About Anonymous Blogging

When I first started the Blog I did so under a pseudonym…I did it for a number of reasons. The main one though was that I knew that no matter what I said or did people would say it was my father speaking or that I was doing his bidding. Likewise I used the pseudonym so no one would hold him accountable for what I had to say or did. So when I started blogging it was under the pseudonym Whaleoil.

Eventually I registered a domain name and people then found out who I was and as I predicted the accusations started. To this day whenever there is something that I have said that upset the more sensitive types they suggest that my father put me up to it or that he somehow can control a 43 year old man who lives his own life with a family of his own. It actually says a great deal about their sad little life that they believe the father is the man or the man is the father.

Anyone who knows me and knows my politics knows that Dad and I are seldom in agreement, and haven’t been since I was able to voice an opinion….though I must say he has become more tolerant of my view in recent times.

Anyway I thought I would share that because I read a post about anonymous or at the least pseudonymous blogging:

There’s something freeing, to be sure, about being able to say anything you want. You can engage in unfounded name-calling, or intentionally hurt someone’s feelings, or just generally behave like a twelve year old. And no one will know it’s you. And that’s why I don’t read many blogs that are written by people who prefer to remain anonymous or who write under pseudonyms when there isn’t really any reason for them to do so. In fact, I don’t think there are any blogs I read on a daily basis whose authors are anonymous. The anonymous or pseudonymous blogs are often just filled with cruelty, name-calling, and bad arguments. Indeed, there are a great many people who choose to write under an assumed name because they want to harrass or offend others.

I thought about that…and realised that the answer to the complaint that many in the left wing have about myself and David Farrar being int he media a great deal commenting is that we are in the media precisely because we are known, and we are prepared to wear our beliefs and opinions publicly. An anonymous blogger can hardly appear int he media. It is perhaps the single biggest reason that there is so few commenters fromt he left appearing, mostly because they are anonymous cowards.

Which leads into the argument for anonymous and pseudonymous blogging:

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.

Which of course is complete bollocks. This is the exact reasoning behind the majority of the Labour and Union flunkies at The Standard remaining anonymous. They believe their anonymity means they create better writing. It is a specious argument and one that largely leads to their blogs becoming echo chambers.

I believe that if more of them “came out” that there would be a better more honest, reasoned, political discourse in the NZ blogosphere.

 


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  • Kokila Patel

    What would be great also, if people used their real names posting comments as well.  I can’t actually think of a good reason to use a pseudonyms for those either.

    • Ronnie Chow

       All very well but what happens when someone like Ure gets in character and comes looking .

    • Beenthere

      I’m not posting under my real name, because, I am normally posting comments on the Ports of Auckland threads, which I have had first hand experience in. I don’t believe it is in my best interest, due to the heightened tensions at present to use my real name.
      You may think I a coward for doing so, in which case, I would simply say you are a cost free moralist.

    • Pharmachick

      My employer is extremely conservative. 

      Even though I always use my own computer and post from my home internet connection (not at work), if my posts were too controversial I could get in hot water. Nothing overt mind you, more of the insidious stuff like missing out on opportunities that are considered “optional” or “extra”. Or being labeled “uncollegial” (sounds silly but in my profession that can be a kiss of death”.

      Also, due to my profession if I commented under my own name it is entirely likely that people would sometimes take this as fact, not opinion. I shudder to think of that happening.

      So, despite that it’s not a terribly opaque alias, I’m Pharmachick.      

      • Philip ure a cock

        Ditto

    • Light

      I too am am in the Port and don’t want to be identified by MUNZ due to the likelihood of them calling or making my life unpleasant. I also have family at POA whom I don’t want to jeopardise.  I use the pseudonym for safety in this case and because it is a place where I can speak and feel safe.  It’s true the pseudonym does give me that safety but it would be unsafe and unwise to not use it at this time. 

  • Thanks very much for adding these thoughts about my post and the debate in general. I’ve actually written another piece, spelling out my thoughts a bit more and thinking about privilege (both my own and anonymous bloggers), as well as whether or not to just ignore the people who offend. It’s here, for any who might be interested: http://kohenari.net/post/19896999892/more-anon

  • This once again is just yielding to leftist bullshit.

    The people suffering the most from anonymous criticism are the left.

    The internet is not the NZ Herald’s “Letters To The Editor” section or any such censored outlet like that.

    This is the internet.

    Its caused the left the biggest pain in their arses in a long time, and they are determined to control it and censor it.

    Every move to take away the freedom of the internet has to be resisted, for the forces that seek to control are massive and they never sleep.

    Do not yield to left wing rhetoric. That is how the right have lost so much ground in the current culture war.

    The National Party stalwart Farrar is a compromiser and sell out for flogging this issue.

    Who cares about the Standard and various other communist outlets? They’re dead as dodos anyway.

    Nobody wants the left, nobody wants to listen to them or read them, anonymous or not.

    This is a storm in a teacup beaten up to give the left leverage in their mission to control and it should be forgotten about.

    Strategy. Its all about long term strategy.

     

    •  Hey there Redbaiter – so who are you and why do you think it necessary for you to hide??

      The media are controlled/ owned by right wing extremists if I follow you weird logic of left versus right – although I’m still not sure you fully comprehend their meaning – except maybe in a coldwar sense of twisted logic.

    • Come on Red, stand by your Conservative Values and post with your true face.

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  • Brian Smaller

    I post comments under my own name. Always have. Not afraid to have people know what I think on any topic.  

    •  Its not about commenting is it? Its about blogging.  :)

      • i’m thinking of adopting a persona..

        ..is rightbaiter taken..?

        [email protected]

      •  How about “whitebaiter” Phillip?

      • Ronnie Chow

         Try “Puerile” Ure , fits you like a straitjacket .

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  • Pete George

    I’d just commented on an anonymous blog going over the top. Coincidentally on a certain blog that gets a mention here.

    I thought it worth seeing if The Standard wanted to join the discussion, I think it’s very relevant there, so popped in some thoughts. Most likely I will be attacked anonymously for that.


    Credibility of anonymous blogging?

    •  you will get jumped on for raising that topic..

      it is the one that got me a permanent-ban..(from some anonymous soul/censor..heh..!..)

      ..i was told i was being permanently banned..’because that topic has already been discussed’…

      ..a response that raises far more questions than it answers…it seems to me..

      [email protected]

    • (reply to neil…)

      ..do you have me down as a ‘murrie’ there..neil…

      ..is it ‘cos tuhoe-land is named after me..?

      [email protected]
       

  • johnbronkhorst

    In this country and in this day and age. Nobody should be afraid to put their own name to what they believe!…..If you are a labour supporter, thats ok the world needs fools too.

    • Pharmachick

      What makes you think that everyone posting on Cam’s Blog is in this country?

    • Shaun McC

      In this country, in this day and age, we should all be afraid.
      Feel the fear and do it anyway.
      Just make sure you stand with your neighbour or nobody will stand with you.

  • AngryTory

    I believe that if more of them “came out”…

    They’d be fired from their civil service jobs, be judged unavailable for work (what private employer would hire ’em) and, blacklisted from the benefit, starve with their families.

    Hmm – great idea! 

  • duncan garner

    Whale – on this one I find myself agreeing with you completely.

    Anonymous bloggers in my view lack credibility. Who are they? Who do they work for? What are they pushing? Who’s agenda?

    Good post.

    Duncan

    •  perhaps..mr garner..you could enlighten us as to how much (voluntary?) censorship/control you have to submit to in the mainstream media..?

      ..as in attitudes/angles-covered..

      ..and actual topics covered..?

      [email protected]….(a non-anonymous ‘blog’/news-aggregation site..)

      •  as just one example..mr garner..

        ..there is the fact that the health-implications from consuming milk/cheese/dairy..

        ..and the ‘growing’ of lab/non-cruel-meat in factories in countries of consumption..

        ..both potentially sound death knells for our economic raison d etre..

        ..(and that’s not even going near the accelerating costs of transport/w.h.y..

        ..all of which also work against us..)

        ..now..i can’t think of a more serious economic-topic/outcome…can you..?

        ..it will mean wholesale social/economic-change here at a level perhaps incomprehensible..?

        ..but i see the current economic-imperatives/forces as being very much against subjects such as this even being discussed..

        ..(the manufacturers of steam-engines were in a similar state of denial..)

        ..is that a real concern of mine..?

        ..that the economic-force of those backbone-advertisers would still editorial/reporting tongues..?

        [email protected]

      • Ronnie Chow

          “a non-anonymous ‘blog’/news-aggregation site”   Oh , and I thought it was a site run by an onanist to groom unwitting viewers to join your harem .

      •  Phil believes in AGW. And doesn’t want the truth published.

    • Agent BallSack

      In my view Duncan, bloggers who don’t allow a cross section of comments (as long as they are to the point and non-abusive) from society, lack credibility. For curiosity’s sake, how many posts did you delete from your post about Whale?

      Regards, ABS

    •  Not sure how this happened – but agree with you Duncan – I think a few folk here need to check their own motivation for being anonymous when posting. Afraid their own bosses with find out how much time they spend on non-work related internet traffic – we distribute software for that……if anyone needs it.

    • Do we know that about you Mr. Garner?

      Thank’s but whether I’ve got credibility with the mainstream media, that bunch of commie wankers, is really about the last damn thing I would ever give a fuck about.

      •  well of course red..

        ..you know well that your incoherent/inchoate cobbling together of retro/cold-war-slogans..

        ..would never stand up to any examination/scrutiny..eh..?

        ..best you just stay in yr krusty-the-clown role…

        ..eh..?

        ..it’s how we know you best…

        [email protected]

    • Random Punter

      Doesn’t bloggers’ anonymity actually ensure that their arguments are evaluated on their merits?  The ad hominem questions you ask (Who are they?  Who do they work for?…etc) are irrelevant to the validity of their arguments.

  • Agent BallSack

    In my opinion, it’s a way of censoring the internet. Sure, people are less likely to rant and rave under their own persona but is that what we truly want? In a recent thread, Phil accused me of being a 60 odd year old retired gentleman furiously typing at a spit flecked screen. Which apart from the fact is damn humorous, is an exact simulacrum of what I imagine him to be. Anonymity allows the keyboard warrior to come out and say things they wouldn’t say if you knew they worked at Coca Cola or at a specific school, say. Regarding Blog Owners, if they have an agenda, they probably should declare their true persona.

    •  Brilliant “Agent” very pictorial – I looked at my screen just now – it’s looking a bit damp!!!! Laughing uncontrollably…..never read posts here while drinking coffee….

    • Geez Duncan posts something of actual Merit and ABS makes a comment that as Neil said “never read posts here while drinking coffee…”

      That be true as I had to put the coffee down before reading ABS’s comment to save me a new keyboard.

      Look I post here under my own name and even have a link to my own Blog which has my ugly mug on the “About” page for the world to see. The logic I ran was Why should I “hide” if I post constructively and maybe call the odd person a —-wit because they honestly are. Also because I lobby and submit submissions and presentations to Auckland Council quite heavily which is in a public realm it would not take much to put two and two together (although for some it would be worse than working themselves out of wet paper bag) so might as well be straight and open to avoid conflicts.

      However this does present limitations. I can not “criticise” my employer or its client for I can bring the Company into disrepute – and I have had to face charges on that regard for having a go at The Client. However you learn those limitations and best adaptation methods in dealing with it. 

      So yeah – just my thoughts on this

      •  as ‘spit-flecked’ author … i’ll have to be content with reflected-glory..

        [email protected]

      • Sulzeer

        Are you sure it’s not simply because you want to attract more traffic to your blog…?

      • In reply to Sulzeer. Oh there is that too.
        However I was commenting on and reading the posts at WO before I started my own Blog.
        My own blog came later after some inspiration from this blog. Look there are two ways at attracting traffic here, Shameless promotion through linking your own blog at the bottom of every post you do (and earning a nice Ban Hammer from the owner of that blog) or do as some of us have done, have a DISQUS account with acts a central point in commenting and linking which is unobtrusive as the link is built in your name. Having the DISQUS account is the reason why my name comes up blue as well.

        Main methods I use for attracting traffic is through Twitter and Facebook anyway. Via other blogs through Disqus is secondary.

  • Dave

    Thanks for the clarification Cam, and appreciate your site, and the opportunity to comment.   I use my first name, always have.

    I try and keep it to opinions, and NOT personal attacks, play the game not the person.   Good debate is fantastic, personal attacks are not.  When the debate is polite, and laid out well, it can make us think and consider, when its just a venomous rant, we tend to switch off.

    I am also on my own time, I run my own business, have for years. 

    Agree with Agent BallSack – any agendas should be disclosed for fair debate.

  • (this is the comment i made at mine about this..)

    ed:..heh..!..a commenter at that home of censored-blogs..the standard..

    ..he dared to raise the subject i got permanently banned from there for raising..

    ..(yes..!..’permanent’..i know..!)..

    ..namely the culture of anonymous blogging/commenting..

    ..as well as combing through their comments-threads deleting/censoring/sanitising their records..

    .
    .the writers of articles at the standard all post under false names..

    ..which does puzzle me..somewhat…as one who has always used their real name to both write and comment under..

    ..and personally feeling that people should have the testicular-fortitude to stand behind/beside their words/ideas..

    ..what also puzzles me is their apparant unawareness of the power to be had from standing with what you have written/advocated..

    .
    .and of course ..the inevitable impotence that comes from creating missives..

    ..that no readers know who wrote..

    ..anyway..

    ..here is the response from a standard-loyalist to this idea/concept being raised..

    (from someone who calls him/herself..’lanthanide’..)

    “..Oh god, not this again.

    The Standard doesn’t have “anonymous blogging” as you like to imply –

    – it has pseudonymous blogging.

    That is very different…”

    (ed:..heh..!..got that..?..

    ..ya couldn’t write this stuff..eh..?..)

    [email protected]
     

  • Owl

    There have been many great authors who used other names to get their message across. I think if you are an elected person in public, are paid to write opinions or make comment then yes you must use your real name.
    The Owl on here has disclosed to WO my contact details.

    I use the Owl as a sign of good work and wisdom done late at night. It’s my signature.

    I receive no benefits from WO -I am free to do what I say but edited by WO.

    • johnbronkhorst

      Come on…Owl..many of these “great authors” of the past were either suffering gross discrimination, or even death because of their opinions…The most you suffer here is a small amount of ridicule if someone disagrees with you…hardly the same thing!!

  • Dave

    I’m with Owl on this, if WO has our details, even by Diqus, we can be contacted.  

    I feel its equally important to present a real point, and not just a incoherent venomous rant.  Who actually reads the incoherent rants, or takes the personal attacks from the incoherent ranters seriously??      It serves to confirm the blogger has missed the point again!I have had to reconsider my point after reading and considering others posting, but I simply ignore some of the verbose diatribe that is purely personal because someone dared to have a different point of view. Cam has taken his time to present issues and his research that 99% of media won’t publish.   It’s often controversial, but never just a incoherent rant.   Thanks Cam, i enjoy and appreciate your blog and style !!   

    • Pharmachick

      @a5d437894a034aa45f068247c201a41b:disqus @b087b1d6ce0d4faa19d9bf86d4bcb884:disqus 
      Yes, in addition to my reason(s) above, I am comfortable that Cam has my e-mail address and details. If I were to do something defamatory (for example) he can [and should] dob me in. In the meantime, my anonymity means I can comment on several topics here where otherwise I would feel inhibited in what I can say, or straight-out unable to say it. 

      • Owl

        people who have read my posts know I dont swear or make personal attcks – some people are over the top. I do however make observations for the purpose d debate. I always use facts and reference accordingly. WO has moderated some of work – not for anything nasty – just making sure what is said is the truth.

         

      • Pete George

        Many people have good reasons to comment anonymously. If they come across as honest personal opinions  I don’t see any problem with them.

        But there’s also dishonest anonymity, where commenters have obvious agendas and connections but resort to unsubstantiated allegations, repeat lies or personal attacks. They lack credibility and guts.

        I think bloggers are on a different level, a blog should be open and honest about it’s connections and posters, otherwise you have to wonder about their motives.

      • Balanced View

        Totally agree Pharma –
        Important to note though that Whale has researched me before, and then posted comments relating to what he believes is my job. I thought that was uncalled for seeing as my comment disagreed with his belief and was in know way a personal attack.

  • Phar Lap

    Surely lots of stories Duncan Garner gets must come from people he knows,yet if challenged who they are Garner would keep them anonymous,wouldnt he?Yet he says who are the anonymous bloggers,wonder what is the point he is endeavouring to make.

  • thor42

    On the anonymity (or not) of bloggers, I have no firm view either way. A good blog is a good blog, whether the blogger is anonymous or not. That is also the case with commenters.
    it is still possible for someone using their real name to post nonsense,
    and someone using a pseudonym to post material worth reading.   

    I’m very much in favour of anonymous comments. I am strongly pro-freedom person, and part of that is the freedom to remain anonymous if you so choose. There is nothing wrong with that, IMO.
    ( I also have depression and Asperger’s and although I’ve mentioned that here, I haven’t told everyone I know about it. )

    I also agree with Pharmachick’s reasons too – they are very sensible. Along those lines, I happen to know a great deal about Islam, and I am very critical of it. However, that criticism, no matter how well-founded it is, may not always go down that well with an employer (if they read it).

  • Balanced View

    Nice post Whale, I always find these topics interesting. Also credit to you for referring to yourself as cowardly for originally blogging anonymously, although I think that is very harsh.

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