Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Virginian Federalist: Ethical Anonymity

I talk about the ethics involved in blogging from time to time. The folks over at Virginian Federalist have a post up about the ethics of anonymous blogging: The Virginian Federalist: Ethical Anonymity:
The Virginia blogosphere has abounded with discussions of blog ethics for the last two weeks. The Virginian Federalist itself has emphatically encouraged fellow bloggers to elevate the discussion and abstain from personal assaults. Some bloggers, though, seem to think that anonymous/pseudonymous blogging is the problem. Obviously, The Virginian Federalist does not share that opinion.
Go check it out. I've got a comment there which I repeat here:

Good post. I may link and blog this.

But a few quick responses:I think the judging of unidentified comments/blogs is based on whether they are discussing issues, or engaging in gossip or personal attacks.

If they discuss issues, even if it's leaks of information, the readers can judge what credibility to set for a comment. With personal attacks damage is done with no real way to discredit the source or point out motives.

"Anonymity allowed Deep Throat" -- but DT was not anonymous to the authors, and it was the AUTHORs that provided credibility to the report. The WP would never have published an anonymously penned article like that.

I've chosen to simply use my real name everywhere, and I've withdrawn comments before submitting because of it. But I can see how attaching my name to a position on an issue could keep people from thinking about what I wrote -- which would be a good reason to use a pseudonym for an issues blog, so people focus on the issue and not the personality.

Anyway, I don't see people complaining about anonymous ISSUES blogs. It's the rumors, personal attacks, lies, false and misleading reporting by anon sources. And by identified sources as well.

1 comment:

The Outlander said...

Anonymity used properly is a tool. Anonymity abused is a weapon.

Thank you for your time.