University Press of America
Trim: 6 x 9
978-0-7618-6011-2 • Paperback • October 2012 • $46.99 • (£36.00)
978-0-7618-6012-9 • eBook • October 2012 • $41.50 • (£32.00)
Janet Sternberg is a native New Yorker who grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and earned her Ph.D. in media ecology with Neil Postman at New York University. A former Fulbright scholar, Sternberg is assistant professor of communication and media studies at Fordham University and is a member of their Latin American and Latino studies faculty. She also served as president of the Media Ecology Association. Sternberg has been online since acquiring her first computer, modem, and email account in 1984.
Preface: The Internet at the Turn of the Century
Introduction: Athenians and Visigoths in Cyberspace
1 The Research Objective
Rationale for the Study
The Research Problem
2 The Context of the Study
Media Ecology: The Study of Media Environments
Media as Environments
Environments as Media
Space and Place
Situations, Rules, and Rule-Breaking
Mediated Interpersonal Communication
Computer-Mediated Communication in Online Environments
3 Trouble Brewing in Cyberspace
An Infamous Triad of Troublesome Online Behavior
Flaming: Digital Debates and Virtual Vitriol
Spamming: Electronic Junk Mail and Other Cyber Debris
Virtual Rape: Sexual Harassment in Online Gathering Places
A Frontier Mentality: The Internet Besieged
Two Approaches: External Laws Versus Internal Rules
4 Cybercrime: Law-Breaking on the Internet
The 1994 Denning and Lin Report
Cybercrime and Cyberlaw
Online Security, Attacks, and Viruses
Hackers and Other Denizens of the Cyberspace Underground
First Amendment Follies: Dissent, Free Speech, and Censorship Online
Definition Schizophrenia: Malevolent Criminal or Mischievous Prankster?
The Jurisdiction Circus: No Ringmaster in Cyberspace
5 Misbehavior: Rule-Breaking in Virtual Communities
The 1994 Bruckman Abstract
Misbehavior and its Aliases: Negligent, Naughty, Nasty, and Beyond
Rules and Norms in Virtual Gatherings
Netiquette and Other Codes of Civilized Cyber Conduct
Behavior Management and Social Control in Online Environments
The Status Quo: Theories and Analyses in Search of a Paradigm
6 The Regulation of Online Conduct in Cyber Places
Breaking, Making, and Enforcing Rules Online
Breaking the Rules: Varieties of Virtual Misbehavior
Rule-Breakers: Netiquette Newbies, Packet Pranksters, and Modem Miscreants
Making the Rules: Behavioral Standards for Online Gatherings
Rule-Makers: Netizens Against Digital Misconduct
Enforcing the Rules: Strategies and Techniques for Handling Online Troublemakers
Rule-Enforcers: Moderators, Sysops, Wizards, and Gods on Cyber Patrol
7 Conclusion: A New Sense of Place
From Physical to Behavioral Boundaries
Growing Interest in Local Regulatory Approaches
Misbehavior Offline: Athenians and Visigoths in Everyday Life
About the Author
To be programmed or to program? That is the question. For media ecology scholars, it is time to examine digital media from a new perspective. Janet Sternberg gives her answer to the above question in the book Misbehavior in Cyber Places: The Regulation of Online Conduct in Virtual Communities on the Internet. In comparison with monographs on digital media or human behavior, the book is intriguing because it revisits media ecology both from social and human behavioral perspectives and acts as an important call for scholarship on studies involving situationist-based medium theory.
— International Journal of Communication
[This book] is a foundational work on the new senses of place that are arising with digital media. Sternberg catalogues and analyzes the new genres of mischief and mayhem, nuisances and nastiness, and crimes and creative activism that have emerged in online communities. In so doing, Sternberg creatively reveals the social construction of new conceptions of normative behavior in virtual interactions and the development of the mechanisms to enforce the boundaries of what is seen as ‘acceptable.’ Sternberg is a lucid writer and clear thinker. Her book holds significant long-term theoretical value as a major advance in situationist-based medium theory.
— Joshua Meyrowitz, professor of communication, University of New Hampshire, Durham, author of No Sense of Place
The next real generation of media theorists in the spirit of McLuhan, Ong, and Innis has finally arrived as Janet Sternberg. She revisits media ecology in the social and behavioral landscape of the net, upscaling the study of media onto an altogether new playing field: human misbehavior. From cheaters to spoilsports to shamans, this is not your mother’s media analysis.
— Douglas Rushkoff, Professor of Media Theory and Digital Economics at CUNY/Queens; author of Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now as well as a dozen other bestselling books on media, technology, and culture
This study represents an important contribution to the research on computer communication. Sternberg makes it clear that we cannot fully comprehend behavior online unless we first examine misbehavior, that rules and roles are most visible when they are violated. The media ecology approach that Sternberg employs, especially when incorporating symbolic interactional, relational, and situational perspectives, is essential to a comprehensive understanding of our new electronic environments.
— Lance Strate, professor of communication and media studies, Fordham University, author of On the Binding Biases of Time and Echoes and Reflections
Everyone who has ever used the Internet has experienced online misbehavior first hand. So why haven’t scholars written more about it? Janet Sternberg’s book Misbehavior in Cyber Places is one of the few comprehensive treatments of the issue.
— Amy Bruckman, associate professor in the School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology
A useful inventory of types of social and criminal online misbehavior, understood within a media ecology framework. Flamers, spammers, pranksters, virtual rapists, hackers—Sternberg captures the running battles between the Athenians and Visigoths of virtual communities, and shows us how netizens can control and police their cyber places. She examines digital skirmishes filtered through media ecology’s understandings of environment, space, place, and situation, allowing her broad generalizations about the Internet as medium as well as concrete assessments of particular online misbehavior occurring in concrete contexts. The prerogatives and limitations of the Internet’s rule-makers, rule-enforcers, and community pressures are illustrated with clear examples and envisioned with sensitive, pragmatic, ethical guidelines. Her award-winning research on and visions of cyber relationships is now available to all netizens. Bravo!
— Bruce Gronbeck, A. Craig Baird Distinguished Professor of Public Address, University of Iowa