What does ethics mean to me? First off, I guess do no harm...but how do you guarantee that? What looks beneficial now may be harmful later. We have many examples of that. Secondly, I can suggest ethics based on social justice and equity, but I could easily ask whose justice, equity for whom? Certain people can be terrorists or freedom fighters depending on where you stand. When I was engaged with community research, I tried to cleave to the idea that the participants in the research needed to be involved in the ethical decisions about what could be done, what data could be collected. Which was fine until there happened to be results that did not sit well with the community. Were those results to be discarded? Those particular insights not shared widely? Who owned the data? So, I am left with thinking/feeling that ethics is very contextual, not without bias and emerges in time and space.
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My interest has been peaked for a few reasons. First of all, my past research in online environments has centered on trust and community development. I believe that trust is intimately tied to ethics. If someone demonstrates ethical behaviour, either online or on the ground, we are more inclined to trust them. If we choose to act ethically we are assuring others that we can be trusted to do at the very least no harm. Now don't get me started on the definitions of trust and ethics as I fell that both are context dependent...maybe? My thinking on this is a work in progress. Second, when I first began to study online environments there weren't any social media platforms. (in this I don't include online communities although I believe that they are inherently social and depend on some form of communication media). When I started there was little discussion of privacy, data surveillance and collection, etc. and the Association of Internet Researchers had yet to come up with an
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