June 22, 2013: Gregory Favre (Sacramento Bee) wrote a very good article on the subject of anonymous comments, and ponders how Jefferson, Hamilton or Madison might have reacted had folks left such nasty insane comments (my descriptive) on their posts had the internet been around back then. He asks, "If you really believe what you are saying, why hide behind an unrecognizable handle?". I dont allow anonymous comments on any of my blogs. This "hit and run" blog hits by ignorant folks is just too boring to even spend time considering. I tend to feel that way about blogs where the authors use anonymous handles and names also. I do read some of them, but if I have a choice of promoting one or the others comments it will always go to the person brave enough to not hide behind a fake name.
June 21, 2013: Jefferson and Madison and Hamilton used their newspapers to attack their opposition. And remember that some of the same delegates who sat in the First Congress later passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, suggesting that implications of free speech and free press were still obscure.............
But you have to wonder how the discussion would have gone if the Internet and all of the ornaments hanging on it had existed back then. What would Madison and his colleagues have thought about the preponderance of brutal, so often obscene anonymous comments that attack websites everywhere? The key word here is anonymous.............
..........Newspapers whose standards would never allow someone to attack another person anonymously in print allow it online. So do other mainstream media outlets, and that doesn't account for the non-mainstream outlets.Yes, there is an overuse of anonymous sources in too many publications, but that's not the same as allowing these racist rants. Withholding the name of a source to secure important information, an approach that should be the last resort, is one thing. OK'ing name-calling without any filters is something else..................
.........You can rationalize that the Web is different and therefore different rules are needed. You can even brag about the number of comments you receive on your site. Whatever makes you feel good. The fact is that allowing these divisive and despicable comments to flourish makes you a partner. Perhaps an unwilling partner, but a partner nevertheless. Everyone has the right to express himself or herself, just as professor Carey explained in eloquent terms for his students. And that right needs to be constantly and strongly defended. But shouldn't you have the courage to put a name next to the words? If you really believe what you are saying, why hide behind an unrecognizable handle? --Gregory Favre (Sacramento Bee)