Case Study

People Online

In the midst of all of the discussion over how to regulate online communities we must not lose focus of the people who populate these communities. In this section we examine the kind of people who are online, why they are there, and how both their own personalities and their interactions with others change online.

Why People Become Involved With Online Communities

The first question we must answer about the people involved with only communities is why do they do it. What motivates a person to enter an online community and what types of people are likely to join these communities. Here we try to get a better understanding of the psychi of online participants.

What Kind of People Are in Online Communities

Are people really themselves once they enter a new online world? How does the anonymity of cyberspace affect the manner in which people behave? Are people looking to express their real world selves in a new forum, or are they looking to take on an entirely new persona in a world where they have greater control over the person they present to the world? Here we analyze the changes that take place as people enter this new world.

How Do People Interact in Online Communities

People are used to communicating and interacting in a certain way in the real world. Online communities suggest a new model of communication and with that new model we are forced to analyze the new means by which people interact. Are online communities just an easier way to communicate that uses our real world rules and guidelines, or has an entirely new set of guidelines been created that shape online interaction? How closely are those guidelines followed and what happens when they are not?