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« Forensic lab offers DNA testing for dog attacks | Main | More on the Harry Potter connection »

13 July 2007

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MLO

Unfortunately, in our current fascist environment, you can be dismissed from your employment for any reason whatsoever - barring specific legally protected conditions. This makes it very dangerous for the majority of people to blog under their "real" name. I am pretty much always "mlo" wherever I go, but I don't put my real name everywhere due to the hostile environment employers have made to free speech.

I suggest you familiarize yourself with the issues the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) has been dealing with for the last 10+ years before taking online anonymity into your sights.

Pax,

MLO

MLO

Oh, an addendum. Our Founding Fathers wrote under many pseudonyms into the early part of our country's history without tarnishing (the already tarnished) newspaper industry.

No less personages than Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Clemens, etc. wrote under other names to advocate for their positions.

Pax,

MLO

Christie

Unfortunately, in our current fascist environment, you can be dismissed from your employment for any reason whatsoever

And I specifically said, UNLESS YOU'RE GOING TO LOSE YOUR JOB. I don't mind defending what I think I say. I object to being expected to defend something I did NOT say.

Christie

No less personages than Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Clemens, etc. wrote under other names to advocate for their positions.

And I acknowledged the tradition of anonymous commentary in my introduction. But nonetheless, as a journalist or an editor, I do not and cannot give the same "weight" to anonymous comments or authorities as I do to people who I can identify and whose background and credentials I can ascertain. It's just a fact.

Luisa

Hi ---

Luisa Serr... oops, forget you saw that. Luisa here. This is an issue I've wrestled with for ages.

I teach. In a conservative town. [From an actual letter to the local daily: "I saw 'Democratic Party Headquarters' on a downtown office. Are they allowed here?"] I like to keep my professional and private lives rather separate. My students are all on MySpace, etc. and they know how to use Google. So that's one concern. [It's also one of the reasons I keep my blog PG. I probably would anyway, but language stronger than the occasional crap, dammit or apeshit could be potentially hazardous.]

Rebuttal to Concern One: As if any student would read more than two lines of a blog about working stockdogs and rescue pit bulls. As if any parent would read more than two lines, etc. Maybe three or four people actually visit my blog, and most of them are looking for information on foxtail removal.

Concern Two: Fear. I was on the internet before most of you were born, and the Big Rule in those days was, "Don't give out personal information! Don't post your full name. Don't post photos of yourself. Don't reveal where you live. There are a lot of crazy people out there, and they will find you... and GET you." It freaks me out a little to see women -- women who live alone! -- posting their full names, hometowns, photos, FARM NAMES sometimes, on the border collie forums. People, didn't your parents talk to you about how DANGEROUS that can be? [On the pit bull forums everyone uses an alias --- even folks like BAD RAP's founder Donna. (Cultural marker...? Hmm... that might be an interesting topic to write about.) A year or two ago a woman who ran a pit bull rescue in eastern Canada had a dog swiped by a forum poster. The rescuer was relocated witness-protection style, the dog was found and charges were filed, IIRC. All very dramatic. Scary stuff does happen.]

Rebuttal to Concern Two: See Rebuttal to Concern One. Also: this is 2007. If anyone really wants to discover my full name or address, all they have to do is spend a minute online. Yes, this makes me want to move to a remote cabin in the Northwest Territories, but that's just the way it is: privacy is outdated [though not overrated]. I already use my full name when I post to Sheepdog-L and other lists.

Did I mention that I have really savage border collies? And pit bulls? Call first.

Concern Three: Despite the fact that privacy has sort of ceased to exist, I'm a private person. Using only my first name allows me to believe that I'm maintaining a certain distance. And I don't use my dog's names when I post about them, for the very personal, atavistic reason that revealing their names would make me feel as if I were violating a bond or a sacred trust.

Rebuttal to Concern Three: Luisa, you have a blog, for God's sake. You post on half a dozen forums. Want privacy? Get off the damn computer. Also: See Rebuttal to Concern One.

Sigh. Maybe I can put my name at the bottom of the sidebar.

Thanks for reading ---

Luisa S... Serr... [Oh, crap, I just can't do it!] Serrano! There.

KathyF

I think people who write about Big Important Things (like kitty litter) ought to use their own names if they want Big Important People to quote, recognize, respect, pay attention to, etc., what they write. Which is sort of what you said.

If, on the other hand, they don't care about having that sort of thing, then they can write as "emptyhead" for all it matters (and many nom de plumes aren't that far off).

Me, I actually was told that I wasn't allowed to criticize the host country or engage in political activity while I'm here, and while I scoffed at that, it's theoretically possible that I could be deported one day. Despite that, I continue to blog about my host country, using my own name. I figure, when they DO try to deport me, I'll at least be able to make a big blog stink about it.

Rod Mc

Chritie, thanks for mentioning me and our conversation. It certainly goes without saying that anyone who fears retribution, discrimination or harassment should feel free to blog or post anonymously, or, as "anonymously" as one can in this age of cyber-footprints and IP tracking.

On the other hand, and this is from the perspective of an openly gay journalist-slash-blogger, there are many people who are trying to call attention (and possibly) rectify the current political climate. Many have chosen to do so by using their first and/or last names, or, by sharing more information with trusted contacts.

For instance, if "Bill" in "Redneck Hollow, Mississippi" is blogging about the intense harassment that he and his partner have suffered, one would imagine that if he were contacted by say, a larger blog, The New York Times or The Advocate, he would be quite willing to provide some information to prove his identity. Otherwise, it's quite possibly just another JT Leroy.

Moonbeam

Just wanted to let you know who much I love your blog Christie - you're a neat person!

Great Dane Addict

Uh-oh. I don't blog anonymously on purpose. I just prefer to be known as the Great Dane Addict in the blogging world. Cuz that's exactly what I am. So at least the title fits. No one really cares who *I* am anyway.

Hi. My name is Mandi.

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