Web 2.0, Virtual Worlds, and Real Ethical Issues

Web 2.0, Virtual Worlds, and Real Ethical Issues

Sue Conger (University of Dallas, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-122-3.ch008
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Social networking sites, enabled by Web 2.0 technologies and embodied in role-playing virtual worlds, are gaining in popularity and use both for recreational and business purposes. Behavioral controls can be regulated through program code restrictions, rules of conduct, and local norms. Most vendor hosts of virtual worlds use code restrictions sparingly, restricting only overtly illegal activities. Otherwise, all worlds publish some form of rules of conduct and rely on the development of in-world local norms to regulate behavior. As a result, many unethical forms of behavior have arisen, including griefing, fragging, and industrial espionage. There is no sure method of solving the unethical forms of behavior unless strong social norms develop; therefore, users must take precautions when acting in virtual worlds to understand how to avoid or deflect virtual attacks of different types.
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Web 2.0 Technologies

Web generations usually are identified by specific software standards like HTML (hypertext markup language) that characterized the beginning of Web 1.0. Web 2.0, however, is not identified by a software standard. Rather, Web 2.0 is characterized as the application of technologies that enable specific interactive capabilities such as coproduction, social networking, and unprecedented forms of communication, with user control and syndication of Web content. Examples of these actions are user-controlled communications of wikis, book reviews on Amazon.com, sharing of activities on MySpace, island development in Second Life, and syndications via YouTube video, blogs, and RSS (really simple syndication).

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