After reading the comments to Pyxis piece “Red’s Lesson” my head was buzzing with thoughts. Hearing these stories of people falling for someone they meet online in a game is very interesting and it’s a story I’ve heard many times before. The number of people this seems to happen to surprised me greatly when I first started playing an MMO.
Seeing the comments in Pyxis post reminded me of what I read about “The Online Disinhibition Effect” when I was guest writing for Rav about why we ‘troll’. This study by John Suler presents six features of online society which can elicit us to act differently than in the real world.
“Everyday users on the Internet—as well as clinicians and researchers1–7—have noted how people say and do things in cyberspace that they wouldn’t ordinarily say and do in the face-to-face world. They loosen up, feel less restrained, and express themselves more openly. So pervasive is the phenomenon that a term has surfaced for it: the online disinhibition effect.”
–The Online Disinhibition Effect, John Suler 2004