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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Anonymous blog comments?


Comments (13)

Never could respect the sissies who swung a Sunday punch and then ran home to hide behind their mother’s apron strings.

The anonymity of the internet should NOT protect you from charges of slander. It appears that this is exactly what is happening to them.

That is one reason I don't make those type of comments about individuals. I wish to remain anonymous.

Libelous remarks like the ones in that story SHOULD be exposed, but truthful comments from anonymous commenters should have every protection available.

Jack, this brings up a related issue that I've wondered about for the past few weeks. Are there any circumstances under which you would disclose the names of people who have blogged anonymously on this site? Can we assume that our IDs are protected?

I have never made, and do not make, promises of anonymity to people who post here. The IP address from which you post is available to me, and I will reveal it or not, for any reason or for no reason.

So if Amy Ruiz can show a jury she got the job on the up and up should she be looking forward to a lovely all-expense vacation someplace, courtesy of all those "bribery" posters on the net?

"The IP address from which you post is available to me, and I will reveal it or not, for any reason or for no reason."

In that case, I take back all of the libelous accusations I've ever made on this blog. I was only joking - all in good fun - no harm intended . . .

Jack's purpose with IP numbers is hardly the matter.

Uncle Sam is listening, By Bruce Schneier, Salon, Dec 20, 2005 (olden days behind the curve ... the tech touch is tighter nowadays).

... Bush directed the National Security Agency to secretly eavesdrop on American citizens ....

The NSA's ability to eavesdrop on communications is exemplified by a technological capability called Echelon. Echelon is the world's largest information "vacuum cleaner," sucking up a staggering amount of voice, fax and data communications -- satellite, microwave, fiber-optic, cellular and everything else -- from all over the world: an estimated 3 billion communications per day. [n.b. Low-ball misunderestimate on purpose -- try 10 to 100 times that figure; or pencil out the numbers by hour, or by minute, since one culture's night is another culture's day.]

An example might be to feed the computers every voice, fax, and email communication ... [emphasis on the word EVERY]


Know yourself If you need help, call the FBI

Speak glowingly of those greater than yourself
And heed well their advice, even though they be turkeys
Know what to kiss, and when

Exercise caution in your daily affairs

Be assured that a walk through the ocean of most souls
Would scarcely get your feet wet

With all its hopes, dreams, promises, and urban renewal
The world continues to deteriorate
Give up!

You are a fluke of the universe
You have no right to be here
And whether you can hear it or not
The universe is laughing behind your back

In that case, I take back all of the libelous accusations I've ever made on this blog. I was only joking - all in good fun - no harm intended . . .

Though you still won't use your full name "Frank" to differentiate your comments from mine? Despite my requests for you to do so?

I suppose there's a time when commenting anonymously has some merit, but frankly, "Frank", it ain't like people here are playing Thomas Paine writing Common Sense. It's too often throwing spitballs from the back of the room --or rocks from the back of the crowd-- and in the end it it seems pretty gutless. And instead of real dialogue between real people, it becomes the anonymity of the mob, like the self-proclaimed heroes who hide behind the white sheets they wear.

It's too bad because I think the blogs have real value. But there's an ick factor with too many commentors who revel in their anonymity, unburdened by a sense of fairness and civility, howling at the moon. A lot of nastiness and ugliness bubbles to the surface which makes a lot of folks --me included-- uncomfortable engaging in such an environment.

I second Frank Dufay's observations that this would be a better forum without the ability to post anonamously. The majority of the "ick" comments seem to be coming from those who think they are hiding.

And I do understand that there may be some circumstances where someone may be genuinely uncomfortable signing their full name - e.g. whistleblowers fearful of retaliation. In that case, they can still email Jack privately - as I have done on a few instances - and depend on his sense of fair play to post in a manner that protects their identity.

Except there are legitimate reasons why some people need the veil of a anonymity and who do make thoughtful contributions to the discourse of blogs.

I for one, learned that lesson the hard way when I was an outspoken proponent of the E-verify system down in Arizona. I blogged all the time with my real name about the issue. As a result, my business suffered. I lost an important supplier and my business clients stopped returning my phone calls. The only variable that had changed was my position on a hot button issue.

It would be sad to lose a segment of blog commenters simply because a loss of anonymity is too high a price to pay.

Actually, there is a fair amount of anonymity to be had on the 'net - if you know how to go about preserving it. It's actually a fairly trivial matter. The level of expertise for most bloggers extends only about as far as being able to isolate an IP address.

If you, like me, try to trace spam back to its origin by way of the IP address, you'll find a substantial minority cannot be traced becaused the apparent IP address is fraudulent. I haven't looked into how this is pulled off, but it's presumably not rocket science.

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