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Peer pressure is, according to Dogbert, what you do to people who (in your opinion) aren't your peers. There's more to SoftSecurity than Peer Pressure, of course. Peer Pressure is important partly because it can reduce the incidence of vandalism, to the point where post hoc repair is viable for the rare occasions when it actually happens.

Peer pressure generally works on the basis of some sanction that can be applied collectively or individually. The key difference between PeerPressure and other forms of SoftSecurity is that peer pressure is generally directed at the individual, whereas SoftSecurity is generally directed at the group, or the behaviour. These sanctions might include (on some hypothetical "Fred") :

General problems: because peer pressure is directed at an individual, it is less effective online, when new identities can be created comparatively easily. Another problem is that a significant proportion of the population have had very deep and emotionally powerful experiences with peer pressure during their formative years, which are referred to as "bullying". People who were severely bullied to the point of considering (or attempting) suicide, and lots of such people exist, tend to have strong reactions to perceived bullying directed either at themselves or at a third party. Often this means protecting the object of peer pressure against "victimisation" or "scape goating".

Also, peer pressure works best in a community populated by repeat visitors, which is small enough that repeated interactions with the same individuals are common. Usage in other contexts (or having one of those contexts suddenly thrust upon it temporarily) will get some undesirable results. IteratedPrisonersDilemma formalises this.



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