Monday, March 26, 2007

Comments on commenters, blogging, and anonymity

One, an update on me. I'm better, and will be posting more often again as soon as I catch up on some things. Unfortunately it looks like the end of this week before the house and everything else is caught up.

Two, I thought I'd point to this Ann Althouse blog post, where she finally tires of an abusive commenter and deletes his/her comments without regard to content. All of them. To get to the frustration level where the normally mild mannered Althouse reacts with an "Off With Your Head" order strikes me as an extreme case.

I am less mild-mannered (really), more like Henry Hotspur Percy, and I've only reached that point a couple of times.

Which makes me grateful for the commenters I have. There was some speculation I was going to "out" a commenter or a blogger the other day, and let me say that was definitely not my intention. My intention with the post in question was to remind everyone they're not as anonymous as they think, and to have a good laugh at it.

Along the same theme, I was struck by this post from Kevin at Lakeshore Laments, which was echoed elsewhere, "outing" the anonymous blogger who wrote Playground Politics. For Kevin the final straw was a Playground post referring to the Steven Avery's release from prison and the posing for holy pictures that followed with members of state government. It turns out the "Recess Supervisor" at Playground Politics is a former staff member for a member of the state legislature, and was less anonymous than presumed.

I think upon further reflection Kevin would probably be less likely to allow a fit of pique cause him to "out" an anonymous blogger. After all, it was just last year that the Wisconsin Cheddarsphere of bloggers all defended "Dennis York's" anonymity. It seems foolish to allow one issue, or even an accumulation of minor irritations, to cause someone to 'out" an anonymous writer, especially when that information has no bearing on the subject(s) under consideration.

But Dennis York is no longer anonymous, and now neither is Ryan Gruber.

For the record, I am really James Wigderson.

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