01.31.2015 05:43 PM

Comments, vomments

That’s what Raymi calls the really nasty ones – vomments. Fits.

Got a really nasty one from someone who has apparently been nursing a grievance for 30 years. Thirty years! Tried to write them to respond. But the email was fake, and the email address too. Cowards are as cowards do, I guess.

Reminded me of this from Arianna Huffington, when she banned anonymous comments on HuffPo. Maybe I should do likewise.

“Freedom of expression is given to people who stand up for what they’re saying and not hiding behind anonymity.”


  1. davie says:

    I have mentioned here before that there could be an up side to anonymity. When we are anonymous, people have to focus on what we say, rather than who we are.
    For example, I would feel bad if people held back in response to what I say on here because they know who I really am.

    • Ty says:

      I’d disagree, people start reading and then assume the rest.

      I’m actually amazed there is a comment section, given how terrible it gets sometimes. Names might be a good idea.

      • davie says:

        We are all kind of like Fernand Pessoa, the Portuguese poet who created names with personas attached, and wrote poetry from the points of view of those poets. This combination of anonymity and creativity allows us to unleash our poetic powers.

  2. cynical says:

    With respect, Warren, I maintain my anonymity here more because of some of your readers than out of a requirement to remain unaccountable for what I say. You have my email and if you want to know who I am, all you have to do is ask. Given the triviality and inanity of most of my comments I can’t think why you would.
    It is sad that you get garbage here. I often don’t agree with you but always find your writings stimulating and though-provoking. Many of your commenters likewise.

    • sezme says:

      I’m with “cynical” and kre8tv on this one. I’m happy to tell Warren who I am if he cares, but I’m not comfortable sharing that info with the world wide web. Hey, at least I have an avatar. That makes me a little real, right?

    • Cranston Snord says:

      Also with cynical, here. Warren, if you want to know who I am or anything else about my oh-so-dreary life, drop me a line. Heck, I’ll even raise a glass with you if you want. Question: do punks golf?

  3. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Remember what Stephen Harper said way back when to Peter Mansbridge — that he would meet people online, I assume, on political sites. We know that party leaders — and former leaders, along with MPs are very active, right behind the war roon men and women.

    I’ve always thought leaders should post using their own names but quite frankly, none of them have the guts to do so.

    If you moved against anonymous comments, the number of posts would tank dramatically. So, in the final analysis it becomes somewhat of a trade off.

  4. debs says:

    making people accountable to everyone, is an excellent idea, that way we can be polite, respectful but if not, then we can take it to crank calling the offending parties:)

  5. kre8tv says:

    Ottawa can be a vicious little town such that it can be unwise to let your personal opinions be a source of public record. Still, people still ought to be accountable for what they write. Warren knows who I am and that’s good enough for me.

  6. Lyndon Dunkley says:

    As one of the few people who attach their real name to their comments here (I thought Warren had made it a rule 6 months or so back), I would suggest that if one’s hold on their job/career/standing in life is so untenable that it can be brought down with a blog comment then you should have bigger concerns then submitting anonymous musings.

    • sezme says:

      Let’s say for example that my name is Peter Mansbridge, and lo and behold, I have an opinion about a thing on this here site. While I can neither confirm nor deny that I’m Peter Mansbridge, if I were, I might think it more prudent not to use my real name because in real life, I’m paid not to have an opinion.

      That said, I certainly do see your point that people using their legal names are more accountable for the words they spew here. Unfortunately A) short of hiring a PI, it’s not trivial to find out if people are who they say they are, and B) using real names hasn’t stopped people in the past from making such pests of themselves that they ended up banned once or twice (Koff-tulk-Koff). If forced to use a legal name rather than a pseudonym on this site, I’m sure many would either adopt a more plausible pseudonym or just stop coming.

  7. Eric Weiss says:

    I say do it. I don’t have any problems using my name.

  8. Niall says:

    Hey WK’ers

    I’m a strong free* speech advocate, but if I had a discussion site I would insist that commenters identify themselves.
    Imagine talking politics in a pub and refusing to say your name. !

    You’re correct on this one Warren.


    Niall from Winnipeg

    * I am aware there could be circumstances where anonymous &/or concealed commentary is necessary: the interwebs aren’t that circumstance.

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