Before you balk at the title of this post, hear me out. I have written in the past about the cloak of anonymity worn by trolls and how it allows them to run rampant on the internet with no real accountability or repercussions for their actions. I know firsthand the issues that can and often do arise as a result. Believe me.

I’ve  been dealing with this for some time working for traditional news organizations and being directly involved with user comments. User comments on news stories can be vicious and vile.  We happen to have moderators at my current company so our comments are a bit more tame. I oversee the team of moderators charged with approving and disapproving comments in real time and they do a great job.

There is some benefit to allowing screen names. Actually there is a need for anonymity in journalism. We need people to provide tips and leak information so corruption can be exposed.

We want the person who knows the bank robber or who saw the hit and run to step forward. Anonymity has often led to justice. It has brought down corporations, resulted in putting criminals behind bars and would-be serial rapists where they belong. Whistle blowers are very important in our society and anonymity allows a certain safety needed for many people to come forward.

The university or state employee  that can post an internal document on a news  site anonymously can make a big difference and be a great service to a community.

So as much as I hate what anonymity can produce online , let’s not forget about why it is still important. You can’t always put your face behind your message and that’s okay.

Transparency is the buzzword of the moment, but not everything belongs out in the open.

Remember, Deep Throat?

Share

Advertisements