Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Anonymous comments & etc.

One of these days on "Media in the Port" (the PortMedia round table thing I'm doing now), we're going to talk about anonymous comments. At least I hope so.

It's kind of interesting to me that people don't want others to know who they are. Aren't you guys proud of your thoughts, your positions ... yourselves?

Then again, since I know who some people are even though they don't use their real names because they have either written to me or told me* ... and you may know who they are. If you don't, ask (them, that is ... I'm not sure what blog etiquette says about bloggers "outing" people).

* A couple of months ago, I met a man who told me that I probably knew him better as "anonymous."


Ari Herzog said...

I support anonymity. I occasionally write comments on the DN site, on your blog, many places as "Anonymous." But from a bigger picture, anonymity is a key component to the evolution of the internet. There is a reason why webmail providers do not require birth certificates and credit cards, for instance; if you want an email address, you can have one, no questions asked.

Think about your question differently, Gillian. On your blog, if you disabled the ability for one to add a comment as an anonymous person, would you receive less comments? Which is more important: an eyeball to read or a person to comment?

Gillian Swart said...

I don't like anonymous anything, but I guess that's just me. Now I'm going to wonder what you posted as "anonymous." No wonder the Internet is such a dangerous place.

macsurf said...

I actually think the issue of anonymity cuts both ways.

It frees people up to speak their minds, but it also can give license to people saying things they would never otherwise say if they had to sign their names to a post, the way they do a letter to the editor, for example.

I know the Cape Cod Times eliminated its anonymous posting boards last September because things got so ugly under the cover of anonymity.

My brother in law, who's the publisher of the Maui News, suspended the anonymous psoting boards at the MN during the 2008 campaign for the same reason.

His attitude was if you don't have to courage of your convictions to sign your name to such comments, and you're going to get so nasty, you're not going to use the maui News to do it.

he was actually interviewed by US Today after doing so and criticized by some and praised by others.

Anonymous said...

I've got my reasons for posting the way I do.

Ari, however, is a public figure and and elected official. You shouldn't be posting ANYTHING on the DN site anonymously lest it be seen as an attempt to sway public opinion or (worse, in my opinion) make it appear as if more people are backing your ideas than they are in real life.

I find that confession completely appalling.

- The Carrot

Tom Salemi said...

I see anonymity as a necessary evil to encourage people to comment.

But I immediately apply a discount to comments by an anonymous poster (with a few exceptions, those who post regularly under a pseudonym.)

But I have zero patience for those who use anonymity just to be rude. I find those people cowardly.

Gillian Swart said...

I agree with Tom. Those people who post regularly under a pseudonym have become sort of like family ... I guess I'd better sort this one out.

Ari Herzog said...

The key word, Carrot, is "occasionally." This translates to approximately 1% of the stuff I put online and is not under my elected hat.

Anonymous said...

A few things:

- One big dysfunctional family, Gillian!

- Most if not all of the offending comments come when you have guest posts. Most of them appear to come from one or two loonies Tea Party loonies.

- Ari, 1% is too much for a public official to engage in, and as an elected official it is ALL under your 'elected hat'.

- The Carrot

Ed Cameron said...

I love it when Carrot and Ari get into a brouhaha (sic).

Go Carrot! Nice seeing you the other night.


Gillian Swart said...

So, Ed ... you apparently have some knowledge that I don't possess ... excuse me, I have to locate my thumb screws before Monday night.

Ari Herzog said...

If Ed's presumption is correct, I'll see The Carrot next week... and I don't mean at the city council meeting.

*giggles to self*

Anonymous said...

Shoot, Ed's got knowledge *I* don't possess. I did go to Salemi's yardsale, though.

As for Ari: sometimes the kid needs the riot act read to him.

- The Carrot

Gillian Swart said...

He should stop giggling to himself as well.

Ed Cameron said...

hmmm, I'll have to review the video from the security camera I have in front of Salemi's house.