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Barry Pearson's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Barry Pearson

Comment 2 by danconquer :

This is a serious problem with the internet generally and one that is principally caused by the unprecedented level of anonymity that the medium affords humans whilst participating in what remains, essentially, a social activity....

.... Widespread anonymity also encourages the sort of bad manners and anti-social behaviour which can thrive only because people are not identifiable. While forcing people to identify themselves online is probably too authoritarian, maybe there should be a system whereby people are able to somehow vouch for their internet persona being a bona fide individual (rather than a shill, sock puppet or habitual troll) with the greater authoritative weight that this would bring with it to all their contributions online.

I agree.

But I think there can sometimes be good reasons for pseudonyms. I posted for years on one particular topic using the name "John Ward" to separate my views from any implication that they were the views of the company I worked for. I was even concerned that some might think I was leaking sensitive information. (I got into the habit of quoting publicly-available sources as a defence). And worse fates await some people in less tolerant societies.

Is it that anonymity encourages bad behaviour, or that knowing what you say will be linked to us for ever inhibits our natural behaviour? My first drafts typically have undue sarcasm, inappropriate humour, and sloppy grammar and logic.

Sun, 11 Sep 2011 14:00:54 UTC | #869371