Anonymity and HTMF

Just want to post my feelings on the Poolboy / James Vassallo ‘interaction’ happening here:

viewtopic.php?p=73743

I don’t want to comment about the substance of the dispute, I’m not being drawn into another one of those things.

But a couple of things are important here:

  1. You have a right to be anonymous here. If Poolboy doesn’t want anybody to know who he is, then nobody will know.

Insisting he identify himself, in my view, is pretty lame, and it’s the traditional/conservative view of the internet:

“how can we have a discussion/argument if we don’t know the identity of the person with whom we’re arguing?” Well, that’s just bullshit. People want to know the identity of posters so they can attack them personally, or bring up something from their past, or belittle them in other ways. ie: “Poolboy, you’re only in grade 6? Well obviously you’re not very smart!” Or “Poolboy, you’re a member of political party X? Of course, that invalidates your argument!”

So to me, asking somebody for their identity is up there with the ad hominem – it basically says you can’t attack a person’s argument, so you want to attack the person instead.

  1. With that being said, if Poolboy (or anybody else) does write something here that is demonstrably libelous, then feel free to get a court order and I’ll be happy to share any identifying information I may have.

Well said, on both points.

Oy Vey, more court orders!

You mean the lawyers can even get rich on htmf?

I’m banking on it.

Has anyone ever actually seen MiG in real life? I heard that he’s only three feet tall.

That portugese fellow is just a front. It’s like the presidency; he’ll take the bullet for the real Mig in case someone flips.

I agree MiG. I like my anonymity on here. Being anonymous is the only way that I can speak my mind. If my identity was out there I couldnt speak freely as it would adversely affect my employment and my life and if I can’t be honest then there’s no point in being here.

I heard he smells like cheese, lives in a hut in the woods and is a top secret assassin for csis.

I’m the opposite, fingahz. I broadcast my identity here, but I also can’t say everything that I’d like to as a result.

I could very easily envision an unfortunate sequence of events where a drunken comment on here somehow makes its way into the hands of my boss or something, gets taken out of context and so on… so I try not to say too much that could cause me problems.

[quote=“Eso”]I’m the opposite, fingahz. I broadcast my identity here, but I also can’t say everything that I’d like to as a result.

I could very easily envision an unfortunate sequence of events where a drunken comment on here somehow makes its way into the hands of my boss or something, gets taken out of context and so on… so I try not to say too much that could cause me problems.[/quote]

I just really dont care, so long as no physical harm is done to me, or my family. Jobs come and go free speech is forever? :wink:

[quote=“jesus”]

I heard he smells like cheese, lives in a hut in the woods and is a top secret assassin for csis.[/quote]

Yes, an assasin with a razor sharp wit and a keyboard, far too qualified for the CSIS. Watch out for the portugese sausage though.

[quote=“MiG”]Just want to post my feelings on the Poolboy / James Vassallo ‘interaction’ happening here:

viewtopic.php?p=73743

I don’t want to comment about the substance of the dispute, I’m not being drawn into another one of those things.

But a couple of things are important here:

  1. You have a right to be anonymous here. If Poolboy doesn’t want anybody to know who he is, then nobody will know.

Insisting he identify himself, in my view, is pretty lame, and it’s the traditional/conservative view of the internet:

“how can we have a discussion/argument if we don’t know the identity of the person with whom we’re arguing?” Well, that’s just bullshit. People want to know the identity of posters so they can attack them personally, or bring up something from their past, or belittle them in other ways. ie: “Poolboy, you’re only in grade 6? Well obviously you’re not very smart!” Or “Poolboy, you’re a member of political party X? Of course, that invalidates your argument!”

So to me, asking somebody for their identity is up there with the ad hominem – it basically says you can’t attack a person’s argument, so you want to attack the person instead.

  1. With that being said, if Poolboy (or anybody else) does write something here that is demonstrably libelous, then feel free to get a court order and I’ll be happy to share any identifying information I may have.[/quote]

Mig,

You make some good points, and I’m done fightin’ and a feudin’ with poolboy. If necessary, I shall refer to point 2 as you suggest.
What I’m more interested in is your philisophical argument regarding anonymity - how can digital media lead the way if no one is ever actually held accountable for what they say? Isn’t that the fundamental problem with people who think the internet will rule the world? Far to much information, of which very little is credible because no one will stake their reputation on it?
And if people will use the identity of posters to attack their statements could not the same be said in the traditional information world? Do not certain individuals attack the messenger just becasue they don’t like the message (or attack the message because they don’t like the messenger)? Your thoughts?

J

[quote=“Eso”]I’m the opposite, fingahz. I broadcast my identity here, but I also can’t say everything that I’d like to as a result.

I could very easily envision an unfortunate sequence of events where a drunken comment on here somehow makes its way into the hands of my boss or something, gets taken out of context and so on… so I try not to say too much that could cause me problems.[/quote]

The beauty of HTMF though, is that you can have more that one account.

I think there’s a proud and long history of remaining anonymous and publishing. It’s not about the internet, nor about the web.

Are newspapers who publish anonymous articles or anonymous letters less credible? How about reporters who don’t reveal their sources? Not credible? When you write an angry letter to the editor in response to an anonymous source or letter, do you demand the identity of the writer?

Most newspapers (and reporters) will respect anonymity – they’ll keep their sources secret. Why do you think it should be different on a website?

Anonymity has always been a cornerstone of democracy.

cf. Voltaire’s Candide, “Pasquinade”, the letters of Junius, “Deep Throat” and “The Federalist Papers”, “Go Ask Alice”, “Primary Colors” and on and on.

It’s strange that a newspaper guy wouldn’t see the value or need for the right to anonymity.

I’m sure the Daily News would publish a letter anonymously as well, wouldn’t it?

OMG! I just deleted one of MiG’s posts! Well, he double posted. I wonder if he did it for added emphasis.

[quote=“MiG”]

I think there’s a proud and long history of remaining anonymous and publishing. It’s not about the internet, nor about the web.

Are newspapers who publish anonymous articles or anonymous letters less credible? How about reporters who don’t reveal their sources? Not credible? When you write an angry letter to the editor in response to an anonymous source or letter, do you demand the identity of the writer?

Most newspapers (and reporters) will respect anonymity – they’ll keep their sources secret. Why do you think it should be different on a website?

Anonymity has always been a cornerstone of democracy.

cf. Voltaire’s Candide, “Pasquinade”, the letters of Junius, “Deep Throat” and “The Federalist Papers”, “Go Ask Alice”, “Primary Colors” and on and on.

It’s strange that a newspaper guy wouldn’t see the value or need for the right to anonymity.

I’m sure the Daily News would publish a letter anonymously as well, wouldn’t it?[/quote]

I do support anonymity and see its value if it’s warranted. In other words, if the person would be at risk for serious repercussions (lose job, get killed, etc.), but not just because you didn’t want to have your name published, or you didn’t want people to know why you’re pushing a particular view point. This is the same standard supported by the Canadian Association of journalists, etc. Stories are very rarely written with anonymous sources, letters very rarely printed without a name to them. Although you are correct, it does happen and that is generally a good thing.
I do see the value of anonymity, but it is generally an exception not the rule in the traditional realm. It appears it is the rule and not the exception in the digital world. That’s the difference I’m curious about.
Perhaps I’m reading more into it then I should, forgive me if so, but you seem rather hostile — I wasn’t trying to pick a fight, I was just curious why you had that opinion. My questions were genuine. and I thank you for the response.

J

Some one once called him a oompa-loompa

Well, you’ll be happy to note that Canadian courts have been more than happy to take on internet libel cases. In fact, there was a recent decision that involved e-mail libel and slander, and the court came down pretty hard on the culprit.

I’m sure some digging around would get you the case I’m talking about. I’m in no shape to be searching right now :wink:

I’d like to be anonymous here, were it not for the fact that I got outed by someone not too long ago. Then again, I kind of left a vague trail of breadcrumbs so to speak, so it wasn’t exactly hard for anyone who knows me to figure out who I was.

Besides, the fact that I live on the opposite side of the Pacific Ocean makes me care that much less about people knowing who I am IRL.

Nevertheless, anonymity is one of the best parts of participating in a discussion board. Race, age, sex, creed, political affiliation, or what car you drive have have no bearing on an argument’s validity, and anonymity thus nullifies them perfectly.

http://www.unc.edu/depts/jomc/academics/dri/idog.jpg