BLOG: The Blessing And Curse Of Anonymity

Bryan Dubois
Aug 24, 2010

Does the curse outweigh the benefits of the blessing?

Don't get me wrong:  I believe anonymity is useful.  I'm just not convinced that anonymity's cost is worth the benefits in the digital pages of   There, you must wade through a cesspool of often pointless off-topic rants,  innuendo, personal attacks, misinformation, and outright lies just to gather the one or two points that may be worth building on to create a useful dialogue. 

The power to overlook insults is so rarely used that what may have started as a useful dialogue quickly degenerates into a name-calling battle which most scroll through without reading anything more than screennames -- that's if the reader chooses to review the commenting section at all.

Sometimes the search for a useful insight can be so exhausting that it leads a blogger to shake his head and ignore the keyboard for a few weeks. 

An algae bloom in your pool certainly doesn't help either.

Anyway.  Much of the vitriol in the commenting section is made possible through the important tradition of anonymity.  God bless it.

Anonymity has always been respected as a legitimate way for people to blow the whistle against illegal/unethical acts in governments or corporations.  Anonymity is used to avoid legitimate risk of blowback for challenging the status quo.  Anonymity is NOT a right extended to internet users so they can anonymously name-call, attack known people, and generally cause mayhem by spreading lies through commenting systems on blogs and newspapers across the country.

Furthermore, when a newspaper uses an "anonymous" source, the identity of that source is known to certain people at the newspaper.  (He/she is only "anonymous" to the readers.)  When a newspaper agrees to publish the claims of an anonymous source they agree to take the risk that goes along with it.  Namely, that if the source is lying/distorting/misleading any of the claims he/she is making, the newspaper will lose credibility for publishing them in the first place.  There is risk with publishing information from anonymous sources.  The risk is diminished through fact-checking and vetting.

Sometimes useful information is published in the commenting section on this website.  Rarely, if ever, is that information so sensitive that it could not have been simply called in to the newsroom at the Sandusky Register.  There is a reason that the Sandusky Register allows the privilege of anonymity in the commenting section - but to ensure that whistleblowers have a safe place to anonymously make accusations against businesses and government in the Sandusky area ain't it.

I agree that the commenting system on should allow anonymity, and I'm willing to endure the attacks on myself as a small price to pay so that others can enjoy the privilege however, I see way too many cowards abusing this site to name-call, attack, lie about known people as they cowardly hide in the safe shadows of anonymity.

So, my challenge to you cowards is this:  Don't hide.  Step out into the sunlight.  If you have an attack to make, attach your name.  Then we will be afforded the opportunity to view the complaint through an important perspective we don't get through anonymity.  (Your motives become more clear).  Make your complaints with civility.  Make them politely.  If  you have a problem with a local business, a public official, a newspaper editor, or myself, stand tall and make your challenge with a stiff spine.  If you can't do that - then maybe you don't have one.

Meanwhile, our search for the 'Whispering Coward' continues...

Yesterday was curiously void of nominations for some odd reason.


6079 Smith W


Don’t Obama supporters believe and are told repeatedly by Mr. Obama and others in his circle that the reason for our current socio-economic downturn is due to the actions and inactions of POTUS GW Bush?

Aren’t some Obama supporters smitten in a cult of personality over the man?

One of my favorites:

Actually the hard core"Left" don't think that his policies are Marxist oriented enough.

In the final analysis, show me exactly where the terms “Obamabots” and “blame Bush” is grossly inaccurate.

In a verbal or a physical fight, I like to remember the words of the character Dalton in the movie "Road House":

“Take the biggest guy in the world, shatter his knee and he'll drop like a stone.”

6079 Smith W

@ MWS:

Emotionally identiying with a political figure is obviously your own personal issue.

Continue to attempt to change the subject, but the question remains:

What is the meaning behind and the purpose of your user name?

Massengill Wins...

Don’t Obama supporters believe and are told repeatedly by Mr. Obama and others in his circle that the reason for our current socio-economic downturn is due to the actions and inactions of POTUS GW Bush?

If the shoe fits.......

Obamabots are ordered to remember and to repeat often: It ain't Obie's fault, it's all Bush's

Does that mean that Obamabots can be substituted with Bushbots, Rushbots, Beckbots and Foxbots and Obama switched with Bush without it being offensive?

Rushbots are ordered to remember and to repeat often:  It ain't Bush's fault, it is all Obama's?

Thanks for the tag line.

That sounds totally unfair to blame the guy who got us involved in 2 wars, crashed the economy and allowed the banks to crater.  Makes so much sense to blame the guy who is trying to fix that which is damaged. 




Massengill Wins...

Emotionally identifying with a character from a fictional book obviously sounds like a personal issue.  What's wrong?  Was the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and Holden Caulfield already taken?


Rushbots are ordered to remember and to repeat often:  It ain't Bush's fault, it is all Obama's

Driving in Circles

 You have to take the good with the bad.  It is pretty easy to tune out the worst offenders, the party line parrots, and anyone with all caps.  On the whole, the discussion would be less honest if everyone had to put their name out with their opinions.  Too many people would face problems in their professional and personal lives.

I don't always (or even often) agree with Bryan, but I respect that he puts his name out on his posts.  If he could just lose the blind trust in certain blonde women...

Bryan Dubois

Ha!  Good one Driving.  (The blonde women thing.)

I appreciate the good natured fairness.

Bryan Dubious

 I'm willing to endure the attacks on myself, but as a true patriot blogger, I believe you shouldn't reference a blog post that was deleted by one's own media company! 

Massengill Wins...

Dubious you seem much more credible than Dubois.


It should stay how it is: here is why.

Some have brought facts to light before the papers ran an article.

Some have collectively forced elected officials to do their duty.

Yes many have spewed venom. Big deal that is life.

Yet if any wants, for a nominal fee a persons IP can be secured.

Some also through these blogs had local officials converse here.

Truly convenient for all parties concerned, no noise, everyone gets a chance to speak, etc. 

Jonathan Beck

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained personal attacks. Discussion Guidelines

Jonathan Beck

Some people just can not hale the truth.  I could give you fifteen thousand examples