Someone made a comment the other day which I found interesting. They claimed that “An assumption of trust is central to all participation online.” (OK, I’m being a tad disingenuous – it’s an essay topic set by my lecturer. Still, I’d prefer to handle my initial exploration in a conversational style.)
Off the top of my head, I can think of at least one arena where trust is not assumed, and doesn’t exist. It’s the battlefield of the troll. Believe it or not, gentle reader, there are fora in which people gather to batter each other with annoying arguments. Hate groups, for example, often attract those who have an opposing point of view, and sometimes there are enough adversarial souls present to ensure that it’s on for young and old.
I’ll not post links here. However, if you’re on Facebook, you could search on groups/pages that seek to impeach current or past presidents of the USA, that suggest that soldiers are or are not heroes, or that assert the superiority of X over Y.
In this setting, the posters have no desire to be tracked down by those they oppose. Fake profiles are common, and if the profile isn’t fake, the privacy settings are maxed out. Trust is a weakness to be exploited in this seamy section of the web.
I’ll not explore this theme any further just at the moment, but I hope I’ve shown that not all participation online requires trust among the participants.