Colin Rule is Director of Online Dispute Resolution for PayPal. He is currently Co-Chair of the Advisory Board for the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution, and is the author of Online Dispute Resolution for Business, published by Jossey-Bass in September 2002.
Thanks, Dan -- yes, feel free to share it. Hopefully the editors at DR Magazine won't be mad I shared the PDF of the page proofs prior to publication... such is the way of the internet. And appropriate to this topic! :)
I agree with you that confidentiality (and perceptions of appropriate confidentiality) are much more nuanced online than they are face to face. I think there are online cultural norms evolving around what is and isn't approrpriate to share, and understanding of those norms is very spotty in our transitional age (transitioning from f2f only to mixed f2f-and-online). The younger generation just seems to understand on an intuitive level that something shared over twitter is public knowledge, something shared on facebook is quasi-public, and something shared on IM is private... but many in the older generation don't get these sublte distinctions. That can be a big challenge to an online neutral who is receiving information through various channels... f2f, email, IM, online discussion threads, and online caucus spaces. What can you share and with whom? It's trickier than it used to be.