General Question

SoapChef's avatar

Could someone use Fluther as a thesis or research project?

Asked by SoapChef (2978points) October 16th, 2008

Could someone be using us as lab rats in a sociological or psychological experiment? Couldn’t someone feasibly have more than one identity on here and use that to manipulate the threads?After filling my husband in on Fluther happenings, he brought this up, not seriously, just musing.

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15 Answers

tonedef's avatar

All in all, it’s just another jellyfish in the wall
All in all, you’re just another jellyfish in the wall

jvgr's avatar

Is it you?

Aren’t we all rats in somebodies lab?

SoapChef's avatar

Lol, no jvgr, like I said just musing. I thought it would be an interesting topic.

augustlan's avatar

Could be…maybe we’ll get famous. For our dysfuntionality?

jvgr's avatar

@SoapChef: Interesting it is.

That someone could be using this board as an experiment is possible, but I’m not sure how it might be useful in that it is such a wide ranging collection of questions from the very specific answerable “how to” to the unresolvable philosophic.

In my short time, I have noticed one specific poster who was posting solely for a person ulterior motive; not group discussion.

I know you posed the issue, but how do you think someone could use this board as a thesis or experiment? I’m certainly interested in what you think, especially since I can’t think of anything.

SoapChef's avatar

@jvgr I guess the usual stuff. What kind of a heirarchy evolves over time, see how people react to one another socially on an anonymous board as opposed to other kinds of social groups, can the collective or parts of it be steered in a certain direction?
Quite honestly, I haven’t thought a great deal about it, just thought it was something different to talk about.

jlm11f's avatar

“Couldn’t someone feasibly have more than one identity on here and use that to manipulate the threads?” – I can answer this one. No, they cannot. It is true that some people have more than one Fluther user name. But they cannot use different names to cause drama/give lurve to themselves etc, because the moderators can tell which users have more than one jelly name and thus will intervene and prevent something like that happening. It is allowed to have another user name in case you want to ask a very personal Q that you don’t want associated w/ your regular user name. However it is not allowed to make multiple accounts to game the system etc.

cyndyh's avatar

Also, the person would have to get permission from each and every person here. There’re ethical rules against using human subjects without their consent.

SoapChef's avatar

Good Lord, before this turns in to niks ill fated thread let me stress this was just a silly “what if” question. I should have probably worded it differently. Like I said I was telling my husband about Fluther and he (not seriously) posed this scenario, minus the lab rat part. That was me feeling snarky today. I genuinely thought it might be a fun thing to speculate about.
@PnL Thanks for the explanation of how the system works!

deaddolly's avatar

they’d come and carry some of us away….

scamp's avatar

Yep, it’s been tried, but failed miserably.

SoapChef's avatar

@ scamp It actually has been tried? Do tell!

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Cyndyh beat me to the punch. And please don’t yell at me for being too serious, this is how my mind works:

No, someone could not “be using” Fluther as a thesis or research project because in the U.S. all Federally funded studies (which basically means all studies because public and private universities both receive Federal funds) must be approved by an ethical review board, which protects the rights of the participants, so we would all have given our informed consent (that we know what kind of research is being done, what the risk and/or benefits might be, and that we’re okay with it), and signed waivers to that effect. Since I have not signed a waiver to that effect, I know that no federally funded research is being done on me on fluther.

This is not to say that someone couldn’t do it, they would just have to jump through a lot of hoops, or that they couldn’t be “collecting research” right now that was for their own person use, and not publicly funded or that would have a snowflake’s chance in hell of being published.

scamp's avatar

@SoapChef, see nikipedia’s post above. Click on it and it will take you to the thread.

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