Web 2.0, Virtual Worlds, and Real Ethical Issues

Web 2.0, Virtual Worlds, and Real Ethical Issues

Sue Conger (University of Dallas, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-100-3.ch117
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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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