Abstract - The Information Society 3 (3)

Designing Information Communities: Ethical Issues in the Information Age

Richard O Mason

People interested in sharing and producing information constitute information communities. In any information community, some members produce information for the system (givers); some receive information (takers); and some link information givers and takers together (orchestrators). Because they control the technology, the orchestrators are often among the most powerful in the information community. Each member's rights and goals in an information community cannot always be secured because of scarce resources and conflicts among members. The crucial issues the groups face are: 1. how work and benefits are to be allocated among information givers, takers, and orchestrators, and 2. how these decisions are made. An ethical structure for this community would: 1. identify the stakeholders who have an issue, 2. empathize with each stakeholder, and 3. cooperate and sympathize with each stakeholder.

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