Trust in virtual worlds

It is amazing how we trust people online with so little to base that trust on. Trust is built even though we've never met each other in real life, even though we don't know much about the other person's background, even though we don't know what the other person looks like or sounds like, and, in most cases, even though we don't know the other person's real identity.

Trust is based on our interactions with the other person. It is based on our intuitions. It is based on our assumptions about the other person.

There is nothing more unfounded than the trust we give a stranger. Yet, somehow, we offer that trust. It's a trust in humanity itself. It is a trust that they are as trustworthy as we are. And most people prove themselves worthy of that trust.

Naturally, unbounded trust opens the door to deception. There will be a small minority who would take advantage of that trust and use it to benefit themselves to the detriment of the other person. That is true in real life as well, but virtual worlds - and the internet, in general, - make it easier for scammers.

However, developing trust is crucial in business relationships in real life and is just as critical in virtual worlds, if not more so. But how does one develop trusting relationships with other people in a virtual world? Networking. Interacting. Conversing. Sharing experiences. Creating experiences. It's how we develop our intuition about people. It's how we get a feel for their trustworthiness.

Just like in real life. But more cautiously.

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