FAI: Freedom and Authority on the Internet

Writing Assignment 1: A Rape In Cyberspace

Summary: In this assignment, you will write a short essay arguing for a mechanism of resolving a violation of community norms in an online environment.

Due: 8:15 a.m., Thursday, 30 August 2007

To Turn In: Fourteen printed copies of your essay (double-spaced, please). Please email me a copy of your essay, too.

Purposes: I intend this assignment and your work for the assignment to provide a variety of benefits. In particular, I expect that they will

Background: As the Internet moved from an environment primarily for researchers and other academics to an environment that supported commnication by normal people, varioius forms of online communities appeared. One interesting form of online community was the MOO, an online world in which participants can choose their own identities.

There are a few key articles that repeatedly appear in discussions of online communities at the time (and their impact on more modern online communities). One that we will consider is A Rape in Cyberspace, an article written by Julian Dibbell and published in late 1993 by The Village Voice. In the essay, Dibbell reports on a member of the community who significantly violated community norms. In addition to describing how the community resolved the problem, Dibbell also notes a variety of alternate proposals for resolving the problem.

Essay Topic: Your challenge is to argue for a particular mechanism for resolving this problem. You may rely on your own opinions, on personal experience, on appropriate writings you identify, on appropriate laws, on the actions of the community described in the article, or anything similar. specific claim you make.

Assigned Perspectives: For this assignment, I ask you to take a particular perspective. You do not have a choice on your perspective. The assignments are as follows:

Shitanshu, Hanna, Ravi, Alexander, Lee, Jakob, Reed, Juan, Richard, Matti, Jake, and Jordan,

Length: 300-600 words.

Audience: You are writing for the typical Web reader. Your reader has probably communicated on the Web and has perhaps been in some form of online community, but has not thought deeply about the kinds of conflicts that can arise in online communities or about mechanisms for resolving conflict. You may also assume that the reader does not just say It's just a game, why should we care? or something similar.

Your goal is to convince the reader of your assigned perspective.

I expect to post your essays on the Web, so your readers really will be typical Web readers.

Suggested Structure: Because this is a relatively short essay, I suggest that you follow the five paragraph essay format. Here's my version of that format.

You should refer to the Williams and McInerny essay as you work on your introductory and concluding paragraphs.

Citing Sources: I expect you to use at least one source in addition to the primary source. Cite all sources at the end in APA format.



Friday, 27 July 2007 [Samuel A. Rebelsky]

Sunday, 19 August 2007 [Samuel A. Rebelsky]


Disclaimer: I usually create these pages on the fly, which means that I rarely proofread them and they may contain bad grammar and incorrect details. It also means that I tend to update them regularly (see the history for more details). Feel free to contact me with any suggestions for changes.

This document was generated by Siteweaver on Tue Oct 9 08:14:52 2007.
The source to the document was last modified on Sun Aug 19 19:02:08 2007.
This document may be found at http://www.cs.grinnell.edu/~rebelsky/Courses/Tutorial/2007F/Homework/writing.01.html.

You may wish to validate this document's HTML ; Valid CSS! ; Check with Bobby

Samuel A. Rebelsky, rebelsky@grinnell.edu