12.28.2012 12:11 PM

Open thread on being less than open

Regular commenters will know I am unenthusiastic about commenters who don’t comment using their real name, going way back. I just think that if you’ve got something critical to say, you should put your name on it.

But if you’ve got something nice to say? Well, for that, there should be an exception, perhaps. Thus, this story, which describes the valiant (but likely doomed) effort of some to dilute the dominance of douchebags on the Interweeb.

Open thread on the lack of online openness: what sayest thou, commenters, anonymous or otherwise?


  1. Tina says:

    Although it is an awesome story, the truth of the matter is that the people who follow, appreciate, and even abuse you Warren are mostly political animals. Sadly, I doubt you get a whole lot of positive feedback – but gobs of negative comments with nonsensical or anonymous non-de-plumes on an average day. We should all make a valiant effort to pay it forward to our friends, family, and even our fan favourites on a regular basis. So bravo to you for your efforts in 2012 and I look forward to your success with the new Premier in 2013! Now stop being making nice…you are freaking me out.

  2. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Readers will recall fondly Nixon’s “enemies” list. That phenomenon also exists in Canada. Quite plainly, many people fear either personal or business retribution. That’s why they tend to be braver using a pseudonym. Trouble is, the political class more often than not pretty well know who is writing what on a regular basis.

    If federal legislation is adopted, a lot of people will suddenly find posting very inconvenient — to quote Onslow.

  3. steve says:

    Ronald more or less says my piece. If you really cross the line you are easily found. Hiding behind a screename filters out the use of force so its only applied in grevious cases.

    Capitalism is a total surrender to human nature.
    Communism is a total denial of human nature.
    Socialism/liberalism is your mother saying make your bed

  4. John Kingma says:

    I think anyone who has something to say, be it praise or critisism, should have the balls to put their real name to it. If you don’t want people to know who you are then keep your mouth shut and stay in the house (and away from the internet).

    Just sayin’.

  5. GFMD says:

    I trust most board operators of sites I would post comments on, but I have no idea what kind of crazies are out there lurking. I would rather be blocked than use my real name.

  6. Cynical says:

    Sorry, but my reason for commenting anonymously has nothing to do with Mr. Kinsella and everything to do with some of the scary stuff I see here in the comments from time to time.
    ANY TIME the operator of this site wishes to know my real identity, all he has to do is ask, privately. I can’t think why he would, as most of what I post is innocuous sniping at worst, and in my own eyes, dull stuff compared to the better-informed and smarter among you.

    I don’t think it is paranoid to think that by posting here you could suffer some sort of retribution from crazies or poorly restrained Conservative operatives. Who needs it? Internet privacy may be a myth but let’s pretend for a while, eh?

  7. Michael S says:

    I use my real first name and my email address has my surname. I’ve learned not to say anything on the Internet to a stranger that I wouldn’t say F2F in a bar.

  8. Bruce A says:

    As long as it’s only a first name.

    I see nothing wrong with using an alias. Given the nasty, partizan nature of today’s politics, however, there is a risk, perhaps small, for some ‘online commentators’, to be targeted for bullying or harassment. I know from personal experience, that a couple of friends have become mean spirited right wingers, that never miss an opportunity to bait someone with whom they disagree or dislike. They aren’t using computers but they are bullies and computers have become a creepy tool to transmit hatred or retaliation for sophisticated users. The end result is that any reasonable discussion about politics or public policy is lost, not to mention that an uncomfortable atmosphere of suspicion and distrust is created.

    Personal respect should trump differences of opinion but not anymore. Hence the need for aliases.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that political operators, snoopy neighbours or employers like to keep lists (on paper or their memories) and share them when advantageous. Think of Tricky Dick or J Edgar.

    Of course, in Canada these types of people are hidden from public view.


  9. Uncommonly Named says:

    Not all names are equal. I’ve only ever met one other person who had my first name and have never met anyone outside my immediate family who had my last name, though both names are anglo-saxon. So basically if I use my name it leads back only to me. However, many other people share their names with hundreds if not thousands of others.

  10. Bil H. says:

    i think we are approaching a time where the anonymity of the internet will start to be peeled away, slowly at first, and i don’t really have a problem with that.

  11. Swervin' Merv says:

    Worth noting from the Manifesto page at ZeroHedge.com:

    “anonymous speech has a long and storied history in the united states. used by the likes of mark twain (aka samuel langhorne clemens) to criticize common ignorance, and perhaps most famously by alexander hamilton, james madison and john jay (aka publius) to write the federalist papers, we think ourselves in good company in using one or another nom de plume. particularly in light of an emerging trend against vocalizing public dissent in the united states, we believe in the critical importance of anonymity and its role in dissident speech. like the economist magazine, we also believe that keeping authorship anonymous moves the focus of discussion to the content of speech and away from the speaker.”

  12. wildflower girl says:

    Just a few of many good reasons to stay off the radar:

    a) Richard Fadden’s assertion that Cabinet Ministers in two provinces
    are under control of foreign governments as are several members of British Columbia municipal governments. At least 5 foreign countries are surreptitiously recruiting future political prospects, China the most aggressively.

    b) Justin Trudeau lists Brian Mulroney as one of Canada’s great Prime Ministers – Brian Mulroney was obviously extremely close to Karlheinz Schreiber who in turn had close dealing with Ilse Skorzeny, known to have strong sympathies with Germany’s neo-Nazi movement (widow of Otto Skorzeny, notorious SS commando). Ah, the underbelly of Quebec!

    c) Sacha Trudeau’s connection with Press-TV, the propaganda organ of the Iranian regime and Justin Trudeau’s connection with radical Islamist with links to terrorist group Hamas. Sacha Trudeau’s links with Fidel and Raul Castro, masters of subversion and intelligence.

    You can see how potentially fluid and dangerous our political milieu is?

    Anything of any political weight is going to make enemies – politics is not some parlour game but a life and death struggle – we will not make it easy for our enemies! If some people want to do the Salman Rushdie thing, more power to them, each to their own. Our hope is that we can raise you above mere partisan politics and become a defender of the Canadian Nation and Western Civilization. As for me, like my Polish ancestors who simultaneously fought the Nazis and the Stalinists, this mother wolf will fight to the last measure of blood to defend her cubs…

    London calling, now don’t look at us
    All that phoney Trudeaumania has bitten the dust

  13. anonymous says:

    Anonymity exists only superficially on the internet. The log files contain your fingerprints which can be used to identify you.

    However, I think that superficial anonymity is still important. It allows one to speak honestly without fear of direct retribution (unless the Conservatives enact bill C-30, in which case an ‘authorized agent’ of the government could request the log files in order to identify you without judicial warrant because, maybe, they don’t like your political opinions).

    So anonymity on the interwebs is valuable and laudable. But it will be lost if tyrannical authoritarians get their way.

  14. dave says:

    To me there can be an upside ot anonymity if we can emphasize that upside. When we do not know names, and therefore do not know family connections, social and political connections, economic or any other connections, there is a chance that we can focus more on what is being said, rather than who is saying it.

    As well, egregious examples such as Julius Assange, Salma Rushdie and Sunera Thobani (among others)show us what can happen to people speaking out on what is on a lot of people’s minds.

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