<Ned> Front Porch
Comment by Michele Lifshen Reing
Interesting conversation. Some of those "mind blind" things mentioned can be looked at in a different way, too. It's a bit off-topic, but...
One aspect that I like about the online world is that it "levels" the playing field to some degree; online connections bypass superficial characteristics - those physical traits or other personality quirks upon which we make judgments. While we may end up being judged by other criteria, at least initially there are fewer impediments to getting to know someone and from the other side of it, to revealing yourself. I am a big fan of meeting f2f as well; I believe that connecting in the physical world keeps people honest and real. Real life get-togethers cement good friendships started online. On the other hand, they can also alter an online dynamic or even curtail a web-based relationship; I've grown apart from one or two people that I've met online following the f2f...funny how that works.
Back to meanness...well I do think the screen fosters a braveness that for many just isn't there in person.
I do really like those points by Phil Jones.
Sue, I'm fascinated by your experience via Second Life, which I think ends up being a different sort of online environment than say, a place like ned. Not sure how to express that coherently, tho'...maybe as Mark or someone said, it has something to do with presentation of self as real name or alter-ego...