How is online identity shaped and expressed through interactions in this community?
In the proposed Internet Safety Online Community, online identity is shaped differently depending on the role of the participant. For the expert writing in their respective field, their Bios will shape identity, and inform the participants of their qualifications and experience. Also, the links they may share to other works will also help shape the experts identity. The experts will also interact with the participants who comment on their blogs, or ask them specific questions.
As for the individual participants commenting on the expert blogs, or asking questions of the experts, the identity issue is a little more complicated. Because there may be sensitive issues or topics discussed, a degree of anonymity is useful.
Also, because of the nature of this community and the importance of creating a safe place for participants (mainly K-12 students) to discuss topics relating to internet safety (predators, bullying etc...) all comments will be moderated.
Ideally the moderating will be done by the expert to whom the comment/question is addressed.
A 6th grade student feels she is being bullied online, she wants to know what she should do.
She posts an ambiguous sounding question on the Middle School Teacher's blog. The expert Middle School teacher suspects that the student is being bullied, referrers her to the appropriate people, and explains some coping and empowerment tools/skills she may utilize while the situation is being resolved.
Same situation, except the Middle School expert fails to address the underlying bullying issue. The student then feels isolated and let down. The student no longer visits the site.