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Anonymity - Good or Bad?

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Anonymity - Good or Bad?
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LaurensSocial EditorUser avatarPosts: 2963Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:24 pmLocation: Norwich UK Gender: Male

Post Anonymity - Good or Bad?

With the internet, all of us can quite easily have a degree of anonymity that would otherwise be difficult to achieve. We are under no obligation to post our thoughts etc. using our real name, and we can even cover our tracks further by using proxy servers and so on to hide our IP address. Do you think this is a good or a bad thing? Why?

Its difficult for me to decide. On the one hand anonymity can be important to get a certain message out, without bring any harm upon oneself---which can be extremely valuable in certain instances.

However if one is so inclined, one can also seek to bully individuals online and use the anonymity to hide yourself from any real-life repercussions.

I haven't thought much more in depth about the potential pros and cons of online anonymity, but I thought I'd open it up to discussion.

Should we all be willing to put our name to what we do or say online?
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Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:53 pm
NemesiahPosts: 429Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 8:00 amLocation: Mexico Gender: Male

Post Re: Anonymity - Good or Bad?

The thing is that you don't know what the repercusions would be.

If my comments would meet with proportional concecuences yes; however, you don't know who is reading you and you don't know how s/he is going to react.

This is important since uttering a thought can nowadays geto into a lot of trouble.
Dragon Glass just put up a post where a child got killed for blasphemy (http://www.theleagueofreason.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=11744).
Some teen is facing serious jail time because of a bad joke he made (people interpreted it as a terrorist comment http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jun/30/lol-jk-texas-teen-faces-8-years-prison-making-terr/).
Here a man lost his job because his joke got overherad by some woman that tweeted about it (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/03/how-dongle-jokes-got-two-people-fired-and-led-to-ddos-attacks/).

The problem is not that people will react aggainst the idea but the magnitude of the reaction.
Have some dude lecture me on not speaking about the prophet after blaspheming, ok bring it on, Be murdered for it? Not thanks!
Loose my LoL acount for an idiotic comment? Harsh but ok. 8 years prision? Fuck that!
Have some gal call me a chauvinistic pig for my dongle joke? sure thing, Get fired over it? How about no?

On the other hand there is new tendency (in America at least) to punish whistleblowers (https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130620/18182823551/obama-administration-has-declared-war-leakers-claims-any-leak-is-aiding-enemy.shtml).

And there is the whole spying on anyone thing the american government has going on (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/11/us-usa-security-eu-idUSBRE95A0K920130611) .

The whole "Freedom of speech" thing seems to be going the way of the dodo; so anonimity seems to be the only way to be able to put ideas that people fear will be reacted against. Problem is, are you anonym enough for what you are saying?
Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:00 pm
EpiquinnUser avatarPosts: 93Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 8:54 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Anonymity - Good or Bad?

Good thing or bad, it's here to stay. Communicating anonymously keeps getting easier and easier, and any attempts to control, restrict or censor it are becoming increasingly futile, besides being an infringement on our privacy and freedom of information.
Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:24 pm
VivreUser avatarPosts: 351Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:05 pmLocation: dungeon of despair Gender: Female

Post Re: Anonymity - Good or Bad?

Hi,
to me anonymity has to be and stay a granted possibility and you have already given the major reason for it:

anonymity can be important to get a certain message out, without bring any harm upon oneself

As long people have to fear to be harassed, stalked, suppressed, lose their home /job /companionship raped, excluded, imprisioned or excecuted for revealing their opinion in connection with their personal datas, anonymity is the only option to participate.

I rather accept to bear bullying until it is eliminated on the classical way by resolving and banning an IP, but to exclude millions of humans from eased communication.

Those people who deliberately seek to harm others on and via the internet will always bring up enough effort to somehow enable to continue with their behaviour. They won't be stopped by giving a real name.
And beyond that I assume that 'identity-theft' could encrease dramatically.


@Nemesiah ~ I also thought to bring up some of those links first ~ thx :-)
Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:27 pm
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LaurensSocial EditorUser avatarPosts: 2963Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:24 pmLocation: Norwich UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Anonymity - Good or Bad?

Thanks for the responses guys.

I realise that anonymity is here to stay, to an extent it has always been available, its just that now it is an easy route for anyone to take regardless of their aims.

I guess my question is rather naive on second thoughts, as I realise that anonymity can be both good or bad depending on the aims and intentions of the person using it. So the question is essentially meaningless. However I think some interesting moral discussion could be had on the issue.

Obviously the main advantage of anonymity is the avoidance of repercussions, which I guess leads to a slightly more nuanced question from me; do you personally behave, or speak differently when you are aware that you are anonymous, or simply that you are free from repercussions?

I certainly do to an extent. When I argue with people online, I am far more confrontational than I would be in a real life encounter. I am not sure exactly why this is, perhaps I find doing so easier when I am distanced from the person's reaction, or maybe it is because I am aware that there will be no repercussions to speak of (such as being thumped in the face). Having said that, I also go to no great pains to ensure my anonymity online, my username here is my real first name, and you can quite easily find out who I am - which doesn't bother me because I have nothing to hide, or hide from.
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Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:17 pm
NemesiahPosts: 429Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 8:00 amLocation: Mexico Gender: Male

Post Re: Anonymity - Good or Bad?

IRL I'm much more polite but I do tend to speak my mind, this has cost me friends, relatives and social groups to abandon me or avoid me. In profesional settings however (school, work) I tend to go about my business and keep quiet since I do not wish to face the repercusions of other people´s intolerance to my opinions with the exception of atheism, veganism, and alcohol abstinence all of which I have made known to people in all environments and do not give way even under peer presure (the invitation to eat meat, go to church, drink a beer) as I am adamant in those convictions but in work environments I stay quiet once I have stated how I'm going to operate (meaning I don't get preachy). Other stances such as men's rights I leave out of profesional environments.

I try not to troll people online but I have Poe'ed a couple of particularly idiotic youtubers.
Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:29 pm
ProlescumWebhamsterUser avatarPosts: 5005Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:41 pmLocation: Peptone-upon-Sores

Post Re: Anonymity - Good or Bad?

I'm not particularly bothered about hiding my own identity, and you'd be able to find it if you put some thought into it. I pretty much always use the same username too as I don't really feel much of a need to obfuscate. I'm not that important.

I'm basically pretty much the same twat IRL, but with a cute face and the requisite constituents of my gender.

As for the second question, yes, I've used various techniques (not particularly complex ones) to avoid easy identification, but not as a general rule, and not in a way I consider harmful. Even the few times it's been appropriate, I don't think I've broken my own principles whilst doing so.

Oh, and Laurens, we know where you live and we know when you're at home. Muahahahahahaha!
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Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:58 pm
australopithecusLime TordUser avatarPosts: 4304Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:27 pmLocation: Kernow Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: Anonymity - Good or Bad?

Anonymity isn't really an issue for me. I have no great compulsion to hide my identity, I'm not Batman after all, and if someone wanted to find out personal details about em they probably could with little effort. Besides, I've linked to all sorts of stuff here; my DevArt, Facebook...etc
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Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:24 pm
VivreUser avatarPosts: 351Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:05 pmLocation: dungeon of despair Gender: Female

Post Re: Anonymity - Good or Bad?

I always try to be true in any situation but also care about possible repercusions and wouldn't unnecessarily trigger them. Still I speak out when I'm asked or be treated unfair.

But the internet is a bit different place. Whenever I join a group I have to decide anew if to reveal my gender or keep it vage and leave it to the common predjudice, that everybody online is male.
I changed using my real name and go with the current one which comes pretty close. Thus I try not to leave unecessary traces and don't share valid datas like eg birthdate and phonenumbers.
Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:38 pm
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