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February 14, 2009


I compromise on it by using a name for the internet but staying consistent with it from my blog to any comments I make anywhere else. Sometimes I am tempted to use my real name; but I was in chat rooms at one time and learned that you can end up with stalkers. Since I only want people turning up at my door, who I invited, I have concerns about the safety of using my real name; but at the same time I write nothing that isn't true or that I am not proud of writing; so I would like to use my real name. I do give out my real name and meet people eventually if I form a friendship online and decide they are to be trusted. It is though a balancing act about how much information to give out.

On my blog, the ones without their own blogs are the most likely to be really nasty; but like you, I do allow anonymous because some have worthwhile things to say which would be a shame to lose for the few who are nasty.

When I read the comments at newspaper sites though I wonder what kind of people they are for some of the awful things they say. I should say when I used to read those comments. I quit because I'm not a masochist.

Just came across this Daily Kos post, "What's in a name? The virtue of pseudonyms."

It comes to pretty much the same conclusion as I did:

"I don't want to deny myself and others the opportunity to hear voices that would otherwise be silenced if we required "real names." Besides, how do we know the "real name" tell us what we think they do?"

I'd say 90% of the comments I've gotten on my blog are from "Anonymous". I think it comes from fear. People don't want to be responsible for what they say or think. They're afraid of the repercussions they might have to face. The way I see it is "tell the truth, and you won't have to worry about whatever you say".

David, that's a fine sentiment and it certainly is good policy when dealing with people you know in the world.

However, if you've ever worked for government, you may be well aware that there are many times when telling the truth means worrying a lot about what you have said and who will take umbrage that you said it, and whether someone will connect that post to you and then to your boss or some legislator who would prefer that some other view be true.

Oregon is an extremely small state, and the political set is even smaller. The internet is forever. Because of that, without a pseudonym, I can't post on a whole range of topics. Therefore, I use a pen name. I took my psuedonym from a great journalist whose motto resembled your sentiment about truth, only his was "Tell the Truth and Run."

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