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Anonymous Posting

Original post made by Mac Clayton, Community Center, on Jan 15, 2014

What are the benefits to the community of anonymous posting of comments online? I like to read about events in Palo Alto as a way of staying connected. I like to see what others have to say. I can't see any advantage to saying it anonymously. There is no retribution to fear, no Stasi to haul us away. Don't we owe each other the courtesy of standing up and being recognized for what we believe? If that causes us to be more temperate and thoughtful in our remarks, isn't that a benefit as well?

Comments (9)

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Posted by identity theft
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 15, 2014 at 11:40 am

I avoid posting my real name, address, phone number, email, etc. online because of fear of identify theft. Yes, professional thieves can also get this information from Target, but online forums are way easier for amateur thieves.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 15, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Yep, identity theft, stalking, real life harassment and bullying, professional/job repercussions, neighborhood complications, civic complications...


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2014 at 1:21 pm

I have commented on some of the news channels on Facebook. As a result of people disagreeing with my polite opinions, I have had messages containing threats on my other inbox as well as on my profile picture. I have been told by these people that they can trace me because of cookies. I have no idea if that is true.

As a result, I value my ability to post without having to register my name, email address, or anything else.

Particularly when it comes to issues that involve children and school issues, it is important that their identity is not known as they can suffer from a parent posting their opinion here.

There is no reason to believe that those posting are the people they claim to be. There is no reason to believe that someone using their real name is going to be more honest or respectful than someone who isn't.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 15, 2014 at 2:03 pm

I understand why people want to remain anonymous...there are attempts at intimidation out there. On the other hand, I think using a real name adds to credibility, because it demands a personal response...and it reveals you to your neighbors/friends. I happen to have a personality that doesn't get intimidated, and I am willing to state my case...although I do complain when any member of my family gets thrown into the stew...it is my stew, not theirs.

When I make a statement, using my own name, it should be understood that I think I am right, and my opponents are wrong. I own my own statements, and I can refer back to them when my side wins the argument...this is called ego. It is also called personal freedom. Some might want to call it standing on principle.

If I think high speed rail or anaerobic digestion or welfare housing (among other subjects)is wrong for Palo Alto, I will say so. It is up to those who oppose me to state their facts/opinions...better with their real names, but any way that leaves them proud of themselves.


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Posted by Mr
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 15, 2014 at 5:02 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Mr
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 15, 2014 at 5:23 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by wouldn't the editor like to know
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Why should a poster identify himself/herself when the editors of this forum do not identify themselves? The request, above, that they prefer that poster use their own name is laughable.


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Posted by identity theft
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 15, 2014 at 7:58 pm

The main reason that web sites (including this one) want you to use your real name is for identity theft. They track your behavior and then sell that personal information to advertisers.

I'm sure they try to track you even if you don't use your real name, but that kind of information is less valuable to advertisers.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2014 at 11:30 pm

"I can't see any advantage to saying it anonymously. "

When I post in a thread like this, I want to discuss the issues. I find in controversial topics, there's always an element demanding others name themselves in order to be able to attack them personally rather that deal with the facts.


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