Tuesday, March 11, 2008

anonymity gets the boot

Wow. Well, this one's a doozy! A Congressman's proposing a bill that would outlaw anonymous posting on the internet. You'd have to register your name with wherever you post and your full name would show alongside every post you make.

Once again, I find myself on the opposite side of the aisle as my fellow bloggers and gamers. No, I haven't read any rants about it yet. But, let's face it, the online gaming and game development community is a predictable bunch. I'll be very surprised if I hear as many as five people supporting this move online.

Anyway, I don't have a problem with the proposed bill, from what details that article provides.

The "right to privacy" is a modern invention, a legal "right" only... and even that invented imagined by a judge, rather than legislators. Those of us who were fortunate enough to grow up without it realize how unnecessary it is. The only act that has almost always been private cross-culturally is marital sex, and not even that at times. Christians once confessed their sins on the front steps of church, acknowledging that our every failure is a public failure. There is no private act without public relevance. And there is no righteous act that needs to be hidden (even if "no good deed goes unpunished").

One change I would make to the law, though, is that an IP tag should be included with the name, as well as middle names. There were three Aaron Miller's just in my one middle-school! I'd rather not catch hell for their stupidity again. =/

Let's face it... Killing anonymity on the internet wouldn't stop idiotic ranting, nor the mindless insults and "bullying" this Congressional bill is supposed to hinder, but it would inject just enough responsibility to make many folks a little more thoughtful and considerate online.


  1. You aren't the only one that things that this might not be as bad as 'everyone' claims it is.

    I'm a member of several forums that require you to post under your real name - it makes a big difference to how you post when you attach your label to it.

    If you are too cowardly to post something without your name on it, should you really be saying it in the first place?

    (obviously there are a few instances where privacy is necessary, but I think commenting on blogs is not one of them).

    - Ian Jeffery Tyrrell (IP - (no idea, posting via work...))

  2. As someone who does post with his real name anyway, I agree-- to an extent.

    There are a few problems, though... do we want kids posting with their real names? What about anonymous industry insider bloggers? Whistle blowers? People seeking help for addictions or diseases in forums but embarassed about their condition?

    There a lot of positive aspects of anonymous posting, in various cases.

  3. It's better to expect courage from whistle blowers and addicts than to coddle them with anonymity. Without anonymity, those actions are certainly hard, but the right way usually is difficult.

    Anonymity for kids also seems like a band-aid to me... a jury-rig to avoid the real issues. Online public sites are like offline public places. Kids there should supervised, and all people should have the same expectations of behavior that they have offline. I agree that changes would probably have to made for kids, but I don't think anonymity is the right way for them either.


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