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Playing Nice on the ‘Net

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ScienceOnline 2010 will take place January 15-17, and ScienceBloggers Janet Stemwedel and Dr. Isis will co-lead a session on “online civility.” Janet sparks the discussion on Adventures in Ethics and Science, asking if civility online entails something different than it does in real life. On Bioephemera, Jessica Palmer responds that an “us/them mentality” already fosters misunderstanding in the real world, and unless we want the internet to be “a bunch of bickering echo chambers,” we should listen to each other with respect. On A Blog Around The Clock, Coturnix notes that written language is our primary means of expression online–we have no sounds, body language, or facial expressions to clue us in. Coturnix also distinguishes between civility and politeness, writing that “one can stab another with a knife and slowly twist it while keeping complete composure and a smile.” Back on Adventures in Ethics and Science, Janet appreciates the advantages of written communication, such as the fact that you can’t interrupt someone’s comment post. And finally James Hrynyshyn shows us what it takes to cross the line on The Island of Doubt, telling the story of a commenter who got banned from an otherwise inclusive discussion group.

Links below the fold.

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