Should internet anonymity go away?

August 20, 2009 at 1:52 PM (Uncategorized)

The answer is no.

Since he asked for it right at the bottom of this article (read it because I’m not summarizing it here), this is an email I just sent to Robert Cringely.

What’s more important: privacy & anonymity or identity & responsibility?

Why don’t we compare the pros and cons?

For anonymity:
In some places, speaking your mind might lead to:

A) You begging the men with clubs to stop beating you into a bloody mass of tissue on the living room floor in front of your family, being thrown in prison without being charged with anything, being tortured every day for months on end and being raped by the prison guards and the other prisoners.

B) Offending a boss who happens to be a bigot and who will fire you for speaking out against bigotry.

C) Harassment and/or danger from the powerful corporation / organization / person / government / mobster / drug dealer you just slagged off on your blog.

D) I could go on until I run out of letters at “Z”, because there are infinite possible ways that being identified with your speech can go badly.

Against anonymity
In some places, speaking your mind might lead to:

A) Someone having their feelings hurt.

B) Well, that’s really the only one, isn’t it?

The rest of us have long since learned how to ignore annoying people without wanting the government to make them stop being mean to us. The option they should look for in the blogging software is called “Comment Moderation.” They should learn to use it if they’re too thin-skinned to deal with trolls.

Added link to CNN article: The coming-out stories of anonymous bloggers

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1 Comment

  1. Sisyphus Fragment said,

    Internet anonymity is pretty fucking important. A complete redesign of everything would be required to enforce something like this though, so I don’t foresee this happening.

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