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7316: Re: ANONYMOUS, PLEASE!: Gill replies and Corbett adds
From: mark gill <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> ANONYMOUS, PLEASE!
Can of Worms
...it is quite difficult to give this article any credence.......it seems
that this person, who requires a hidden identity, is now using being
anonymous as a way to just attack others.........i do hope that we wont be
treated to much more of this sort of thing..........
>From Bob Corbett to Mark and many others:
In the 6-7 years of this list we've had relatively few anonymous
posts. Given the recent history of Haiti (recent here meaning
the lifetime of any on this list or their own family members,
down to the great great-grandparent line) such anonymity seemed important
to incourage people to speak out. I will have to admit, it does seem to
have gone over the top with the Gladys Lauture thread, but people are
However, I do want to note that much of the anti-anonymity flap
is quite mis-guided in this internet environment. Anonymity
is an internet way of life and I personally know a HUGE number
of our list members who are operating daily on this list are using
an alias. This is so easy to do on-line and, as a manner of
ensuring privacy, many do.
When these members of our list post -- and a SIGNIFICANT number of
regular posters are among them -- you get a name and an
e-mail address, but there is no peson behind that name or address.
It's a shell. The only difference between those posts and
these "anonymous" posts is that you are given a (fake) name.
I have been teaching critical thinking for the past 36 years at
my university. One of the principles I try so hard to teach is
to try very hard to abstract from the NAME. Authorities are
not evidence of truth. The lack of a proper "name" (often means
authority figure) is not guarnatee of truth.
The criteria to judge truth by is the argument made. If an
anonymous poster makes charges (and did the anonymous poster
you criticize) and doesn't give very compelling arguments for
them (as you rightly observe that poster didn't), then a critical
mind would regard the post as rather useless and even inflammatory,
and act accordingly. I would argue that one judge the truth and
reliability of a post on the basis of internal EVIDENCE and not
on the authority of anyone. Having a name doesn't give us any further
RELEVANT information to the truth of the matter, and again,
the names you do get on a daily basis are often not who the person
is saying he or she is.