I read EJ’s comment made to her by an unidentified elected official that DGreport, her blogbaby, spread mistruths. One of my friends who frequents DGreport took me to task along a similar line. Anonymous posters can say any lie they want and not be held accountable. He was curious: why I would bother naming myself on DGreport when so many others do not?
I and others have used the term sock puppet for anonymous posters, and derided their anonymity as proof they were disingenuous; that they misspoke on purpose or to some agenda. Are they are too afraid to speak in public so they hide? District 58/99 elections were a good example of bad anonymous behavior. There have been inflammatory comments here as well on other tropics. A case could be made that there has been a misuse of the public trust.
Funny thing though, the anonymous posters, the bad ones, are having a hard time hiding as that blog goes on. Readers are getting wise to them. There is a growth curve involved, and this blog is growing and maturing.
Credibility is an issue with me. People know where to find me. They can email me, write me, call me; hell, they can show up at my door. Does that temper my comments? Nope. What it does temper is launching personal attacks on anonymous posters whose comment I take exception to. As a known named person, I have to ask myself: if I was talking face to face with this person, would I personally attack them? Nope.
But I have at DGreport.
When I started posting there, I took exception to some comments by posters, particularly Meat, and started to mix it up. I stopped, but never apologized. That was wrong: Meat, if you read this, I apologize for taking your remarks personally, and responding in kind. Two wrongs, both mine, didn’t make a right. I try and steer clear now, but the damage is done. We live with our mistakes, and sometimes we learn from them.
Slight tangent- If there are posters who are under 18, stay anonymous until you are legally adults, then decide if you want your name out here.
When a public official charges that ‘mistruths’ are spread, they may be right, they may be wrong, but they can always, always come into the discussion, named or anonymous, and present their case. Take the case of two anonymous posters crossing swords about the Liquor Commission and charges of ‘politics as usual’. DGDood made some claims, X01703, who claims to be a Liquor Commission member, refuted them. I looked into it, and posted up on it also. So did anonymous Ron Burgundy.
When it comes to the village, and all that concerns it, anonymity has a well-warranted good side. Highly sensitive topics like housing, the buses, local politics, development/redevelopment and other areas may be uncomfortable for us named persons to deal with, but the comfort to comment, to join the discussions may be possible and conductive only under sufficient confidentiality. If the goal is to have the best online discussions possible, to bring the largest number of people into the discussion, and to promote public discourse, anonymity increases the comment pool. What DGreport gains with anonymous posters is the wide range of opinions and perspectives that include not just regular posters, but first-time and very occasional visitors, coming into a discussion for the first time. They make it lively. Tell me my comments are as biting as Hellomoto. That would not be true, yet most of what he has claimed as fact is easily verifiable, and gets either vetted or outed accordingly.
Meat, stay Meat. Hellomoto, DGDood, DG_DA, Champ Kind, Ron Burgundy; stay anonymous, and keep contributing. If you step over the line you’ll take heat for that, and take a little heat for being anonymous too: so what. Facts have a tendency to shine light: the more the better. Opinions are important too, and anonymity makes those opinions easier to put out there, here, so they too can see the light of day and be scrutinized.