I read this article about police asking people to tweet pictures of parking violations so that they can accrue fines. Extending the abilities of the policing agents of society through tips by individuals has long been a major part of most societies. However in the past it has been abused the prime example I can think of is communist nation where one never knew if ones neighbors were working for the secret police. What are the ethical and social consequences of a society in which anyone can be a "nark"? What happens when certain citizens are ignored in favor of others? How does this affect the social-contract?

  • What's made this question interesting or important to you? What hypotheses have you formed? What has your research uncovered so far? – Joseph Weissman Feb 2 '14 at 22:32
  • @JosephWeissman haha I might get in trouble if I answer those questions because such seems to be the se culture. My hypotheses is that it that bonds form between the rich narks and the lower class police/moderators resulting in unjust implementation of rules and a bully culture of ins and outs like the KGB in Russia. Where governance seems to be an alliance between elements of the lower class tasked with policing and upper class which nark with priority rather than the continuation of civil liberties. The idea being if society complains enough they can kill anyone however unjust it may be. – user5375 Feb 2 '14 at 22:58
  • Worked well in East Germany. Don't like your neighbor's rose bushes? Report him to the Stasi for having subversive thoughts. Problem solved. Until your other neighbor decides he doesn't like your cat. What do YOU think happens to society? Your question indicates that you already know. – user4894 Feb 11 '14 at 20:24
  • @user4894 ok you caught me...i admit it...i'm poking fun at the se – user5375 Feb 11 '14 at 21:23

This question ties to another debate on status of citizens journalism and journalist in the emerging new media ecology. While the advantages are many, when citizens take on first hand reporting, I think less attention is paid to the risks involved in citizens reporting. One assumption that runs through this discourse on citizens journalist is that, citizens or 'common people' can represent the genuine voice of the people. What is ignored is that citizens can be just as motivated as elites to misrepresent social issues. Apart from the psychological trappings of motivated cognition, citizens can seek to resolve their local/personal conflicts through distorted forms of communication. Citizens operating in a social force field ripe with conflicts over space, time, resources etc,are just as liable for biases-conscious as well as unconscious as the members of the establishment. I sense a populist bent when scholars talk about empowering citizens through community media or citizens journalism, without subjecting them to standards that we use to judge mainstream media. The case with police requesting citizens support in providing leads for violations/crimes,is a case fraught with similar risks.

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Haven't we already? Wasn't that a purpose of the Patriot Act?

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  • haha no oh me no – user5375 Feb 11 '14 at 4:03

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