11 July 2007

On Anonymity

The ADN's politics blog has an interesting post on anonymous comments and whether they should be allowed. I've been thinking about this a bit lately because I seem to be a in a minority among Alaskan bloggers in that I post under my real name.

(This particular line of thinking was prompted by this post in the KodiakKonfidential blog where I am - ahem - said to provide "some of the most insightful political analysis around." I realized I was about the only one with a real name attached to it.)

My reasons for doing so are fairly straightforward - I think that if you believe in a position strongly enough to share it you should also be willing to put your name on it. I understand in some societies this is not the case but I am sufficiently confident of my free-speech rights (for now, at least) to write under my own name.

I've been a bit burned by this before. When I was in college, the faculty went on strike. I frequented a university message board and posted under my own name my beliefs as to why they had been wrong to strike. I was about the only person to post under my own name (though not the only one to criticize the faculty) and when the faculty returned, I was a target of a lot of their frustration and anger and kind of got blackballed (fortunately it was spring semester of my senior year). But that was more a function of their inability to handle criticism than anything else.

I think that not being anonymous has brought me several benefits. It has definitely raised my profile, made (some) people return my calls when they might otherwise have not, and led to many interesting meetings with people who recognized me from this blog. The internet is a powerful tool as I have found out in numerous other situations and I want to use that to my advantage as best as I can. Yes, I know it is easier to find out information about me than it is about the average person out there and if anyone's stalking me they've got a plenty of information to work with but I'm willing to take that chance.

Of course, I understand that not everyone shares my views and that's perfectly understandable. I have no problem with anonymous comments or comments posted under a pseudonym. Anonymity can be abused, of course, but no one has done that yet.

Would you think differently of this blog if you didn't know who I was?


First Alaskan Man said...

If you didn't use your own name and say what you think, I wouldn't have been here. Another "stitch and bitch" session this is not.

CabinDweller said...

Based on what you write, and the manner and tone which you take, I really wouldn't care if you were calling yourself the "Nome Gnome" or "Nuggety McTarnahan" or something.

As for anonymous comments, I'm not fond of them. Too many drive bys and too many truly nasty comments seem to occur when people don't have to sign their name - or at least their blog identity. The atmosphere at the ADN's blogs get downright poisonous sometimes.

Personally, I just want a bit of anonymity, hence my use of a moniker - even Squarebanks is a small town, although not by Nomeian standards. That may change in the future, and if there were a compelling reason to identify myself I would.

But I've experienced the crap that a woman blogging/posting online sometimes has to deal with - the stupid sexual comments and such - and for now, I have some privacy.

Coldfoot said...

Jesse Zink?

Do we know each other?

Would it be any different if you used "Nome Gnome"?

The answers are: Who? No. And no.

As a side note, people whom you thought you knew, such as Geraldo Rivera, Warren Beatty, Mark Twain, Michael Caine, Gene Simmons, Nicholas Cage, Ice Cube, and I could go on and on and on and on and on and on don't use their real names. Does it matter?

Not really.

Bruce Wayne said...

I believe in total identity disclosure.