The saturation of the Internet and social networking social services is proving to be problematic not only for the information society service providers trying to optimise bandwidth, but also the many websites which are hosted in cyberspace.

The managers of these, called systems operators, or sysops face challenges in terms of navigating a legal landscape where for simply providing a computed-mediated communications platform they can be liable for all the actions of their users. Some sysops, however, will exploit the immediacy of cyberspace by using certain unfair terms and processes, which in some cases makes a contract unenforcable.

Contracts, such as terms and conditions, or “house rules’ can offer a way for sysops to get out of obligations not due to their fault, so their users can avoid manipulation. aggression, and deception, particularly if they are from vulnerable or disabled groups.

Through also using “gamification,” which is the application of gaming principles to non-gaming environments. In order to maximise the use of gamification, sysops need to consider several issues. Namely; existence, performanci and jurisdiction of contracts; user anonymity and confidentiality; and avatars and the embodimen of trust. The existence and performance of con tracts agreed between sysops and users can restric sysop prerogative in a number of ways. Sysops may say in their terms and conditions that certain abusive behaviours are not welcomed, but often will do nothing to enforce these policies.

Issues such as anonymity, usually manifested through pseudonyms that are not anonymous, can increase flame trolling and this could leave sysops open to claims. The use of avatars as a means for users to create a persistent identity can be abused through the trust that users get which are embodied through them. Such means can lead to sysops being opei to misrepresentation.

Further Reading

Bishop, Jonathan (2014). My Click is My Bond: The Role of Contracts, Social Proof, and Gamification for Sysops to Reduce Pseudo-Activism and Internet Trolling. In: Jonathan Bishop (Ed.) Gamification for Human Factors Integration: Social, Educational and Psychological Issues. IGI Global, Hershey, PA. Available online at: http://www.jonathanbishop.com/Library/Documents/EN/docIGIPaper_ClickBond.pdf

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