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Policing Diversity in the Digital Age: Maintaining Order in Virtual Communities

NCJ Number
Criminology & Criminal Justice: An International Journal Volume: 7 Issue: 4 Dated: November 2007 Pages: 391-415
David S. Wall; Matthew Williams
Date Published
November 2007
25 pages
This article explores the different ways in which online social spaces maintain orderly communities, the governance of online behavior.
Online behavior, as well as its governance has become an increasingly complex matter. Upon entering the information age, proper online communities are no longer simply an escape from the responsibilities of the first life; they are becoming meaningful extensions of it across a broader span of time and space. In developing models for governing online behavior it is useful to work with that which already exists. This article demonstrates that online communities are very real places inhabited by very real people who want, as they do in their terrestrial world, to be reassured of their safety while online. As the list of online activities continues to grow longer, deeper, and more diverse, then the need to maintain order will continue to be a priority as will the debates over how the Internet is policed. This article explores the ways that online social spaces maintain orderly communities. It contrasts proximal (online) forms of governing online behavior with distal (offline) forms, such as offline policing and criminal justice processes. The central theme is a critical account of how these, often contradicting, nodes of governance interact. References