Wednesday, April 04, 2007

New Blog, Coming in May

I am going to start another blog in May. There will be some things I handle differently on the new blog...

When I started this blog I allowed anonymous comments.

Then for awhile I stopped allowing anonymous comments and some people complained to me about it.

Then I allowed anonymous comments again...

I have given this issue quite a bit of thought.

I am pretty sure that my new blog will not allow anonymous comments. It is to easy for people to post comments and "sling mud" with no accountability.

Do you think I should allow anonymous comments or not?

Mike Sylvester


scott said...

The volume of comments you receive could really suffer, especially if people have to sign up for a Blogger account just to post a thought.

Tim Zank said...

Mike, I guess there are two sides to this, the ability to post anonymously allows people in sensitive positions to add comments without fear of retribution. However, it also allows people to be just plain snarky with no consequences too.

I think for your opinions to be taken seriously, you should have enough guts to let people know not only where you stand, but who you are.

I would disallow anonymous comments.

Anonymous said...

It is stupid to post your name and information on any website, particularly if you're a female. There are a lot of nutty people in the world, and NOT posting your information is just common sense safety. It is also illegal to post information on people who have not done so themselves. Just a FYI should anyone feel compelled to do so.

Jeff Pruitt said...

I agree w/ Tim. I think disallowing anonymous comments would add a little more positive discourse to the site...

Tim Zank said...

I rest my case.

Angry White Boy said...

Illegal to post information? Sorry honey, that's not how it works

A web sites' right to post your information is ONLY bound by the privacy policy listed on that web site, or in this case a Blog.

If there is no privacy policy, it's open season.

I'm with Tim and Jeff on this one.

Charlotte A. Weybright said...

I agree with Tim, Jeff, and AWB. I dislike anonymous comments for another reason in addition to the "snarkiness."

Those who post anonymously can do so without a shred of evidence to anything they say. For those who write anonymously, they practice open season on everyone and everything without having to take responsibility for their statements.

If the author thinks a comment is worth posting, then the author shouldn't be hesitant about identifying wtih the comment.

As to the comment about posting on the website as unsafe; yes, there are a lot of nutty people out. They will find you through means other than a website comment. Look at the amount of info that can be obtained for free. An even greater amount is available to anyone with a credit card who feels your info is worth the dollars.

John Good said...

Sounds unanimous, Mike. And if all of WE strange bedfellows can agree on something, it's probably the right choice. =)

Scott Barnes said...


I enjoy the spirited discussions and disagreements that often appear on this blog. If someone is really serious about presenting an opinion, I feel they should stand behind their statements. It adds a level of credibility as well as accountability. If someone really wishes to post a comment, they won't mind spending 5 minutes to create an account..

Doug H. Sec, Lib Pty AC said...

To All,

Many good points have been raised in opposition of anonymous blogging.

However, I feel it is necessary to represent the devil in this case.

All of the arguments appear to fall into two (2) main camps:

#1) allowing anonymity allows people to be public turds without repercussions;

#2) If you believe so strongly in something you ought to be willing to face the public and take the heat.

There is the third camp that is linked to #2, that by identifying yourself you will play nice.

Do I have it right so far?

Presuming I do it seems clear that the general purpose of a blog is for people to discuss a topic of concern/interest to a group of people. In so discussing it may sometimes be necessary for someone to post anonymously to protect themselves.

Therefore I would support the idea of anonymous posting. Not to be against the above stated purposes, but rather for all of the reasons I may not now be able to foresee.

The civility can be thrown out the window with or without anonymity, so I think the fear of someone being insulted or feeling insulted is somewhat irrelevant. We cannot limit liberties out of fear.

I would however agree that anonymous posts should be avoided to promote an open and fair exchange of ideas. When I post under my own name people are able to "get a feel" for where I am coming from and whether or not I am a credible person by either reputation or their experience with my posts in the past.

I would thus humbly propose a compromise:

Let someone who is wanting to make a post anonymously contact you the blog master and explain their reason for this request. You then may post it anonymously on their behalf if you deem their reasons worthy. That way the door isn't always locked but it is closed and can be opened on occasion.

It is with the use of anonymity and the freedom to speak without fear of reprisal that many worthy and worthwhile news stories have been broken. The freedom to speak out knowing you cannot be hurt allows a greater discourse and exchange of information when used appropriately.


Doug Horner

Kevin Knuth said...

God I hate this- I agree with Tim AND AWB.


Tim Zank said...

Kevin, now ain't that a revoltin' development? Ha!

See, we don't ALWAYS disagree!!!

Robert Enders said...

How about they be required to use a handle? The only thing that I find frustrating about anonymous comments is that sometimes two anonymous posters will take opposing stances. I don't care so much about trying to learn the person's name as I do about pointing out that the same person supports an issue one year then flip-flops the next year.

If you truly have something relevant to say, you can
A. Create a Blogger account with a psuedonym.
B. Email your comment to Mike.

However, if you really have something juicy, you should contact a professional journalist. Mike is NOT covered by the state's shield laws. Even if you make an anonymous post, it is still technically possible to track down your ISP address.

Don't think that you're safe using a library computer. There is a reason why they make you sign in before using the PC's.

Andrew Kaduk said...


Might I suggest using HaloScan on your new blog, which allows you to block certain IP addresses if the anonymous twits start getting out of control...this way you can have the best of both worlds. If people want to participate in decent discourse anonymously, they may...but if they are just trolling and generally degrading the conversation...hijacking threads and the like...then you just block them.

jon said...

Anonymous posts are for the gutless. If your afraid of the nut jobs on the internet (and their are many) don't blog. Personal information, other than your name, does not need to be public information, but I've seen too many anonymous posts just mudsling with little else to say. If you can't stand up for your own opinion and sign your post with your name, either your convictions are week or you’re a Journal Gazette Editor.

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