Comment on Learning the Ropes of Netvibes by Ruth

Thanks, Sabrina! I don’t find myself on Netvibes that often, but I think it’s a great skill to maintain. I’m still trying to figure out how to give it more entertainment value, but I’m afraid that if I do, I will find my focus drifting. I did make my to-do list the front page so that it’s my focus, but now, it’s even easier to look at the news I’m interested in seeing. Still trying to balance all of this.

Hey, Credit Belongs to My Throwaway Account!

On Tuesday the topic of anonymity was briefly brought up during a learner lecture. Although it was mentioned in passing, it sparked a series of questions for me regarding the value people place on credit.

From an early age we are taught to always credit our sources. We are taught not to plagiarize and that cheating is just about the worst academic sin there is. We know in online communities (such as Reddit) it is common that someone will post original content, such as a joke, an entertaining personal anecdote, or a funny photo, and someone else will repost it without attributing credit to the original source.

I’m 100% in support of citing original sources, but the topic of anonymity has me thinking about the value we place on credit even when we are anonymous. Specifically, what are the reasons that cause a person to want credit to be attributed to his “throwaway” account? Let’s define a throwaway account as an account that is not linked to the user’s real identity in any way and that the user does not intend to ever use again; a user creates a post or comment as a one-time action.

Consider this scenario: In a forum of jokes, a “lurker” (someone who only reads posts, and never comments) in inspired to create a throwaway account so he can contribute his own joke to the thread. Another user steals his joke and the repost rises to the front page and gets tons of karma/upvotes/internet-points. The original poster then becomes upset because his joke is popular and he isn’t getting the credit.

Why does the original poster care?
The following are two possible reasons, that don’t necessarily (and most likely don’t) occur in isolation:

1. The Currency has Value to the Original Poster Only After He Posts:
Even though upvotes don’t have monetary value, they do provide emotional and psychological value, just like points in a video game do. The original poster used a throwaway account; it wasn’t his intention when he posted to accrue karma, and he didn’t care about karma points. After seeing his content rise to the top, points that were once meaningless to him suddenly attain meaning because they are a reflection of the value of something he created, just like how you might not care about points in a game until you are the one actually playing, or how you might regret discovering you sold something for less than it is worth. Here, the karma had no value to the poster until the poster saw what his post was worth.

2. The Principle of the Point

Seeing somebody else is getting karma points for a joke that person didn’t create could make the original poster feel cheated. After all, his original content was stolen, so even if he was cheated out of something he never wanted in the first place and that he still has no interest in, the principle of the point is that he was cheated.

My question has to do with the latter reason. Let’s say the poster truly doesn’t care about karma points, and even after seeing how much karma the content accrues he still has no interest in continuing to use the account he had created. When that is the case, why does it matter to the poster that it be known to the world that the reposter did not create the original content? Assuming the content would rise to the top regardless of who posts it, what are the reasons that a throwaway account owner who doesn’t care about karma would want credit to be attributed to his throwaway account?

I have some ideas but I’ll wait to comment on them until I hear some of your own thoughts. If you know of any literature on this, please share! Thank you for reading!

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Comment on Curating Twitter Lists! by Ruth

Hey Brooke! That’s awesome that you’re a fan of comics! I once met Stan Lee, and it was the best day of my life! I love Marvel!
What is your favorite comic?

Also, you mention that Twitter had some suggestions of people to follow. Had you heard of these people before? Did you like Twitter’s suggestions?