Annonymity and/VS Equality

9 10 2008

In a weird way, I feel forelorn about what I am going to write about.  But, this is an area that, for me, has some depth and potential for offshoot arguments and opining.

In the world of digital collections, where one can choose one’s level of anonymity, *equality* is almost apriori.  It doesn’t matter who creates a collection.  What matters is the collection’s relevance, usability, accessibility, etc.  That is to say, regardless of ethnic make up, sexual orientation, sex, etc., the person, or persons, who create a digital collection is/are irrelevant.  The collection is judged based on its own makeup, independent of the creator’s(s’).  That is equality, in a sense.  That is also, essentially, not equality.

One can argue the things that lead to one’s ability to create a digital collection, educational attainment, access to said education, socioeconomic background, etc., but the collection’s makeup still exists independently of the creator’s(s’) makeup.

The thing that forelorns me is that this might not be true, or as true, if people knew, or could see, the maker(s) of a digital collection.  It forelorns me that to have *equality* it may be necessary that the users be kept ignorant of the maker(s).

That said, digital collections allow women (womyn) to make the same as men, dollar for dollar, for doing the same thing.  That is something we are still trying to rectify in the world where people know with whom they are engaging.  Would this be true if the user knew that the maker was female?

A quick example, law school students will pay the same for access to LexisNexis whether the creator was a minority or a part of majority culture.  But, if the face of digital collection A was Thandie Newton and the face of digital collection B was this guy, I think more folks would access A or pay more for A.  But even this does not answer the question.  These ‘faces’ are not necessarily the maker(s) of the digital collection.  They could just reflect poor marketing choices.  But since it essentially takes one person and a computer to create a digital collection, one may  not come up against unfair hiring practices or getting skipped over for a promotion.  One may also avoid stereotypes, since it is possible that no one knows who the maker(s) are.

While one may say that people do not know who owns Popeye’s or Target, that is not the same argument.  One still has to interact with people, most of Target’s sales are still done the old fashioned way, in person- at a store, one still has an experience of the people at the store.  This is not the case with a digital collection.

If the above seems simple and unexplored by a critical faculty wielding author, it kind of is.  As this idea came to me while writing a post about organizational culture in another class and I just wrote this out as I thought it.  I definitely need to give this topic more reflection, and I will.  For now though, here is my post.

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One response

10 10 2008
Dr. Anonymous

Would rather have you work on this than your current project idea, quite frankly.

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