Thursday, December 14, 2006

Housekeeping: Here's a question for you all

By Diane Silver

The brave anonymous has noted that as blog proprietor I can change the settings to only allow registered users to post. Even though I think anonymous' question was irrelevant to the discussion, he/she/it accidentally hit on a valid question: Should I require people to take at least some form of identity before they post comments?

What do you think?

By the way, ole' anonymous was actually attempting to avoid answering the very reasonable question Nancy Jane Moore put to him. Her question to he/she/it was:
And I must ask: why are you so afraid to use your name when you make comments? You know who we are -- why not use your name?

Anonymous answered at the end of a long comment:
This is your blog and you set it up to allow anonymous comments. If you don't like anonymous comments, you can fix that in just a few seconds.

My note to anonymous is: While you've got me thinking and asking folks about the issue of how comments are posted on this blog, you didn't answer Nancy's question. Let me re-phrase it for her. What do you have to hide? Why are you so afraid to be honest?


Anonymous said...

"What do you have to hide? Why are you so afraid to be honest?"

You equate being anonymous with being dishonest? Over the past several years, there have been several cases in which people in the intelligence community have leaked intelligence to the media. We still do not know who did the leaking. Do you believe they should have attached their names to the leaked documents?

You worked for several years as the Statehouse reporter for the Wichita Eagle before you decided you would get off the fence and start speaking out on political issues.

Is it not more dishonest for a reporter to pretend to be objective while writing her articles from an ultraliberal perspective? Can you honestly say your ideological bias never found its way into your reporting?

Diane Silver said...

This isn't about leaking intelligence information. This is about hiding your agenda by hiding who you are.

I have always been open about who I am as a person. If I had written articles for The Eagle from an "ultraliberal prospective," trust me, they would have been written much differently than they were.

Once again: What do you have to hide? What's so frightening about using your name online?

Anonymous said...

"This isn't about leaking intelligence information. This is about hiding your agenda by hiding who you are."

So those who leaked intelligence didn't have an agenda?

"If I had written articles for The Eagle from an 'ultraliberal prospective,' trust me, they would have been written much differently than they were."

I'm sure they would have. But that statement did not address my question:

"Can you honestly say your ideological bias never found its way into your reporting?"

Diane Silver said...

When are you going to answer our question about why you refuse to identify yourself? What are you hiding?

Anonymous said...


I am a conservative with conservative viewpoints. What else do you need to know?

Why the focus on who someone is rather than the issues being discussed?

Odd that this "anonymous = hiding something" issue never came up concerning your liberal posters who do not use their real names.

anon said...

Diane has in fact questioned the identity of sources that have not been explicitly named in the source material. She questioned mine a number of months ago. I responded via email to her, and she was gracious enough not to divulge my identity. As she's pointed out, a person can pretend to be anyone, anywhere. Her passion for verification is commendable.

The anonymity is treasured as trolls are known to stalk certain commenters across other blogs.

[back to lurking]

Anonymous said...

Okay, I will answer your question. In my job, I have to answer to liberals, so I keep my conservative viewpoints to myself.

I choose to challenge liberal views anonymously because I am afraid to express them publicly for fear of professional repercussions.

If you want to call me a coward, so be it. Let's focus on the issues and not on my shortcomings.

Diane Silver said...

I agree anonymous. Let's focus on the issues, which is why I'm making a change.

Anonymous said...

There are several complicating issues here. Each has a solution.
(man, wouldn't it be great if we could all focus just for one day upon listening clearly and understanding one-another; and seek SOLUTIONS together rather than fighting?)

When multiple people post with a simple click of "anonymous" it becomes confusing as to who exactly is posting messages. The amalgum of all the "anonymous" authors becomes confusing. Frankly some such identified authors contribute a great deal to opening the conversation. Others are frighteningly narrow minded, angry sounding, and obsessed with / possessed of some frankly peculiar and unique opinions. It can be hard to quickly differentiate (and fairly respond to) the different anonymous personalities. It can feel like you are having a conversation with someone who has a profound multiple personality disorder. (gosh it looks like Sybal but...)

Then there is another side. The security side. Honestly, last night when I put my name to a particular post, I wasn't sure that I had done either the smartest or safest thing. After I published a newpaper guest editorial a couple of years ago, my wife and I both became subject to harrassing and threatening phone calls.

(Read the posts of the past several days. Are there some posters that seem rather extreme, rigid and perhaps even, not necessarily unstable, but, well, not playing with a full deck.
Frankly, having served as the director of a county wide psychiatric emergency assessment team as well as a team leader for a large urban police departments' crisis response team, some of the repeated suggestions and comments I've read here, have left me a little uneasy.)

I also respect that someone might fear repercussions from work. I actually had that happen over my comments on a professional list serve. Well, that was the excuse anyway. As it turned out my supervisor was quite psychiatrically unstable and was eventually fired, but only after seriously undermining my professional reputation and almost getting me fired. (That is a whole different story.)

So I offer a compromise: adopt a name. A "nom de geurre" so to speak. an alter ego. a secret and mysterious identity...
We aren't being asked for credentials to confirm your identity. We're being asked to give a user name. mine is GEB

hmmmmm? George Edward Brown?

Diane Silver said...

anon - Thanks so much for your words of support and for posting here and reading In This Moment. Your comments both public and private have been very helpful. I hope the new rules don't cause much problem for you. Even with the required registration, you can still post using only your username.

GEB - I am soooo pleased that you've become a frequent reading and poser on In This Moment. You always bring a fascinating perspective, even when I don't agree with you!

I really appreciate you taking the time here to go through the complexities of the issue of online identity. Because we've had a variety of "anonymous" posters frequently, I thought it was best to at least require folks to register with Blogger.

You all can still post under a user name, which does not reveal your offline identity, but at least it should be easier to keep track of who is saying what and avoid seeing many people as one.

When a person posts anonymously, I think they do loose some credibility. On the other hand, I certainly understand the problems with being open. I live my life as an out lesbian. Anyone can google me and find this blog and numerous other mentions of me. I know I've lost jobs because of that, but for me, living an authentic life is too important to do otherwise.

Thanks so much all for commenting!