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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Goodbye to Anonymous

Image from http://www.cpreview.org

In an attempt to be a more open contributor, I changed my settings in 2013 to allow for anonymous comments. My thoughts were that anyone should be able to contribute or share if they find value in what I write. I will tell you this was not without hesitation, I don’t think you should be anonymous in the 21st century. We are all about social media and many channels of communication and I believe each individual should represent themselves and get the credit they deserve besides self branding which is so important in this day and age.

Anonymous has always confused me. I am a part of great network of teachers, educators, media experts that I would continue to enjoy having contact with. Kind of hard to do if your anonymous.

Today, I have to say Good bye Anonymous, I will miss you. You have given me, 3 interesting reads and I wish I knew who you were. As for the rest, more than 20 comments from anonymous have invalid url’s or their website which is always in the comment is A search engine, an advertisement, a bunch of well, crap. There is no way I am going to allow myself or my readers to be subject to clicking on links that do not have anything to do with what I am discussing. These comments, I find have very litte merit and never really go into the topic I am discussing anyway.

In researching this thought futher, I found a great blog post today that is completely what I have been thinking lately. "Troll Reveal Thyself" by Farhard Manjo. If you are going to be online, anonymous no longer cuts it. If you look at youtube and other unmoderated sites you can see the bashing and the plain cruelness that anonymous posts allow.

I found this quote particularly relevant:

"Anonymity has long been hailed as one of the founding philosophies of the Internet, a critical bulwark protecting our privacy. But that view no longer holds. In all but the most extreme scenarios—everywhere outside of repressive governments—anonymity damages online communities. Letting people remain anonymous while engaging in fundamentally public behavior encourages them to behave badly. Indeed, we shouldn't stop at comments. Web sites should move toward requiring people to reveal their real names when engaging in all online behavior that's understood to be public—when you're posting a restaurant review or when you're voting up a story on Reddit, say. In almost all cases, the Web would be much better off if everyone told the world who they really are."

4 comments:

  1. What you are really dealing with is SPAM. It is annoying and is sometimes best dealt with by just removing the option of anonymous.

    I think you're right your blog has no need for anonymous comments.

    Reddit on the other hand does a pretty good job of policing themselves. Some of the topics they touch on do require the ability to be anonymous. Finally, if you look up doxing, especially on Reddit, you will find that it is very difficult to be truly anonymous.

    If all countries were free of repression there would be no need for anonymity. We could take a position on a topic and not be afraid. Included in that ideas is the notion that we should also be willing to listen to opposing voices. We should be open to the idea that we need to change our opinion based on learning new information.

    I think in discussions of education, politics, and policy in free societies such as the United States and Canada it is imperative that we stand by our opinions with our names. In China, perhaps not.

    As educators it should be one of our goals to teach our students to share their opinions and their names. We all need to be willing to stand by what we think and support our own arguments. We all need to learn to separate personality from position. We need to learn to reevaluate opinions, even those based on facts, and allow each other to grow and change without losing face.

    It is almost akin to the integration of technology, in the SAMR model Substitute, Augment, Modify, Redefine. First we lurk (anonymously) later we take other people arguments as our own (substitution), later we modify those arguments for specific positions (modification), next we develop our own arguments based on those ideas (augment), finally we create our own thoughts (redefine) not quite perfect, but close.

    Feeling anonymous is important for beginners, but that is still possible for them by just not filling out all the information in their account. They don’t actually need the option on your blog.

    Wow this has become a really long comment and I should follow up on my blog.

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    1. Thank you so much for the insightful comment. I do agree that as we start we may want to be anonymous but when I was lurking, I didn't post instead of being anonymous. I'll have to decide if I missed out but I was not ready. You write very well and I especially loved the paragraph:


      "As educators it should be one of our goals to teach our students to share their opinions and their names. We all need to be willing to stand by what we think and support our own arguments. We all need to learn to separate personality from position. We need to learn to reevaluate opinions, even those based on facts, and allow each other to grow and change without losing face.
      One of the concepts I try to stress the most when teaching blogging or digital media is that it is ok to re-evaluate opinions, without losing face as we do grow and learn the more we participate/share. My higher ed students get it but when I taught middle school, they were not so keen on "standing out". You make excellent points, and you left me thinking, thank you.

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  2. I am beginning to agree - though I know there are people who do not want to sign up for things because of fear of identity theft. I comment here with my Google account - not everyone wants to sign up or link accounts in order to leave comments.

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    1. Hi Susan, it's so true. I did try to be more open realizing that DI and fear could make me lose comments, unfortunately, in 3 months, I got over 30+spam messages, inappropriate content and self promoting comments that truly added nothing of value. I guess I have to willing to say goodbye to those who are leary of the internet, thank goodness we embrace it. Thanks for the comment. Your a great resource and always leave me thinking.

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