Internet Anonymity - Pro and Con

1 posts


I am not sure where else to put this thread, but...

Some complain about the phenomena of "internet anonymity". I see it as simply analogous to not wanting your everyday conversation recorded & published, since it is not considered work. It is just somewhat uncertain, casual dialogue - you are mostly asking questions in the form of making statements (positing).

Although personally it doesn't make much of a difference to me either way.

In regards to publishing considered work, I would agree with the strictures against "anonymity". Except I add the condition that such strictures are only unjustified provided that anonymity is motivated by something like personal safety.

At least in some other cases you would just not want to attract too much attention to the subject itself - let's say if you were trying to clarify something (by organizing certain facts available only in scattered sources) that has been overblown by the media. The distinction here is not between the anonymous and non-anonymous, but between those who are well known and those who are not. In the second case, there is hardly any difference between anonymity and and providing a real name.

I would say that in those "cases" above, what you are saying is trivial and wholly derivative except you want to disseminate it as fast as possible. Anonymity may be the best way to do this since otherwise, others would have to explicitly cite you as an author, and so this blocks the flow of information. It's a bit like "open source" software - it's not credited to any particular organization.


Of course, the phenomena of "trolling" should be addressed. In this case it depends on what is being "trolled". If a forum is worthless (e.g., "RevLeft" then it should be trolled for the same reason why it should be destroyed.