‘UnclePat’ got it right. He was responding to a question E.J. Montini raised in his blog recently.
Explain to me some of the reasons you believe that is is necessary for those who post responses to blogs or add their opinion to comment threads should to be anonymous. Or, rather, why you choose to do so, since it isn’t mandatory.
Writing under the cover of the nom de plume, UnclePat commented that the main bad reason for someone to remain anonymous online was it gave the person the freedom to be a ‘mindless jerk.’
I can’t argue with that when I read some of the comments online at AZCentral.com
Except for the fact that there are some others who have no problem with calling out something or someone and putting their name to it. Just look at yesterday’s Arizona Republic, where Steve Kirk of Phoenix calls Rush Limbaugh a rude bore. Montini concludes in his column the same day that fear is the main reason for this trend to hide behind fake names.
But there are other types of fear, and not just fear of wackos and lawsuits. I recently conducted a remote workshop for media professionals in Sri Lanka, on looking ‘beyond the blog’ –at new modes of communications and interaction with audiences. There was a mixed group representing traditional and new media. Apparently some bloggers who wished to be not identified, were in the audience as well.
Toward the end of the session, one question came up that seemed more important than the rest. How to remain anonymous, and if it was a sensible thing. I wrestled with the question for several reasons. One was that we take our freedom of speech for granted, UnclePat’s point, notwithstanding. I know it’s different in countries where the government can beat you up or throw you into prison for random reasons. The other, of course, was credibility. I maintain that unless you have a compelling point of view or reason to stay behind the curtain, no one will take you seriously since the blogosphere is quite capable doing its own fact-checking. Just ask Dan Rather.
I am sure you face similar questions, especially related ones about whether you recommend moderating –and deleting– comments by blog readers who don’t validate who they are.
Digging deeper into this I noticed plenty of advice on how to go about it, and many reasons why this is so . Take a look, and let me know your thoughts about this touchy topic.
- How to blog safely — Electronic Frontier Foundation
- PR Director found blogging anonymously
- The law against anonymous blogging in the US
- Yahoo and MSN sign deal with China to prevent anonymous bloggers
- Bloggers beware: what you write can get you sued
the rumors are true (@ Neighbor from the 90′s)...
Sorry to see you go. avic-x920bt
First the Space Shuttle program and now this???? OH NO!...
I think it’s really funny that Jason donates money...
Sad to see you go Mr Len… been a great ride
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