I still think that the lack of a process for pseudonymity -- this fear of anonymity that's rampant in the community -- does more to quash open and honest discourse than anything else I can think of. Usually it's because of philosophy, but sometimes it's because of the scale of the technological stumbling blocks placed in the way.

Or maybe I'm just a grump.

I like to think I'm a fairly tech-savvy guy. I am a software developer working for a SaaS company, so I do a lot with web-stuff all day long. Except when I'm doing people stuff. At any rate, I tried to ask a question about the environmental impacts of the gasifier project over on Yubanet. It might be a worthy project. I might want to give it money. I wasn't trying to be negative; I was seriously considering adding money to the pot. I don't care if the environmental impact is a wash, I just don't want to support something that adds to our air problems. So I asked.

The problem is that Disqus, the commenting system over there, decided my name was Anon. When I went back to see if there were any responses, I saw that it had done this. I also saw that this was against the site's policy. Well, so, I tried to add another comment with my name properly in there. Disqus decided I was still Anon. So I pointed that out and left.

Today, all my comments are gone.

And so I'm too irritated to try to add any more comments. Why waste my time if their system still might not take my comment? If the problem is mean comments, then delete mean comments. With anti-anonymity, you still have a human having to read the things to decide that "Reinettesenum" is a name. If I have to put my name down as "Alan Smithee," does that really make your system work?

1 thoughtful messages from friendly readers:

Highway said...

Hi Abbot!
Thanks for bringing this subject up again… and again, I totally agree that open and honest discourse is quashed with the restriction of only "real name" people posting on certain websites. I mentioned that I don't have facebook, and I right now, I can't think of a situation that I would ever use my real name to post anything, anywhere.