Pandora’s box was opened out of curiosity without meaning any harm. Yet all evils of mankind were released and hope was left in the box once it was closed. In the same way, anonymous blogging allows anyone to write comments or blog stating opinions or criticisms without accountability. Yet spiteful statements have taken over dialogue. The possibility of open and candid exchanges has been left in the box.
I am writing in hopes that media will revisit the decision to allow individuals to write without disclosing identity. One could argue that screen names operate as a shield or cover for those who fear retaliation on themselves, their business or the organization they represent for their extreme views. One could understand this position when in a dictatorship where one’s life is at risk, in the McCarthy Era or in the case of women who used male names to get published.
We don’t have these problems in the US, and screen names invite hateful language and personal attacks which hinder constructive dialogue.
Just recently I stopped using my screen name as I read disrespectful comments and hurtful messages to friends and colleagues who were courageous enough to use their real names instead of hiding behind an alias. I believe that signing our own names forces us to get our facts straight since our names are on the line.
Misgivings about using one’s name bespeak a certain discomfort with one’s position. When we speak our views openly as ourselves and not behind some clever screen name (mine was building bridges, speaking of clever) we are reaching out to the other side. We actually practice democracy.
I hope that most of us can agree that wherever we come from socially, economically, culturally or ideologically, we want peace, a respectful society, a democratic process and our pursuit of happiness. With this basic understanding I am sure that we can find respectful ways to disagree and might reach a common ground sooner. Most importantly we show courage and conviction to our children who are likely to carry themselves like we do. We don’t want them to be offensive, rude, hateful or violent do we?
Even if media doesn’t mandate a signature, I encourage writers, commentators or bloggers to consider voluntarily signing their name.