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To Be or Not To Be Anonymous

Original post made by Richard Placone on Jul 13, 2007

There has been some discussion on this Website about postings that are signed "Anonymous" or with ficticious names or only a first name. By way of full disclousure, the few times I have posted comments on various issues I always use my fullname, as will appear at the end of this posting.

One complaint I have heard about this practice is that a person could use a number of names and make similar postings, thereby slanting the bias of a given set of arguments. Another is that by not signing one's name, readers really have no idea who is making the argument, that posters can hide behind thieir anonymity and thus be secure in not having to be called pon to prove thiri position. Others favoring the present practice say that they do not want to disclose who they are becasue they do not want to be hasseled by "hate" e-mails or phone calls should their names be listed in the phone book. I have noticed that some postings get rather heated, and some posters do resort to name calling and unkind innuendos. While the Weekly attempts to tone down these kind of postings, they do not catch them all.

I am in favor of posting with one's name and neighborhood. E-mails are otional, and I sometimes post mine when I want to hear from people directly. I never post anything that I am not prepared to prove, if facts are involved, nor am I afraid to state my opinion, even if it goes against the grain of most positions being posted. That is how we persuade others to our point of view, or not. I don't believe in calling names, tempting as it may be at times, or directing disparaging another's point of view, even if I think that point of view is crazy. There are ways to disagree without becoming disagreeble.

A friend and I are having a debate about this. He thinks anonymity results in a greater exchange of ideas and that people will be more "truthful" if they don't use thier names.

My questions to this audience (assuming there is one!) are these:

Would you post messages containing more provocative statements, more pointed disagreements, more lively discourse, and greater adherence to the truth by not using your name?

What are your thoughts regarding anonimity in these and similar postings?

If you prefer to remain anonymous, why?

If you prefer postings with your real name, why?

You may wonder if there is an ulterior motive to my raisng this issue. The answer is, No.

Richard Placone
Barron Park

Comments (2)

Posted by Kevin, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 13, 2007 at 3:31 pm

Richard,

The problem is that none of us will know who is real or not. For instance, I just looked up your name on the white pages (very easy to do). Yes, I got a name and address and phone number, but I don't really know it is you.

There is NO WAY to assure that someone tells the truth about who they are. The real bad news is that someone can claim to be whom they are not. Think about that, Richard.

It is best to aruge ideas, not identities.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Community Center
on Jul 13, 2007 at 4:49 pm

There is already a lively discussion on this issue on Town Square. See
Web Link


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