Many people cannot (for fear of reprisals) or choose not to (for personal reasons) attach their names to what they say online. However, the problem with online anonymity is that it’s associated with trolling, slander, hate-speech and all manner of bad behavior.
The debate about anonymity has risen again with Facebook’s new comments, which have been in place on TechCrunch for a few weeks. Short version, after implementing Facebook’s comments, which attach to a person’s real profile, TechCrunch comments have changed. On the plus side, the trolls are gone. On the minus side, the commentary is less interesting.
For a news outlet of sorts, this is good and bad because while clearing out the cruft, they also lose anonymous tipsters and inside sources.
I started writing this with my usual goal to pick a side, but I simply can’t.
A few years ago, an acquaintance died in a horrific car accident. This person was entirely at fault and unfortunately paid the price for what appeared to be distracted driving. The news reported the accident online, and in the comments were many offerings of sympathy, peppered with the occasional got-what-was-deserved comment, which of course, set off the emotions of the well-meaning, etc.
You probably recognize the thread.
I guess the point is something like this gem from Toothpaste for Dinner (@toothpastefordinner):
We all want to believe the world is rated PG-13, but it’s really R-rated and we’re not sure whether we like it or not. Or something.
This went off the rails a bit, but I guess that’s a reflection of my mixed feelings.
What do you think? Find the comments, anonymously or otherwise.