2_Rier - HIV and Morality Online

2_Rier - HIV and Morality Online - 1044 David A. Rier...

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1044 David A. Rier © 2007 The Author First, do participants debate moral dilemmas? And, if so, (as a corollary) do these debates involve moral judgments and confrontations between participants, despite boards’ standard perception as safe spaces? My review of published English-language research on online illness support groups reveals this possibility to have attracted little attention. Moral judgments and personal attacks have been identi±ed in some recovery-oriented lists mod- elled on Alcoholic’s Anonymous’ quasi-religious ‘12-step’ framework ( e.g. Denzin 1998). More typical in the literature, however, is Walstrom’s (2000) study of an online eating disorder list, in which posters avoided making moral judgments, and collectively employed interac- tional techniques to preserve both the ‘safety’ of the group, and individual posters’ ‘face’. What about our case of HIV/AIDS support groups? Referring to traditional face-to-face
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