What’s Your Opinion: Should We Own What We Think?
Anyone who has a blog or posts regularly on the Internet will agree that the most critical comments almost always come from anonymous sources. I can vouch for it on this blog and when I write on places like Huffington Post or Fox News. My biggest critics have names like “TruthSeeker” or “Light3945.” It’s frustrating, but I accept it, because it’s always been part of web culture – at least until now. Beginning on The Huffington Post, a new campaign has started to encourage people to “Own what we think.” Essentially, the Post has changed their policy and won’t allow any more anonymous accounts. In other words, you can’t trash someone or make negative comments and then hide under an assumed name.
Will it work? I don’t know, but the idea is picking up momentum and other sites are following their lead.
What do you think? Do you have the courage to be known for what you believe? Or do you think it’s better to comment in disguise?
As I read this I was reminded of what Chuck Swindoll once said to preachers. He said, “You should never read anonymous letters. Having said that I read all the anonymous letters I get.” How true! Frankly I think people should have the courage to stand behind what they say but sadly anonymity emboldens people. As a blogger I am simply happy when anyone takes the time to post a comment. Those that are too crude or perverse you can simply edit out. Anonymity has been with us for years I doubt it can be wiped out by even the most popular of blogs or sites.
I tend to think you’re right Mark. People can always sign up as someone else.
It’s important to own [up to] what you think but I don’t agree that anonymity should be equated to cowardice. That seems about as ignorant a statement as some of those that come from readers on the Post, but it’s a main concept behind the move to this new commenting policy. I have to wonder how they intend to do their “internal verification.” Ultimately, I don’t know how successful it can be since they are grandfathering in all existing accounts . . . and those are the same accounts that brought them to this point in the first place.
I’ll go 50/50 Jared. I do think quite a number are cowards – based on how ugly their comments can be. They’d never say that if people knew who they were…
When I worked for WebMD, providing anonymity was a huge key to collecting information on otherwise private topics. People are more inclined to release personal information that can be helpful to others when allowed anonymity.
More often, though, it’s exactly as you say – anonymity provides people a safe platform to behave without character, which is definitely the dilemma.
I’d say it depends on what the topic is and whether anonymity for that topic would protect the user.
Depends on the site because sometimes I don’t want to have to join something to comment. Worst case scenario you can always make a fake account if you want to share without backlash 🙂 I think it’s still a wise thing to do though because at least a fake account takes effort so they would have to REALLY want to trash someone.
I absolutely agree that we should own what we say, one hundred per cent. I wouldn’t dream of hiding behind a pseudonym, ever.
Raymond Luxury Yacht (pronounced Throatwobbler Mangrove).
Thank you “Raymond.”