I feel that the issue with rape online, the ordeal with the student from NYU and online chat room visual reality is all very complex. In class I did point out that I felt that the woman was definitely violated. While I do strongly believe this I do also think that whole situation was messed up on way too many levels. Dibbell not only exposed the reality of violation online but also the personal community that people seek either for purposes of social interaction, virtual sex or a place where anybody can be free to act as they would like obviously within reason. It was hard for me to understand why some of my classmates did not feel that some of the action that was taken on the student was necessary. I think that this brings up the important point of how and when is the government going to begin to adopt laws that deal with violations on the internet. It really shows how the internet as evolved in to our lives and our community and how maybe it has to be taken seriously like the real world with laws and such.
A point that I found interesting in the article was when Dibbell states about LambdaMoo, "it was a kind of database especially designed to give users the vivid impression of moving through a physical space that in reality only exists as descriptive data filed away on a hard drive (201)". I felt that this point in itself made a point to how the women could have definitely feel as if she was violated even if not in real life. Maybe it is hard for people to get there heads around all of this, but feeling as if you are having a "real" experience online or in virtual worlds is exactly was computer programmers want. This article is just an example of one of the downsides to being able to have humans emotionally connect to a certain space.
Another point that this article made note of is the sensitivity that people have with their space online. Even though the clown did horrible things, there was definitely an overall sense of users disapproving of what he had done but also hating him for ruining the easy- going ness of the space. People are allowing themselves to live in these virtual worlds. First Life and Second life are prime examples of this. Even if you look at these examples I question whether people are wary of the harmful affects that these virtual reality sites have already started to have on people's relationships in the real world. Divorce is already too high; these types of sites could start to have an impact on to the increasing statistics. This is what I don't think people take seriously; everything has had affect on society even if we do not realize the affects until years later. Why is it that so many people feel free and comfortable to live a world that is not real but almost seems as real as real life itself? Why has it come to this?
As you can see it is hard for me to get my head around these virtual reality sites. I guess what I feel and agree with is a lot like many of the authors that we have read this semester. Why do we have some much faith as humans in the power of being able to control the computer? Yes, at this point things seem to be well and good: people can go online and be free to experience a space as they would like but what about advancing technology. People are creating their own worlds and lives online what it the computer became smart enough to manipulate everything that one built online and be able to take control of humans through this.
I also think that the issue of the public and private sphere needs to be addressed to the issue of online chat rooms and so on.