Preserving opportunities in internet research: a commentary on ‘Studying Cyborgs’
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Information technology has certainly had – and is having – pervasive and often dramatic effects on practically every aspect of modern life. By conceptualizing internet users as cyborgs, Schultze and Mason offer a thought-provoking analysis of the increased entanglement between our digital and non-digital selves and the concomitant implications on scientific research. The article does an excellent job of illustrating these eroding distinctions. The problem is quite important, but also quite difficult: while our digital presences offer rich, unprecedented opportunities for understanding, they simultaneously offer rich, unprecedented opportunities for abuse.
Foremost, there is undoubtedly value in re-examining ethical guidelines for research on the basis of internet data. As with all other areas of information technology, change is rapid. Norms and standards quickly become dated. What is normal in one online community may be quite different in another. The authors illustrate the value in...
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