In principle, I don’t have any problem at all with people who write anonymously or pseudonymously. But in practice I find it incredibly troubling.
It’s clear that, for some, this is really the only way to express oneself or to publish critical points of view. There are bloggers who have a…
I am really getting tired of this rhetoric. To be fair, Kohen’s not arguing for the elimination of online anonymity, but he does profess that it’s only really acceptable under certain conditions. It’s the same, and quite frankly boring, line on speech made by Mill all the way through to Habermas: speech is only valuable insofar as it contributes to an argument towards truth.
Now, I’m a big fan of rational deliberation, but I see no reason to download its offline hegemony into the online realm. Everywhereyoulook people are making this argument, but none of them, including Kohen, bother explaining why it is that speech on internet must be seen as entirely equivalent to speech in real life. Is it so hard to consider that maybe, just maybe, the rules online don’t have to the same as offline? And besides, nothing about the internet prevents people from engaging in transparent and rational discourse (in fact, I’m doing it right now!), so why the sudden need to stop people from engaging in arational discourse?
Peter Ludlow sees “virtual communities as laboratories for conducting experiments in the construction of new societies and governance structures.” I tend to agree with him, and it’s why I love the open internet so darn much. We’ve created a space where you can actually think and be different, be free of the norms, hierarchies and prohibitions of the “real” world, and be able to imagine alternative horizons of possibility. If you would really be willing to undo all of that just to prevent people from calling each other names on a comment board, you should really take a look at your priorities.
Yeah, sure. And this part is also kind of boring, too: “We’ve created a space where you can actually think and be different, be free of the norms, hierarchies and prohibitions of the “real” world, and be able to imagine alternative horizons of possibility.” But maybe I’m rooting for the underdog.