Post a New Topic
Original post made
on Aug 23, 2013
On a related note, would it be wise for the Weekly and its sister papers to switch to non-anonymous online postings? For example, use Facebook-linked accounts to identify the posters?
Although I post anonymously at the Weekly's site, I think there's a significant benefit to clear identification of the author of all online posts.
To my eye, the problems at ask.fm -- a site in the news quite a bit of late, particularly in the UK -- are primarily related to its use of anonymous posting.
I would like to see a discussion of JA+3's suggestion that the Weekly not accept anonymous posts. I have pretty much stopped reading the comments that follow articles because they are so often just rants and sometimes become rude and worse. If people had to reveal their identity, would it increase civility and possibly lead to more thoughtful responses? I know there are times when being able to comment anonymously is a necessary protection, but in most cases people should take responsibility for what they say.
I use many social media tools to stay current: Facebook, whisper, Digisocial, Vine, Twitter, Instagram, Path, LinkedIn, Google+, ....
But I was stunned by what I've seen on ask.fm.
You'll see Palo Alto teens using their real identities with real photos, publicly sharing their private feelings about various people at school. They answer questions like:
- Who are the hot guys at Jordan and JLS?
- How would you rate the following guys at school (1-10)? Ethan, Alex, Max, ...
- Who do you want to hu (hook up) with?
- Do you think xyz is a total bitch?
Hey, if you want to privately text with your friends about this stuff or even allow friends of friends to see it on Facebook, I totally understand.
But to have all this info public using your real identity is insane (for your and others' reputations).
How else does one become a celebrity? Other paths may require genuine effort.
It's fairly obvious that the parents and teachers know nothing about Internet culture so they overreact because they don't understand it.
Please old people, stop ruining the internet for your kids.... Your kids need to toughen up and realize that people on the Internet are not nice and as soon as they turn 18 this is how the real world works. I'm so tired of seeing clueless parents and educators talk about how big of an issue this is while actually knowing nothing about the Internet.
Teach your kids these 3 rules. 1. Don't feed the trolls. 2. Don't put any naked pictures of yourself online. 3. It's the internet, who cares?
I don't know anything much about ask.fm except that the SoCal girl who was recently kidnapped took to it after her father had politely requested privacy for the family. The father seemed well-spoken and thoughtful. News reports indicated some surprise that the girl was so over-sharing at this early period of her recovery. I wonder if she ever thanked the hundreds of law enforcement, etc., who worked so hard to find and recover her safely?
The girl seems to be loving her 5 min. of "fame," and has now been on The Today Show. I wonder if a paid appearance?
It seems vulgar and an outgrowth of so-called "reality" tv shows, which are appalling and ridiculous, scripted conflict, oversharing, pseudo-drama. 3 minutes is about enough for me. We are reaching the lowest of the low, though the Kardashians rake in millions, but it has to move on to something else (what I fear...). News media releases nonsensical "news" about so-called "stars" of a pawn show or "Storage Wars.."
I guess this stuff used to be on (fictional) daytime soap operas, which were stupid but harmless, but now we are dealing with real people, many of whom will do anything to be a "star" and what's more, younger and younger ones.
Back to social media, I see nothing "funny" about "rating" the girls at a school on "hotness" or some such. It speaks to aimlessness, rudeness, stupidity, not "being social" or young. I wouldn't encourage it. I know some will...to make money. That's the bottom line of those who offer these internet "services."
"I don't know anything much about ask.fm ..."
As a start, here's a recent article on ask.fm posted to the Telegraph's UK web site:
"If people had to reveal their identity, would it increase civility and possibly lead to more thoughtful responses?"
Perhaps it's not a fully-representative case, but a look at the postings at espn.com both before and after the recent posting changes from anonymous to verified is instructive, I think. The volume is down -- way down -- but the civility is noticeably improved.
At the Weekly, my best guess: although the postings would drop, readers will stay longer and read more articles and forum posts. Perhaps a trial run would be wise?
We already know what happens here when a thread gets hot and then requires logging-in to post a comment. Discussion grinds to halt. What is an "identity" anyway? Does identity exist outside of social context? Isn't that what the original article is about? Teens struggling to find their identities? Identifying with others among their peers? Differentiating themselves? Presenting different faces to different groups? Don't we all act differently among family or among co-workers or among the old college gang? Who doesn't feel pressure to fit in or get along? Cliques existed long before the internet. Is the process of maturity just realizing that none of this matters? Or realizing that more calculation and pretense of civility are required to move up the pecking order to afford a decent standard of living. I could post this as a random resident, but I'll use my real on-line name.
In the wake of the Weekly's superb coverage of social media and how it can harm teenagers, but before asking why we, the grown-ups of Palo Alto, allow this harm in our schools, let's tote up some things forbidden on campusâ€"at Gunn, for exampleâ€"because they disrupt, distract, or endanger.
If you're a teenager at Gunn, you can't bring your fireworks or water-balloons onto campus. You're forbidden by the student handbook to bring laser-pointers or matches or noise-makers onto campus, because the â€śpresence of inappropriate objects can create a disruption."
Nix on the skateboards or bikes, when classes are in session. You can't wear clothing that's too revealing (e.g., bellybuttons banned), because â€śappearance and dress...shall not interfere with teaching and learning."
Hazing is out. So are t-shirts with profanity on them, or drug insignia. Forbidden are streaking and displays of â€śexcessive affection." Unregistered visitors qualify as trespassers; don't go barefoot; and forget about loitering in a restroom.
â€śBut by all means," we are in effect saying to kids, â€śmake use of your electronic device at schoolâ€"where during passing-periods, and brunch, and lunch, and prep periods, and when you've skipped out of class to use the restroom and not loiter, you can check social media to send and receive gossip, taunts, lewd comments, subtle harassment, anonymous bullying, and naked photos."
â€śIt's okay," we're suggesting to our young people, â€śto have to suffer the resulting feelingsâ€"which won't ever make it hard for you to flourish in class."
To those who ask for posters here to post under their real names I would like to make the following comments.
My remaining anonymous here is to protect my identity and those of my children. It also protects my property, my car, my time and my dignity.
I have commented on Facebook under my real name with my real identity on issues on various media sites - local tv stations, etc. I am shocked what people say using their supposed real identities so to say that registration and real names keep discussions civil, then that is false, if what happens there is a reflection of true identity.
Secondly on this same issue, when I have used my real name on Facebook, I get hate comments put on all my profile pictures and anything else that can be "hacked". I keep my real name on Facebook but no links to phone numbers, email or street address, because of security issues. I am always polite and respectful, but so many others are not. Likewise, if I were to use my real name here, I feel it would be so much easier for someone who wanted to find me or my family. That would be a great concern to me.
Unfortunately although I stand by what I say, I am definitely afraid of those who disagree with me wanting to physically find me and abuse me in some way. I am polite and my opinions are respectful. However, many of the people who read them are not polite, not respectful and I have no idea how aggressive they may be.
Therefore I choose to remain anonymous and respect all others who also choose to do so.
"Therefore I choose to remain anonymous and respect all others who also choose to do so."
Understood; when the issue, though, is teen-use of social media to bully other teens and such use is not restrained -- in particular, where the author of mean-spirited or false rumors and the like is not obligated to truthfully disclose the author's identity -- then I respectfully suggest anonymity benefits no one and may, in the alternate, cause much harm.
I respect the desire for anonymity; where the posts are of a personal nature, though, wouldn't it best to either require author verification or ban such posts in full? For a site like ask.fm, wouldn't it be wise to require the site to do more than it's done to date?
GO MARC VINCENTI
You are right. People dont have the imagination to understand how harmful this is.
I think the we should ONLY EVER use anonymous posts.
Think about it. IF our kids were banned from using facebook and we took away their smart phones then there would be no cyberbullying to speak of!
Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.
Post a comment
Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online.
Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information
We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.
Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?
- Barron Park
- Charleston Gardens
- Charleston Meadows
- College Terrace
- Community Center
- Crescent Park
- Downtown North
- Duveneck/St. Francis
- Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
- Esther Clark Park
- Evergreen Park
- Greater Miranda
- Green Acres
- Greendell/Walnut Grove
- Leland Manor/Garland Drive
- Meadow Park
- Monroe Park
- Old Palo Alto
- Palo Alto Hills
- Palo Alto Orchards
- Palo Verde
- South of Midtown
- St. Claire Gardens
- The Greenhouse
- Triple El
- University South
- Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
- Addison School
- Barron Park School
- Duveneck School
- Egan Middle School (Los Altos)
- El Carmelo School
- Escondido School
- Fairmeadow School
- Gunn High School
- Hoover School
- JLS Middle School
- Jordan Middle School
- Juana Briones School
- Nixon School
- Ohlone School
- Palo Alto High School
- Palo Verde School
- Santa Rita (Los Altos)
- Terman Middle School
- Walter Hays School
- another community
- Another Palo Alto neighborhood
- East Palo Alto
- Los Altos
- Los Altos Hills
- Menlo Park
- Mountain View
- Portola Valley
Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.
Teavana Palo Alto closes
By Elena Kadvany | 6 comments | 3,548 views
What Freshmen Should be Thinking About College
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 10 comments | 2,077 views
Sometimes the Rules Go Out the Window
By Cheryl Bac | 5 comments | 1,745 views
Clarifying the Process of Canonization
By Nick Taylor | 0 comments | 1,201 views
Waiting on the Edge of Death
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 694 views
Home & Real Estate
Shop Palo Alto
Send News Tips
Circulation & Delivery
Mountain View Voice
© 2015 Palo Alto Online
All rights reserved.