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squirbel's avatar

Is it possible to be territorial on the Internet?

Asked by squirbel (4292points) March 10th, 2008 from iPhone

We’ve heard cases of children frustrated that parents and other adults are encroaching on their “safe havens” of MySpace, etc… And adults in World of Warcraft complaining about the youth in the game.

The Internet is a vast virtual land, how can you stake claim to what is yours? Or can you? Are the communities in an online space as territorial as those in real life?

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11 Answers

benkreeger's avatar

This question is especially applicable in the Web 2.0 world as it is.

I believe it’s possible to be territorial, but I also think that peoples’ attitudes should remain open, as that’s what the web is coming to be all about: a global community with members of all shapes and sizes. Respect everyone else, and we all get along.

Zaku's avatar

Sure, by making something invitation-only. Private clubs. Happens all the time.

However for parents, they are in trouble especially when their kids are more determined/bored and tech-savvy than they are, and the parents are thinking of it as an Internet problem rather than a parenting problem (because, that is a parenting problem).

jrpowell's avatar

I think a bit of mob-rule goes a long way. If ten people tell you to STFU you should probably listen. Take metafilter.com (my main time killer on the Internet) as a example. It has about 70k members and three people administer the site. The community keeps the community in check.

cwilbur's avatar

You’re being very tactful. You omitted the case of old Flutherites versus the hordes of iPhone users, which is the relevant case at hand.

And yes, it’s essential to be territorial, except that the territory under consideration is attention span rather than anything physical. I only have so much attention, and I want to find things that are worthy of it. Fluther, up until two weeks ago or thereabouts, was definitely worthy of it—so I’m quite territorial about defending my attention.

squirbel's avatar

I try for neutrality; something must be the constant in every investigation!

Breefield's avatar

Have you seen those scholars over at Barbelith, they’ll rip your clicker off the screen within one second of making a questionable post.

paulc's avatar

Its entirely possible and its been done for a long time (computer-wise). Any IRC users will know that +sk on your channel means very territorial indeed. Nobody knows of its existence and anyone that happens upon it needs the key to get in. Sites like OiNK (invite only with a probation period) started out with the idea that “stemming the tide” should be done from the very beginning and it works to some degree.

Part of the problem with highly territorial spaces is that they can stagnate quickly. Even highly secretive warez groups are constantly seeking new members. They say that its to get more talent, gear or dump sites but its also partially to keep the social aspect going (that and they are total drama queens).

What seems to be the re-emergent wisdom is that you’re open to new people but have clearly defined and enforceable rules (read: moderation). This is the exact same premise as bulletin board systems, IRC channels and moderated usenet groups have worked under for decades. The requirement is that you have a set of people that are willing to collectively keep the open territory in order.

I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with staking a territory and keeping it the way you want it, especially if you’re the one building it or helping it to grow.

squirbel's avatar

Well said about IRC and OiNK ;)

ironhiway's avatar

Well hot coffee is good, and Iced coffee is good.
Luke warm coffee is not.
Getting them together to taste like Reese’s, not that is the challenge.

Riser's avatar

Excellent question Squirbel. The problem is setting territories in their respective place.

I grew up in a dictatorship, a system I now appreciate, where I was a resident of the United States of America but a citizen of the Riser household, and as a Riser citizen I had no rights on the computer, only privileges… much like the American driver’s license.

The “open-to-everyone” mentality is only a recent concept.

If a forum is created to maintain a level of intelligence, like Fluther, it must do what is absolutely necessary to thrive.

At the same token… the influx of iPhone users in recent weeks, myself included, are a direct result of Fluther’s founder’s actions.

With no intended disrespect: Ben and Andrew have opened this Pandora’s box. In looking at that way it isn’t the “noobs” fault for weakening Fluther. As a community we need to take responsibility for our territory.

Spargett's avatar

Territorialism is in the mind. It’s just how people in relationships think they own other people.

Nothing needs to be tangible to feel threatened by something else impeding on it. Just look at ideas, i.e. religion and politics.

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