Reinventing forgiveness: A formal investigation of moral facilitation
Keywordsclose relationships embarrassment
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AbstractReputation mechanisms have responded to the ever-increasing demand for online policing by "collecting, distributing and aggregating feedback about participants' past behavior". But unlike in human societies where forbidden actions are coupled with legal repercussions, reputation systems fulfill a socially-oriented duty by alerting the community's members on one's good standing. The decision to engage in collaborative efforts with another member is chiefly placed in the hands of each individual. This form of people empowerment sans litigation brings forth a moral concern: in human-human interactions, a violation of norms and standards is unavoidable but not unforgivable. Driven by the prosocial benefits of forgiveness, this paper proposes ways of facilitating forgiveness between offender and victim through the use of personal 'moral' agents. We suggest that a richer mechanism for regulating online behaviour can be developed, one that integrates trust, reputation and forgiveness.