No more anonymous posts?

Over in the UK, a parliamentary committee wants a “cultural shift” against anonymous posts on the Web.

My two cents are as follows: this happens to be one of the few places I post under my real name on the Web, but I don’t care if people use pseudonyms here or not. I am quite generally in favour of freedom of speech, with some exceptions:
Spamvertising: Despite the musings on a previous post concerning spam posts, I’ve decided that I will just delete them without comment. In real life, the letterbox has a sign that says “No junk mail please”, which cuts down on a lot of it. That, however, is a minor annoyance at best, and if somebody actively and specifically asks for a service and somebody else suggests one (such as a cafe in Galway or somewhere else), that is perfectly acceptable.
Trolling: if somebody posts here just to piss me off, I am probably going to give them a polite warning first. Then I will mangle their posts if they don’t stop, using this English-to-N00bish translator, and if that fails – I will ban them permanently. My blog, my rules, but I would rather not go that far. In real life, however, the best thing to do is to just ignore somebody like that – quite often, they do it under pseudonyms, as a result of G.I.F.T. (Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory), so I suspect many of them won’t do it to your face.
Sockpuppetry: this involves creating a second account or posting as another to support your argument. It’s pretty pathetic and dishonest, and I can view people’s IP addresses to check if it’s happening. If that is the case, I’ll probably ban the IP address. Again, I would rather not go that far.
Threats: On or off the web, these just are not acceptable, and these are the one thing that I would probably report. If you can’t make your point without resorting to threats, then I think you’ve pretty much lost the argument.

In real life, not everything is perfect. You get bigots everywhere, and the silver lining of allowing them to speak their bigoted minds is that most people will be disgusted by them, and you also have the right to tell them to fuck off. Case in point: two years ago, the NUIG Literary and Debating Society had a vote on whether to allow a Holocaust denier to speak in NUIG – the majority were in favour of this, but the Socialist Workers’ Students Society refused to accept this and said they would protest it. I wasn’t involved in the decision or even the talk because I had other things to do, but I agree with it entirely. Let them speak – and the rest of us can tell them we think they’re complete fuckheads.


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About Philip

I'm a physics graduate, sci-fi writer, budding game designer, and amateur human.

4 responses to “No more anonymous posts?”

  1. Rachel B. says :

    I’m often a little unnerved by the way in which so many people online are always on the offensive – more often than not, posts are so quickly confrontational. People always seem to have something to prove, and resorting to aggression often seems to be the way they go about this… It’s a shame.

    Hold onto that silver lining, I say!

  2. Olwen :) says :

    That translator thing is hilarious, Phil! 🙂

    I can’t believe how many people have enough free time to post rubbish online…

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