Thursday, June 23, 2011

Anonymous Bloggers

I know many people who blog but prefer not to use their own names. Or perhaps that should be I know the identity of some bloggers who prefer to remain anonymous? Regardless there is a high proportion who prefer not to let the world know their identity when blogging.

Those who choose to hide their real identity do so for many reasons. They may face problems at work if they blog using their own identity, regardless of whether or not they blog about their work. They may be blogging about confidential matters that they have highly valuable but sensitive things to talk about, and prefer not to be identified. The reasons are many and varied and I, and I hope most reasonable people, respect their wishes. I certainly would never knowingly give away the identity of an anonymous blogger whose identity I knew.

What I do find difficult to accept are anonymous bloggers who are vile towards other individuals, who use their blogs to lie and smear other people then hide behind anonymity. This has recently happened to an acquaintance of mine, who happens to be a thoroughly decent human being, but he has been subjected to comments on his blog that are pretty nasty and posts on an anonymous blog about him that are pretty unpleasant. Indeed they have been of such an unpleasant nature that he has been unable to sleep in recent weeks. I do not intend to name either blog.

Using anonymity in that way is the sign of a coward and a bully. Being critical and having a general roustabout is one thing, but if people want to be nasty, threatening and abusive at least have the guts to come out in the open. But people like that are usually too cowardly to be open.

I've told the victim to just ignore the anonymous loony, but that is easier said than done. The other thing is to take some pride that to provoke anonymous venom maybe means you have hit a nerve with the coward, in which case job well done. Of course those who throw muck around, or make anonymous threats, are usually lying anyway. If they were open and stopped hiding behind anonymity they would probably behave in a much more reasonable manner. They'd be terrified of the possible consequences because remember, they're cowards.

Maybe we should all stand back now and then and look at what we write, be that on blogs, websites or traditional media, and think how we would feel if what we had just said about somebody was said about ourselves. Perhaps we should all consider whether we would prepared to say to somebody's face what we write about them. Maybe that would contribute to making the world, in a very small way, a slightly better place to be.


Left-footer said...

Excellent analysis of the motives of cowardly bloggers and comment-posters.

As a major purpose of my blog is to say the 'unacceptable' and 'hit raw nerves', I get the odd nasty comment, which I invariably delete. I am not an impartial defender of free speech.

My name is Chris Wright.

Stuart said...

I agree with you, and this is one of the reasons I've become more and more open with my identity. I wanted to personalise my blog and make myself accountable also.

I'm a lot more cautious with what I say now as a result. My Church leaders know I blog and where I blog.

These anon's are cowards pure and simple. I know that because once I was an anon.

Mark Wadsworth said...

It's all very tricky.

I suppose I've been lucky so far, in four years of blogging, I've had the usual measure of ad hominem nonsense (fair enough, there are plenty of idiots out there), one person telling me I was ugly (which I am, do fair play), one smart arse who called me a c*nt and then linked to his own blog (I deleted this comment) and rather bizarrely somebody who didn't understand maths threatening to "wring my scrawny neck" because I had proved him wrong seven times in a row.