Anonymous Comments

Posted by Ryan Jerz on Tuesday April 4, 2006.

I’m getting pretty tired of anonymous commenters. I don’t know what it is, but when I see a string of 20 comments and only three people willing to put their name to what they say, I lose all respect for anyone posting there, and I begin to lose respect for the site itself. And when it comes from a site run by a newspaper and a political reporter, I find it pretty irresponsible. Yes, I understand that many, if not most weblogs are run by people concealing their identities. But I feel the same way about them as I do about anonymous commenters. But there is one small difference: even if you have a weblog and you use a pseudonym, when you comment on something, whether your own site or that of someone else, that same name is attached to what you say. But to hide behind the name “anonymous” is chickenshit. And when the vast majority of the comments received on your website are from people using that moniker while claiming to be throwing facts out, you’ve lost me. And I’m someone genuinely interested iin those facts and someone who needs to know where people are coming from before I believe them. So, in effect, that site in question has become completely useless for me.

The same goes for people who refuse to allow comments that question their authority and importance. I have been banned from commenting on a local political site (and one, ironically enough, that I actually agree with on many, many issues) simply because I questioned the site administrator’s willingness to allow free and open and honest debate. In the comment I even said I was unafraid of the criticism that would be thrown my way and used my real name. And, get this, not a single one of my comments has ever made it onto the site at all. That is not what you call a news and opinion site. That’s what you call propaganda. Why is it happening this way?

So the point here is this: in the realm of local politics, what are people so afraid of? If you are a staffer for a campaign and you decide to post a “fact” about a competing candidate, but fear you won’t be taken seriously because of your connection to your guy, what the hell good does using “anonymous” do for you? Nothing. If you run a site and allow “anonymous” to run rampant in your comment section, throwing bullshit around hoping some poor sap who can’t think for himself will believe it, what should I get from your site? That the facts do not matter. Force people who want to comment to attach their names, and I’ll change my tune. If you run a site and are afraid to allow one person, who uses their real name, to call your opinions and policies into question, what might I learn from you? That it’s never about the issues. It’s about the power. And we all know people who seek power are the ones who should least be allowed to have it.

Update
Whoever tried to leave a comment from ip addres 24.205.96.99, it didn’t work. As a spam measure, you have to hit the preview, then hit the post buttons. I screw it up myself sometimes. Either that or you tried to post without using an email address. Silly you.

Ryan JerzRyan Jerz is an all-around good guy who wants people to eventually refer to him as "that dude who climbs mountains."

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