anime as well as border interests like for example photography or fashion. To use the site, to post and comment, you are not required to set up an account. By now, there are nearly 18 million unique site visitors and over 730 pages viewed a month.

Problem with this concept: Because users are able to hide behind the anonymity, a lot of 4Chans content is offensive, racist, homophobic and vulgar. None of the posters have to be afraid of consequences or a bad reputation and because of that they are not scared to say whatever comes to their mind.

The question now is how we could prevent our ANONYMOUS-Website from turning into something uncontrollable with a lot of offensive content. We thought the fact that the posters have to set up an account even though they post anonymously might help. They are still able to write out their thought as they want to but they would also know that, in case of strong misuse, they would not be completely sheltered from possible consequences. Since we are planning to set up a University website, we thought of maybe requiring a Student ID for setting up an account. In case of offensive comments regarding the University or other students this might be an easy and effective way to enforce consequences.


References:

Knuttila, L., 2011. User unknown: 4Chan. Anonymity and Contingency. First Monday [online], Volume 16, Number 10. Available from: http://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3665/3055 [Accessed 03/06/2015]

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