Saturday, February 7, 2009

Online Self Regulation?

These few days, many articles in the newspapers have been commenting on the online self regulation of forums and blogs. One of our ministers made a comment that online self regulation doesn't work.

I beg to disagree... Anyone who participates in the online community knows that online self regulation does work, if you provide the necessary tools. For example, if someone posts something offensive in a forum post, and you have a moderator and a reporting link available, the post will be moderated or removed once it is reported. Likewise, if someone writes something that is off the norm, you'll see a barrage of posts, for and against the topic. However, if the information being discussed is not publicly known or available, then you'll see some sort of one-sided debate in the forum.

There are always 2 sides to a story. Looking from the other perspective, why did few people try to correct the impression of the MP who got attacked? Note that the online community acts on publicly available information. No matter how good an MP is, if the actions are not perceivable by the general public, then it does not matter. In the online world, there is usually no smoke without fire.

I do not know or keep track of this particular case but knowing the way the online world works, something the MP done previously might have triggered a bad impression, causing a pent-up resentment which burst forth after he was attacked. Usually if someone is known to be of good repute in the online world, people will rush to the person's defense immediately. According to the newspapers, this is not the case.

Is this a case where someone felt that one is doing a good job, but it's not perceived as such by the people below? Or is it a case where something was done for their own good, but it is misunderstood by the people below? I do not know... In the corporate world, this happens quite often, sad to say.

This is the power of the Internet.

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