Blog administrators that is. For several reasons I thought it might be prudent to talk about anonymity, comment decorum and common sense. On a blog dealing with local issues as this one does from time to time, I can certainly understand why some posters may wish anonymity. Some people, fearing retribution perhaps, might not otherwise comment or tell stories about their experiences with a local issue if they couldn’t assure their privacy for themselves or their family.
On the other hand, some people take anonymity to extremes. For example, on this blog people have logged in claiming to be FBI agents, cops, former cops, victims and on and on. Blog administrators can choose to ignore these comments and let the community deal with them or edit them or simply not allow them to post depending upon their content.
Most people probably know that it is possible, to a point, to track the origination of a comment to the computer or location that it came from. Blog operators have access to server log files which reveal a variety of information about a poster including location, operating system or even the browser they use. So when a poster claims to be in Mendocino County, California but is actually posting from a computer with a Coquille IP number, it is a safe bet the comments may be untrue.
If a poster claims to be a little old lady living south of Bandon but is using high speed DSL connection it is pretty safe to assume that they are also not being truthful. When a poster uses multiple email addresses and user names and personnas but is sending all of these from the same computer with the same IP address in the same location, it is not hard to determine that we have some less than honest people commenting. Computers leave a footprint – in fact, this is how they catch online pedophiles and presumably track down terrorists….
In general I am not opposed to anonymity unless it is used only to attack me or other posters on this site. It becomes counter productive or certainly doesn’t lead to honest discourse. Recently, a couple of individuals have attempted to post comments claiming to be multiple people and I have chosen not to publish the comments. Yes, they were critical of me or worse, slanderous of other posters here but as you can see from the past, flamelick for example, I do allow people to vent about me here to a point.
After some thought and discussion with people I respect and given that everyone knows who I am, I will allow people to criticize me here as long as they are open and honest about who they are. Otherwise, find another location to rant and I promise I probably will not see it which will be best anyway.
Remember, we blog administrators…. we have your number.