Monday, January 9, 2012

anonymous commenting

My father once told me that in a free society, you say what you want to say and then sign your name to it. That's why I've always used my real name, always, in Internet commentary. That's the reality of accountability. It's no coincidence, meanwhile, that usually my anonymous commenters are the most nakedly establishmentarian or tribalist, constantly dinging me for not being a member of the Cool Kid Crew, not being a pro blogger, violating the "consensus," and all the usual attempts at disqualifying me that I've experienced for the last five years. At the same time, I am somewhat disturbed by the requirement for people to create accounts or identities online that might track them or whatever, and my general policy is just to let any non-spam comment stay.

So here's my compromise: anonymous comments won't be blocked or deleted, and other readers or commenters are free to read them and engage or whatever. For myself, this will be my personal policy towards them, as well as the perfect visualization of my attitude towards those who get on me for not being well-behaved, deferential towards power and influence, or apologetic:


Update: Psuedonyms are fine, but please pick one and stick to it. Even if you're just telling me how much of an asshole I am each time you post.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

How do you know I'm not Shakespeare?!

Freddie said...

Damn, I read that without intending to. This is going to be harder than I thought.

J. Otto Pohl said...

Well I always use my real name and nobody pays attention to anything I ever write. In fact I don't think anybody ever even reads anything I ever write. But, I do agree that you should be man enough to put your real name to your own words.

Freddie said...

I always read your comments, both here and at Crooked Timber, with care and interest.

Paul said...

Cool, Freddie. I never tried to be "anonymous"; I just get asked my GMail address & automatically get labelled "Paul." (Which is weird cause there is more than one "Paul" here.) But for what it's worth my name is Paul Sherrard; I'm the "Paul" who gave you shit over your Dana Stevens post. I don't know how to enter my full name though.

Anonymous said...

That's a bit sweeping. On occasion I know who the anonymous commenter is,and he'she is Somebody, who knows something about or is connected to the topic at hand.

Paul Sherrard said...

Ah wait; I think I just figured this out.

OK, Freddie, I agree with your father BTW.

Anonymous said...

Yup, that GIF is suitable for a five-year-old throwing a temper tantrum. That's your mental age, five. Don't flatter yourself that the "establishment" is so threatened by your opinion, the "establishment" has no freaking idea who you are. Sorry, dude, you're not as important as you think you are. But hey, continue with your grade-A persecution complex.

Freddie said...

http://www.myfacewhen.net/uploads/196-didnt-read-lol.png

Anonymous said...

Well, some of us are just technically inept. I think I established a "google" account, but I've never been able to use it since. I hate Facebook. I have no idea what "open ID means". Passwords are strange things that I always manage to forget.

Life on the internets can be hard at times.

Cordially,

bobbyp

Freddie said...

That's why I want to give people theoption, Bobby P.

Anonymous said...

I, like the other anonymous above, cannot figure out any of the other options on blogspot comments. But elsewhere, I usually use consistent pseudonyms (I occasionally post on Crooked Timber as Aulus Gellius).

I have a stronger unwillingness to use my real name than I would have expected myself to have, and I've been trying to figure out why. I've never posted anything that would be likely to lose me a job or a friend or anything; what's more, I don't avoid mentioning personal information in comments. (If you really wanted, you might be able to figure out, by looking through old comments and doing some googling, who I am. But I promise you wouldn't care.)

But while I don't mind someone coming to my comment in a thread and knowing who I am, I really don't like the idea of someone Googling me and finding one of my comments (even one I'm proud of). Not sure why.

Aulus Gellius said...

Oh, wait, the "URL" part of "Name/URL" is optional. Now I feel like an idiot. The anonymous comment above is, obviously, mine.

Balthasar Middleton said...

Sorry, Freddie - I don't think you can have it both ways. Either you're unafraid of words and ideas or you are. I tend to be just a little afraid, myself.

The internet is what it is, and many people will be jerks in comments because many people are, in fact, jerks. You seem to have no trouble of mind, even with your name emblazoned on your posts. I'm not sure how attaching your name to something makes it ok or interesting or informative to be a jerk.

In my admittedly limited experience with your writing you are sometimes criticized for saying things that are ill-conceived or inexpertly argued. Sometimes you are criticized for being a jerk. Sometimes you walk back your position and your prose and admit to being a jerk. (Search your archives.)

You can attach "tribalist" or "elitist" or "establishmentarian-ist" or "professional-ist" or any other "-ist" you please to your critics and it's still an ad hominem that doesn't answer their criticisms.

As for me, since you asked, I'm all for anonymous speech so long as it falls under the protection of the First Amendment. (That's the little bit of fear I mentioned above.)

Internet pseudonym, insecure as it may be, attached.

Susan said...

Oh, wait, the "URL" part of "Name/URL" is optional. Now I feel like an idiot. The anonymous comment above is, obviously, mine.