Thursday, May 05, 2005

Is being anonymous bad?

There was a recent 'article' about anonymity on the web and how 'anonymous' posting on forums is a 'bad thing'. It went on to say how their forum was "safe" and un-anonymous.

I have two problems with that. First, being anonymous in my opinion is a good thing for many people. Second, they are only deluding themselves if they believe and try to get others to believe that their forum is a safe haven from anonymity.

Let's look at the second item first. You go to a forum. That forum requires you to sign up. In order to sign up you need three things:

  • username of your choice (let's pick Gomer_Pyle)
  • password of your choice
  • valid email address - I'll use GomerPyle_4563@yahoo.com

That is all we need to do. Am I anonymous? Or not? You cannot tell - and don't you dare accuse me of being a faker - I'm sure there is someone out there named Gomer Pyle (there appear to be at least 3 or 4 in the US). So, am I real or not? You cannot tell and anyone that says "come on in, it is safe here" is kidding themselves, and themselves alone. The person who wrote about their safe forum has users with names like oradbus, flashz, chasboy, soap6gal, 13lashes, and weekend79. That is not anonymous?

But what about the first point? Is being anonymous a good thing or bad thing? For me - I go "non-anonymous". I was tkyte@us.oracle.com, then tkyte@oracle.com and most recently Thomas.kyte@oracle.com. I do it because I can. Not everyone has that luxury. Going anonymous allows people to interact on the internet in a technical fashion in a way never before possible. To me, it is a great thing.

On asktom, everyone is anonymous. This gives people the freedom to criticize (we get lots of "from a reader", I have no problem with that). If they say something critical without any sort of supporting evidence - we laugh it off. So what? If they say something critical and they provide some compelling evidence - I sit up and take notice. We'll either
  • Change our minds (they had a valid point) or soften a stance
  • Show that their evidence doesn't apply or is 'incorrect' for some reason
  • Agree to disagree
But no matter what happens - the discourse must take place. And it doesn't matter if Jonathan Lewis makes the comment, or Gomer Pyle makes it. If it has technical merit, so be it - the source of the information is really not relevant. I don't need to know that it comes from a "smart person", it is just information -- and information is evaluated based on its merits.

Imagine the world if the musings of a patent office employee were discounted as not credible, solely because they worked in a patent office and not in a research facility.

Just because information came from me, or Jonathan Lewis, or Cary Millsap, or Howard Rogers or (really long list that if I make longer I'm really sure to insult someone for not including them) doesn't mean it is correct. We all pretend we are from Missouri - the "show me state".

But why is being anonymous a good thing?

It allows people to interact in forums they could not otherwise. Some employers frown on their employees using their real names, their work identities. For these people, anonymity is necessary - they would not otherwise be able to participate. I would hate to exclude them.

It allows people to say things they otherwise might not - if someone is not sure that the point they are going to make is valid, they may well bite their tongue and not say it - if everyone knows "who they are". I see this all of the time in audiences - I finish the talk, ask for questions - get a couple, thank everyone and then spend the next hour or two answering questions. Many times excellent, exceedingly relevant follow-ups that I wish I would have gotten in front of the full audience (everyone would have benefited from that).

I guess it all comes down to - can you ignore the noise. If someone comes into a forum and says "you are an idiot" and not much more, can you just ignore (or as I am known to do sometimes, just make fun of - usually with the word "brilliant" involved somehow) that person?

And can you handle the criticism from anyone - are you willing to take the time to evaluate someone else's inputs and balance that against yours? I don't really think it matters if it comes from "big name in field" or "new developer" - actually, many times "new developer" can be very insightful - they have no preconceptions! Many breakthroughs in various fields come from outsiders with no preconceptions. The people in the field can develop myopic views of things over time.

On asktom, I've learned alot from "new people", anonymous or otherwise (let's face it, they are all anonymous initially) -- people with no credibility whatsoever, no past track record, no papers published in their name -- just an incredible amount of energy and drive. Yes, some days they can appear to be "a pain in the backside", but you know what -- they are the technical leads of today now. Only because they had the opportunity to ask "why".

So, I'm into anonymity - for those that choose to use it. I personally use my name but only because I can. I'm not afraid to ask questions (stupid questions even). I'm not afraid of responses - sticks and stones and all. Those who use anonymity to just hurl insults - they are cowards, surely, but ignore them. They go away. Better yet, make fun of them - that really irritates them.

So, to those who say "stay away from such and such a place, they are anonymous, come over here" - well, I don't know who they think they are kidding really.

I have a new polling site I thought I'd give a try - I'm curious. Do you think anonymity is a good or bad thing (this is a new polling site, shouldn't have any pop-ups):

Is being anonymous a bad thing
Yes
No
Current results

And as always, feedback welcome and accepted, even from "anonymous"...
POST A COMMENT

43 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said....

I think anonymity is a good thing in a technical discussion but people should try to use their identity if it isn't a problem.

Thu May 05, 09:21:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

coming from anonymous thats funny :)

I agree - however, even if they do, does it mean anything?

Say my name is "Fred Jones". And I use "Fred Jones". Now what? (or in other words "so what").

Anyone that comes here and follows up -- is anonymous to some degree. Some appear less anonymous simply because you know the "name" or "handle" of the person. Whether you know them as "Fred Jones" or "MagicOne" -- you 'know' them, but either of them could really be Sally Jones.

Thu May 05, 09:25:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

It depends on what you say. If you are going to make a vitriolic attack on someone, then the anonymous person should be ignored.

One problem with anonymity is for novices. We all find ourselves at times having to learn something new. We don't know anything about a specific technology. Who do we listen to? One person says one thing and another person says the exact opposite, how do you tell who to believe when you don't know anything?

A java guy who wants to learn about database tuning. Who should he listen to? An Oracle DBA who wants to learn Enterprise Javabeans, who should he listen to?

Thu May 05, 09:30:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Mr. Anonymous said....

I think it's fine if one chooses to be anonymous, but with that said I prefer sites that require some sort of validation. Why? It helps keep the comments more on topic. If it's too easy to enter a comment, you are more likely to have a forum full of flames and profanity.

I realize that many sites let you enter any email address, but if they add the step of sending out a validation email to poster's email address it's even more effective and requires some effort on the poster's side. I realize that there are tons of free email services so the poster really isn't anonymous. But most people are lazy. Sure they will take the time to put in a one line insult if they can type it and hit enter, but if they have to "sign up" and register, they are much less likely to do this.

To validate this just go to the various forums on the web, the less "work" required to post, the more likely the forum will be full of trash! Of course in a forum like this, the audience is probably limited enough that it won't have these issues.

Thu May 05, 09:35:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

One problem with anonymity is for novices.

They should NOT listen to me just because I am me.

They should NOT listen to XXXX just becaue they are XXXX.

They should be shown compelling evidence that the best practice being put forth in a set of circumstances is accurate.

They should be asked "why" (nicely) repeatedly, to ascertain that the problem they are trying to solve has been fully verbalized.

See the problem with going to a "name" and just getting uncaveated, unproven advice -- and trusting it just because they are a "name" is that the advice is very often very very very wrong, or just not applicable to the problem at hand.

Thu May 05, 09:35:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Agreed, but one slight point: based on my experience, in forums that allow total anonynomity the moderator must be willing to delete utterly offensive/trolling posts. Otherwise such posts will gradually expand, like black mold, and take over the forum.

Deleting posts, however, opens up the whole question of being a bulletin board vs. an editor, and the difference in liability that implies. So many moderators are not willing to do it.

sPh

Thu May 05, 10:11:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Pete_S said....

Well, this is halfway to anonymous - people can find me, contact me, post on my blog, maybe workout if I talk sense n% of the time. But they can't necessarily track me down to work (a couple of people have!) - my opinions can't be associated with my employers - or home (I do have a private life)

I am completly anonymous at times - mainly when I forget to add my name before clicking that submit button.
I have no problem with reading anoymous posts - I view all content in the same way.

Thu May 05, 10:16:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Ajay said....

>>A java guy who wants to learn about database tuning. Who should he listen to? An Oracle DBA who wants to learn Enterprise Javabeans, who should he listen to?<<

We have a great example right here of how people find the right forum. By evaluating the quality of the information, by asking around. Find out where the people who know go.

Personally, I learnt to be wary of Burleson long before Tom's book came out. And when Tom's book did come out, in the first couple of pages was the answer to what I had been trying to do - customize my SQL*Plus prompt to show me which database I was connected to. I read a little more and knew that I would learn more from this book than I had learnt from the other books I had. Bought the book, recommended it to colleagues and added asktom to my favorites list.

When I get around to learning Java, I'll probably do the same thing - find the authors who know their stuff. If I'm lucky, they'll have a forum or two that they frequent. If not, I'll ask a good Java developer where they go.

Thu May 05, 10:17:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Troy said....

Anonymity is not good for a free exchange of ideas because you are not very accountable for what you say. On the other hand if you are identifiable you can pay a larger price than just looking foolish. In my case, for example, when I say bad stuff about a certain DBMS vendor's consulting wing I do it anonymously because I have worked for them before and may want to again.

How about a technical solution for a social problem? Wouldn't it be great if blogs had privacy layers like the job boards or LinkedIn? Then I could stay under the radar to whom I want to be, and let people who I trust or who I might hit up for a job someday know who I am.

Thu May 05, 11:29:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

coming from anonymous thats funny :)
I agree - however, even if they do, does it mean anything?

:-) I haven't created a user yet :-)

What I meant was if you are answering a series of questions from different people, knowing who is asking the question may help you to understand better what he is asking. (You know what his previous question was ). Don't you think so?

Regards,
Kalita

Thu May 05, 11:37:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

I don't have a problem with anonymity. My only problem with it is I am a terrible speller and I keep misspelling it!

I have been reading AskTom for quite awhile and I don't notice many if any edits or deletions of what people post. Do you find that on your site it is rare that people post inappropriate comments? (eg profanity, non-Oracle political tomes and the ilk) If so that does say some good things about human nature.

I had run across a web site where you can rate your high school teacher. The ratings, which can have comments, are all anonymous. It is ironic that there is a Huge outcry by people proporting to be teachers against this service. Of all the professions out there you would expect teachers to want feedback to make improvements for future classes. Maybe it is too protected a profession to understand the benefit of feedback from the customer. In my opinion at that site comments that don't contain any constructive critisism are not worth a lot. (eg "teacher sucks", or in that horrible leetspeak "teacher sxs") Those comments don't provide any effective course of action the individual could use.

Thanks,
Jim

Thu May 05, 11:59:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Kevin Lange said....

Anonymity is prety much a cornerstone of the technical world today for information transfer. It allows the less-confident to put their opinions forward with out fear. And sometimes these opinions are such that they can change the world.

Way too many people are afraid to step forward and do or say anything that might 1) Damage their Reputation if they are wrong, 2) Look Bad, 3) be Non-PC.

Without anonymity their opinions would never get heard.

Thu May 05, 12:41:00 PM EDT  

Blogger DaPi said....

There is a distinction between anonymity and pseudonymity which has practical effects:

It's hard to conduct a diaogue when everyone is called "anonymous" or "a reader".

By posting consistantly as Gomer_Pyle (or DaPi) you are taking a degree of responsibility for what you write. Anyone can evaluate your crap/sense ratio and, given two suggestions from different sources, decide which to evaluate or test first. Like it or not, Tom.Kyte has a better track-record than Gomer_Pyle (or DaPi).

Unfortunately your poll is not three-valued :) - I could't vote for pseudonymity.

Thu May 05, 12:57:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Bill S. said....

Let's face it folks - on the web, in IMs, even in E-Mail - we are all "anonymous" to a degree. I've never met Tom (nor has he met me), or Jonathan Lewis, or DaPi, or David Aldridge or a host of others. I don't "know" them and they don't "know" me. That wouldn't ever stop me from taking advice from any of them, if the advice seemed sound to me. Identity is not an issue (or maybe SHOULD NOT BE AN ISSUE) for technical folks. I don't care if your 13-year-old brother posts a solution to my problem - if the advice seems to have merit and be sound, I'll give it a whack. Education is nice, titles are nice; for me, what counts is what is true.

Thu May 05, 01:40:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous denni50 said....

I sometimes post with my handle name 'denni50' or 'Reader' just to vary my postings, depending on my frame of mind and mood, and also..so that my handle name doesn't appear to be taking over the board and Tom saying to himself "there's that pain in the butt again"...(chuckle).

My rationale is...if Tom is too busy and not checking out IP Addresses he won't know it's me.

On a more serious note I now try to be as anonymous as possible since I was discovered making postings under my real name and my boss was actually called and told about it.

My boss(being a real cool person)then said.."Gee wiz if you're going to post questions PLEEEEEZ use an alias"

Thu May 05, 01:43:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Dan Kefford said....

Imagine the world if the musings of a patent office employee were discounted as not credible, solely because they worked in a patent office and not in a research facility.

No photoelectric effect, no relativity, no Brownian motion? ;P

Thu May 05, 01:58:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Ajay said....

>> and I see you didn't even .<<

?

Thu May 05, 03:30:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Bill S. said....

Ajay,

Just "point" your mouse and click. Very subliminal Tom!

Thu May 05, 03:36:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

knowing who is asking the question may help you to understand better what he is asking
Knowing that it is the same human being that asked me X, Y and Z above in the Q&A on the forum would be useful. But knowing it was Mary Smith living at 123 Main Street in Boston MA -- not really. "abc123" is sufficient.

I have been reading AskTom for quite awhile and I don't notice many if any edits or deletions of what people post.

I have NO CAPABILITY to edit anything anyone writes there (well, sqlplus of course but I have no screens to edit your inputs on that site).

I can delete something, and I have (there was a famous thread recently, one you cannot follow up anymore, where I did more deleting than all other threads combined) but that it is. And I hesitate to do it - really hesitate. I can ignore noise very well (I have kids, you have to be able to do that).

It has been very very very rare to have anything profane posted on the site.

There are no filters there on asktom. I've removed comments upon request for one individual in the past, but beyond that - no edits. I feel people can speak their opinions.

I'm not getting into the business of "political correctness dictator". I'll be me, you be you and everyone else will be themselves. And we ignore the noise. Seems to have worked well. Once you get into the slippery slope of being the self annointed "PC dictator", where do you stop? And if you start editing and actively moderating, you then have said "I will protect you" and enter into some legal obligations whether you want to or not.

Asktom is totally "not moderated".

There is a distinction between anonymity and pseudonymity

Excellent point, I will make a point of that point in the future. and I see you didn't even .That's the one I'm for, pseudonymity. Excellent.

No photoelectric effect
Yeah, the world would be a different place.

Thu May 05, 03:52:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Niall said....

One thing I did a while back was change my sig on c.d.o.* It still clearly identifies me and it still generates shed-loads of spam (You need EE to store shedloads by the way, with partitioning and compression), it no longer identifies my company. Why, well in technical discussions you tend to bring up technical points now and then that can identify either the hardware, os or release of software that you are running. It was gently pointed out to me that as I'd referred to NT4 and Oracle 8.1.7.2 in a forum that was googleable then potential hackers had some useful info about my employer. (The same security audit didn't check default passwords or the availability of sqlplus on client workstations btw).

Most of the time, I personally take the stand that if you are going to respond, answer etc anonymity is a bad thing. If you give bad advice anonymously how is anyone going to contact you to clarify things? Anonymous questions are fine.

I've also noticed that those who use real names *tend* to give better advice than those who don't, but that is probably my bias showing.

Thu May 05, 04:00:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Thomas Kyte said....

How's about identity theft ?-)

Thu May 05, 04:55:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

One thing I did a while back was change

Well, the answers either stand by themselves or not -- everyone is psuedo-anonymous regardless (and anyone that thinks otherwise is just deluding themselves). I've always signed my name -- but some cannot, some will not and I don't want to exclude them from

a) asking questions
b) offering their opinion
c) providing a counterpoint

and if they say "idiot", we make fun of them.

How's about identity theft

Well, I would hardly call that identity theft. There are a couple hundred Thomas Kyte's in the US alone -- you could be one for all I know. Don't IM tkyte on AIM though -- that is another Tom Kyte and not me.

I would call what you did a bad idea, but hey -- I could go into any forum anywhere and create an account under any name. That is not being anonymous.

Thu May 05, 05:24:00 PM EDT  

Blogger DaPi said....

Imagine the world if the musings of a patent office employee were discounted as not credible, solely because they worked in a patent office and not in a research facility.

Would you listen to science from a "mathematically illiterate" book-binder?

Thu May 05, 05:33:00 PM EDT  

Blogger David Aldridge said....

>> Would you listen to science from a "mathematically illiterate" book-binder? <<

And to whom, pray tell, are you refering? Or am I just being ignorant?

(Note to self: make sure you post this under 'anonymous')

Thu May 05, 07:00:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

And to whom,...
This guy perhaps...

Thu May 05, 07:04:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Arthi! said....

The one thing I like most about Tom is that "he deals with Oracle", I repeat, "he deals with Oracle".

But these days, I see he too was trapped into war-zone. Its not what we expect(that's a heavy object, "want" maybe) from you Tom! Check your "c:\documents and settings\tkyte\desktop\things_to_do.txt". You have much more things to do rather than

*talking about forums with IP blocks
*taking things from USD500/hour consultancy seriously(There are thousand's of them all around the world)

But, if these posts/comments give you quality enterteinment and a way to relax from your regular work, ofcourse its a good thing for all of us then!

Thu May 05, 10:39:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Karthick said....

I post a question on ask tom. I get one answer from tom and i get another answer from an anonymous person. Which answer will i evaluate to a greater extend. I know who tom is. I know how he answers.

So to accept the anonymous answer i have to travell that extra mile which i dont need to do with tom.

i would like to know audiences view about this.

Fri May 06, 02:33:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Arthi! said....

Karthick said...
I post a question on ask tom.....

Well, thats pretty simple. When you post something on asktom, you ask tom. Tom answers and keeps the thread open for opinions. Then onwards, for every review that needs an explanation, Tom follows it up. Tom's going that extra mile to grant all of us peace!

Fri May 06, 02:52:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Pratap said....

"....Don't IM tkyte on AIM though"

Don't know what IM or AIM is.

Went to this site to figure it out -

http://www.acronymfinder.com/af-query.asp?String=exact&Acronym=AIM&Find=Find

Took quite some time but still could not find a related AIM entry. Could relate IM to "Instant Message" (Out of all those entries).

That is a problem with these fancy words like RTFM, IMHO. You can't figure out what the hell they are by just looking at them. Still they are acceptable and "professional". The "u", "ur" are relatively simple to understand but I do agree that it does not look good and professional!! (Personally I don't use "u" etc as well as the other fancy shortforms)

The only point is - If one kind of short form is banned - All of them should be banned.

Fri May 06, 03:36:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

I post a question on ask tom.

Well, I certainly hope you don't take me "on faith". Unless I convince you that the answer is meaningful, it should just be considered a collection of bits aligned in such as way as to make ASCII characters.

And unless they do -- consider it the same. although I usually look at what they say and if I disagree -- am not afraid to say so..

Fri May 06, 06:45:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

I repeat, "he deals with Oracle".

Trying to broaden my horizons here... Outside Oracle. I think some of these things need be discussed, not pushed one way -- but discussed.

Fri May 06, 06:46:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

an ideal asktom would have the following structure.

anybody on the internet can read everything, no logon required.

Must Logon to post BUT...

Account = Username and Password to logon. (only given after you respond to a verification email URL when creating the account, this is my real email)

One can check a button when they post to "post anonymously".

This way we could change our email address linked to our account, read all threads we posted after we change our email.

However, I feel guilty even mentioning all of this...asktom is such an awesome site and service. I am grateful for it exactly as is!

Fri May 06, 08:16:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Bill S. said....

Rajesh said:
[quote]
But these days, I see he too was trapped into war-zone.
[/quote]
I disagree. This isn't a case of war, my friend. Tom has taken issue (as well as others such as Jonathan Lewis, Niall Litchfield, Howard Rogers, etc.) with Oracle-related technically inaccurate advice coming from others. This is vital to stopping the spread of (and generation of new) Oracle myths. That's the long and the short of it. Making sure what people read about Oracle is in fact....fact.

Fri May 06, 08:19:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

an ideal asktom would have the following structure.

Following up on another blog entry I'm compelled to ask....

Why?

What difference would it make?

What would change?

Fri May 06, 08:22:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Why?

What difference would it make?

What would change?


Well, I had a few email addresses over the years...(move and new ISP)...others change them w/a new position or other reasons (married and new last name, better account options, consolidation).

When logged in the user could see all their old posts and notifications would still work even if they changed their email address (now it does not work and that is the specific answer to your question).

This way user_account_id in your application would be tied to a user's posts...AND the user could still post anonymously if they decided too if they checked "post as anonymous" in the box...(best of both worlds)

Another benefit is it would be harder (but possible w/more effort) for a person to impersonate another account since either their accounts "username" or "anonymous" would show up in the post...although having to worry about childish things like that sucks..

I guess the definition of anonymous would be "anonymous to the rest of the world other then Tom" since you could track it back to them if you choose and if they filled out real credentials.

In that line people could sign up w/ a pseudo-anonymous account anyways but still get the benefits of tracking all their info.

You could also implement a "watch_this" topic like the OTN boards (one good feature). This is were I can see a list of my "watched" threads on a screen and get email notification on any updates if I choose.

Anyways...I don't really care about any of this (not loosing sleep)...love the site/service...but my input on best way to do anonymous since discussed in your blog and you do asktom.

Summarized it is:

Option C: user accounts w/ability to post anonymously

Interested in your thoughts... again, not saying recode anything.

asktom rules and I don't lose sleep over any of this.

Fri May 06, 11:14:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Peter K said....

From Pratap,
The only point is - If one kind of short form is banned - All of them should be banned.

The difference is acronyms as compared to short form text. Having acronyms like IMHO (In My Humble Opinion), RTFM (Read The Freaking Manual), RMAN (Recovery MANanger), etc. is part of Oracle and other IT culture.

But these days, I see he too was trapped into war-zone. Its not what we expect(that's a heavy object, "want" maybe) from you Tom! Check your "c:\documents and settings\tkyte\desktop\things_to_do.txt".

That's the thing, isn't it? One of the things-to-do on Tom's list is to ensure that factual information about Oracle Technology are being shared but infactual and generalized information needed to be closely monitored and corrected. The folks involved have so far refused to correct said publications.

Fri May 06, 11:58:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

The ability to be annonymous is nice if for nothing else than having one less user name/password to keep track of.

Also, I know you are getting better at this but "alot" is two words. I thought you'd like people to point that out for these "official" blogger articles (First sentence, fourth paragraph from the bottom of the annonymous article).

Fri May 06, 02:43:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Also, I know you are getting better at this

Hey -- I am getting the difference between then and than a LOT more often too ;)

Fri May 06, 02:49:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Hey, that's why we're computer scientists right? I took all of one English course in college and that was no accident...

Fri May 06, 04:36:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Andrew said....

I read many of the comments but no-one seems to have yet mentioned the fact that anonymity is essential for many other purposes than simply to have the ability to post insults or poorly thought out arguments on a forum. Isn't this one of those myopic moments you mentioned Tom? We're all concentrating on what anonymity means in a web forum, to it's members and it's maintainers, but other reasons could include desiring anonymity because of non-internet related reasons, such as abused wifes who want to continue to communicate on the internet without their former partners tracking them. Ok, maybe it wasn't the best of examples, but you see my point? If short sighted people limit access to their services and stamp out anonymity, then many people who genuinely require it will be locked out.

I read an articel somewhere about the process of voting, and anonymity. When you vote, it is strictly anonymous. The reason being (in case you never gave it a thought, which I hadn't, to be honest) is so that you can speak your mind/make your choice, *without retribution*. If i'm not mistaken, it's a cornerstone of the American constitution, or so I have heard. Why should I not have this ability on the internet, when I have this ability in many aspects of my life already?

When I go into a shop, I can actually buy a can of coca cola....for cash! Without exposing my name and social security number to the cashier! What a scandal--i'm completely untraceable! How will the shop perform market research then, or how will they hold me accountable for my actions in the shop or have me 'labeled' as perverted for all those pr0n mags I bought last year?

Yes, the 'shop' is the forum and my 'actions' are what I write in the forum. You see, that's one of the problems with the internet--the industry is so immature, any John Doe can start a service on the internet and acquire customers, and these people often lack the people skills to realise how they should manage and deliver their service or product--they focus too much on the technical aspects rather than the human aspect of 'I have a service and I want people to use it: How should I go about doing this, disregarding all technicalities', because in reality, it's not much different from real life.

Tue May 17, 08:02:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

but no-one seems to have yet mentioned the fact that anonymity is essential

I concurr -- I was trying to say the same thing there. Some people must go anonymous (I used employers, but your example is relevant as well).

I like the voting example -- great example, right under the tip of my nose and I couldn't see it.

Tue May 17, 08:09:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

I did not see the best reason for being anonymous here - no need to remember a login, just express your opinion from the feeds.
Everything is search any way now-a-days ... even finding things that are bookmarked
My bookmarks have shrunk in last couple of years.
R

Sat Aug 29, 06:31:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

I love being anonymous, people only judge you by what you say.

Sat May 08, 03:42:00 PM EDT  

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