No More Anonymous Comments for Me
After an absence from the blogosphere, I look forward to the brief e-conversations that comment threads create. But I really don’t enjoy getting anonymous, negative comments. While anonymity has many important purposes, I’m not the first to notice that it can erode the type of community necessary for certain types of discussions. As Jaron Lanier writes,
Anonymous blog comments, vapid video pranks, and lightweight mashups may seem trivial and harmless, but as a whole, this widespread practice of fragmentary, impersonal communication has demeaned interpersonal interaction. (You are Not a Gadget, p. 4)
To elaborate: how does one argue, or even converse, with an “anon”? How do I know that “anon” is not just a stealth astroturfer willing to make any argument on behalf of a commercial sponsor? The game of internet conversation only seems worth the candle if one is addressing someone with a coherent set of beliefs that can be appealed to in order to make one’s argument. Exchanges with the anonymous feel like a Turing test, where I’m constantly trying to figure out if the person on the other side of the comment is actually writing in good faith or is a troll up for lulz.
So I’ll freely delete anonymous comments on my posts if they seem unhelpful, cavilling, or carping. I think this is fully consistent with our extant comment policy, but at least I now have this post to more fully explain myself if an “anon” demands that his or her comment appear.
Image Credit: From this site; the internet assures me it’s the Ring of Gyges, so it must be, right?