The choice of complete anonymity versus pseudonymity for aggression online.

Tsikerdekis, M. (2012).
The choice of complete anonymity versus pseudonymity for aggression online.
eMinds International Journal on Human-Computer Interaction. 2(8), 35-57. ISSN: 1697-9613 (print) - 1887-3022 (online)

Abstract
Anonymity is a factor that could lead to disinhibited behavior which is something that could cause damage to many online communities. Anonymity is a generic term and should be analyzed further into different states such as pseudonymity and complete anonymity. In this paper a survey was conducted in order to determine the differences between the two anonymity states in relation to aggression. The findings show that in general, there is no difference in how aggressive a user responds between the two or when users answer with their real names. However, when the differences were tested in context of how strong of an opinion users felt they had about a topic, users that selected ”extremely strong” as their opinion, were found to respond more aggressively under the state of pseudonymity. Based on the evidence of this exploratory study, user-centered design could improve online community behavior by changing the design process, specifically to the approach of anonymity.

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