Thursday, March 08, 2007

anonymous blogging

For those of you following the blogging lawsuit against Orthomom demanding her secret identity because an anonymous commenter called the plaintiff a bigot and anti-semite. (BTW the woman is Jewish or black (she has a Jewish name) and it seems to me from the comments I have read she is more anti-Orthodox then anti Jewish though there are those that don't differentiate. It also seems to me that if the Orthodox would put their children in the cesspool public schools then she wouldn't have anything against them either, but I've never heard anything about her aside from the blog. That being said I probably wouldn't vote for her if she ran for a public office that I had the right to vote in.)

I am personally pro anonymity in blogging, though I myself am only a little bit anonymous, most of my readers know who I am. There is real harm that can be done to people via anonymous blogging and posting. For example, has a story about female law students who are being anonymously posted about. The postings would probably constitute sexual harassment and would have even been a thought if not for anonymous blogging. These discussions, which often include the full names and pictures of female law students, are generally of a sexual nature and hinder the prospects of these students from getting jobs after they graduate. If a potential employer googles a candidates name and finds a discussion about her breast size or various exploits that will color the way he looks at her, whether or not they are true or not. I feel that censorship has its place and it is the responsibility of the forum administrator to determine if the discussion requires censorship or not.

Censorship is applied here at the Rock of Galilee. I erase any comments that I decide are unfit for my audience and I only post items that I feel are readable. I have erased/modified a number of articles that I have posted because I have agreed with someone who told me they were inappropriate.

Anonymity is important when there is a good reason for no one to know who you are and no one is getting hurt by your comments, for example to vent. There was a blog called reasons I hate my flatmate on which a reason was posted every day until the flatmate moved out. Nobody knew who it was or where in the world they lived. It was completely anonymous and it was good.

In the case of Orthomom's politics, it is possible (she feels it is probable) that she would be victimized if her identity was known. However, she has to be careful to keep an open tone so that she is not sniping at people behind the veil of anonymity. I am not a regular reader of hers, but it seems to me that she has not crossed the line very often. Her commentors have crossed the line on a number of occassions and I feel that it would behoove her to censor her comments.

Government Censorship = Bad.
Self Censorship = Good.

If it is your forum, you are the boss.

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