Proposed New Anon Policy

Anon’s, I want to give you a head’s up.

I appreciate your time and comments but I am hoping to initiate a new policy to help out the readers of your comments.

If you choose to post as a guest, WordPress will give you a generic avatar or gravitar instead of the unique and random one it gives to people who would like to at least use a consistent nom-de-plume.

I am a fan of being able to be somewhat anonymous (as anonymous as one can be in a small community).  However, it order to help define where people are coming from and to allow for accountability in one’s stances over time, not to mention trying to follow back and forths between numerous anons I would like to begin using the last three numbers of anon’s IP address to identify you to the reader.

So if you have a comment I would like to comment on I might reply “so anon xx.x, blah blah blah”.

At this point, this is up for debate.  If there are non anons that disagree – I’ll listen and possibly reconsider.

And I won’t start right away of course to give you a chance to argue against it with the same amount of anonymity you currently have if you choose to.  I’ll give one more heads up before changing the policy.

Btw, maybe this is what Sid Berg was talking about when he contended the HCDCC progressives were analogues to what lead to the NAZI’s.  Seriously, he wrote that, yesterday, it the T-S, check it out.


25 thoughts on “Proposed New Anon Policy

  1. jtimmons88 says:

    Good for you for trying out the new policy. On my blog I don’t get too many spammers but I have had an influx of would-be posters from GERMANY!!! Go figure.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It’s your blog, do what you want to do.

    But for what it’s worth, I think you should just decide to either allow anonymous comments across the board, or disallow them across the board, rather than deciding on a case-by-case basis to “out” certain commenters by publicly listing their IP numbers, or portions thereof.

    Because what I’ve noticed is that you (and many others) tend to object to anonymity when you disagree with the content, but have no problem with anonymity when you agree with the position taken by the anonymous writer. For example, as I recall you were a big fan of the anonymous writer(s?) of the “Humboldt Herald,” and I haven’t seen you object to the anonymity of the “staff” of the “Tuluwat Examiner.”

    Perhaps you will be able to be completely evenhanded in your choice of which anonymous commenters to “out” with IP numbers, and which not to, but frankly I doubt it. Which isn’t a slap at you, I doubt I could do that evenhandedly either. Which is why my recommendation is to either allow all anonymous comments or allow none, rather than trying to pick and choose.

    I don’t consider banning all anonymous comments on a private blog to be a form of “censorship,” more like a neutral rule for participation. Choosing to “out” certain anonymous commenters, on the other hand, might be closer to what I might consider “censorship,” as it will be much harder to do this in a content-neutral way, and will certainly be interpreted by at least some of those who are “outed” as being an attempt to discourage them from participating.

    But, again, it’s your blog, you can run it any way you want, and if us anonymous commenters don’t like it, we don’t have to participate.

  3. MOLA42 says:

    I don’t know… it sounds good to me.

    If I understand what is being proposed… no one is being excluded. And IP addresses are really long creatures, the last three digits are not going to give away very much (if anything).

    So, under the circumstances the benefits far out weigh any inconvenience I can see. Of course, I’ve been recently accused of being a Brown Shirt, so what do I know?

    I guess I don’t fully understand your point Anonymous:10:40, who’s getting banned?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Read again, I didn’t say anyone was getting banned. My objection is to the idea of the blog’s proprietor deciding, on a case-by-case basis, to expose digits of the IP numbers of certain anonymous posters, and not others.

    But again, like I said, it’s Jon’s blog, he can do whatever he wants with it. He asked for feedback on his proposal, I’ve offered it, he can take it or leave it. And of course he can always give it a try and see what happens. If he makes a choice that ends up driving some dissenting voices away and creating comment threads that are more along the lines of “me too” echo chambers, or just less conversation in the comment threads in general, then he can either undo the change, or continue it, depending on what kind of blog he prefers to have.

    1. MOLA42 says:

      Point taken and I am sorry I misrepresented your views.

      So, with the last three digits of one’s IP Jon can expose who is writing anonymously on his Blog? How does that happen?

      As for how it would work: I assume Jon would see a bunch of grey anonymous avatars and decide some clarity might be in order. Again, I truly don’t see room for abuse in this… unless there is something nefarious that can be done with the last three digits of one’s IP.

  5. Anonymous says:

    If an anonymous commenter here also posts to some other blog or forum under their real name, a moderator or proprietor of that other blog or forum, who also happened to be reading here, could match the digits from the IP number of the anonymous commenter here with the IP number of the real-name participant on their blog or forum. And no, the last 3 digits wouldn’t prove it was the same person, but it would be enough for someone to make a guess, and if they wished to, an accusation to test the response of the person being accused.

    Probably wouldn’t happen, but once you start posting anonymous commenters’ IP numbers (or parts of them) it’s certainly possible. Enough to provide a “chilling effect” by putting anonymous commenters on notice that the moderator believes it’s O.K. for them to “out” part or all of a commenter’s IP number any time they choose. But then again, maybe creating a “chilling effect” on certain anonymous commenters is exactly the intention. If so, I think Jon’s proposal would be successful in accomplishing that goal, especially as he’s proposing to post digits from the IP numbers of some anonymous commenters, but not others, on an ad-hoc basis. Which, again, I very much doubt would end up being done in a content-neutral way.

  6. Anonymous says:

    By the way, proprietors of different blogs cooperating and using IP numbers to “out” an anonymous commenter is not without precedent in the Humboldt blogosphere. There was a case a few years ago where “Heraldo” and Hank Sims (at the North Coast Journal at that time) did just that. As I recall, the anonymous commenter in that case was being a real prick and definitely abusing their anonymity (though I don’t recall the details), but anyway, it shows that it’s more than a hypothetical possibility.

  7. I would be only using those of frequent commenters. One of my personal ethics that I hold dearly to, despite the warnings of my 9th grade Spanish teacher is fairness. It’s inevitable people will see bias in those whose numbers I use, but it definitely would not be consciously unfair.

    I will say this. I can’t say I remember a single blue/grey anon I agree with outside of Cookie. If you all use a common name, I wouldn’t use the IP id. What’s more, I still think you can disguise IP’s can’t you?

    I’m curious, but it’s not critical to me to know who Green anon or Just Middle Class say are*. What I think is important is to put a consistant ID behind the probable two or three blue green anons who comment here often to be able to understand and comment on their views over time. Otherwise there is no accountability and in the end I believe the value of what is expressed is reduced substantially.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Like I said, it’s your blog, do what you want to do.

      As for me, I will not participate in a blog where the proprietor threatens to list part or all of the IP numbers of some anonymous commenters. So to me, it’s an invitation to leave. To my way of thinking, that outcome “reduces the value of what is expressed” even more substantially.

      But, again that’s your call. Quite possibly I’m the only one who feels this way, and perhaps whatever it is you hope to gain by forcing people to play by your new commenting rules will turn out to be well worth the few (or one) commenters you lose. I guess you’ll find out if you do it. Either way, good luck and no hard feelings from my end.

      Honestly, if I were to start a blog, I would probably ban all anonymous commenters — unique gravatars, pseudonyms, or otherwise. Anonymous commenting certainly does create some problems and some comments are so uncivil as to require moderation, and I doubt I’d have the patience for it. So I give you credit for trying to keep that avenue open, but I think you’re headed in the wrong direction with this IP-outing idea. It looks to me like you’re trying to have it both ways, and maybe you can…but I doubt it.

      1. Here we go “threatens”, “chilling. But the rest is fair. Thank you. And I’ll be sorry to lose your participation.

        It’s something I tried for a while, it’s just too confounding to try to debate over time – something I think could be invaluable, when there are at least a couple of anons with very similar views. I don’t like to do this and maybe I’ll back tract if I lose all dialog, but I want to try something.

        Thanks again for the input.

        1. Anonymous says:

          Okay then, fair enough. Other than today and yesterday, I haven’t been commenting much here in quite a while, so my absence shouldn’t make much difference in the overall amount of traffic, and apparently there are a couple of other anonymous commenters with similar views, so if they stick with you there may not be much effect on overall content either. I guess you’ll find out how the other 2 or 3 (or however many) frequent light-blue commenters take to the change. Anyway, good luck and see ya around on the other blogs.

          I guess now’s your chance to get in the last word on any of my comments from the last couple of days…enjoy! 😉

        2. MOLA42 says:

          I’ve got an idea for all those folks who feel “threatened.” Create for yourselves a “handle” or avatar or whatever you want to call it.

          Then we know who we are talking to and those “threatened” people will be safe from IP identity unmasking.

          Jon, this is just emotional blackmail. You’ll only loose those who you wouldn’t miss in the first place. If this particular grey avatar commenter had any real interest in continuing to contribute and some real concern for exposure then that person has remedies beyond fleeing your blog.

          1. jtimmons88 says:

            This is for Jon too. Why can’t the anons who insist on being anons just voluntarily assign themselves a numerical sequence? People who don’t have enough imagination to come up with a screen are lacking in something…

  8. suzy blah blah says:

    -Jon, i don’t think posting people’s IP#s is a good idea. I wouldn’t want even a portion of mine published here. Besides, i often post from different IP addresses. But i agree that it helps to be able to identify one commenter from the other so you can respond to each separately. Sometimes i respond to the time/date of an Anonymous but that’s still only one comment. One wants the ability to respond to the person’s continued thread of comments by being able to separate them from the other Anonymous’. It seems that all anybody has to do to help you out here and still keep their identity private is to use a screen name. It’s a no-brainer. Okay, back to lurking.

    1. Thanks SBB! Honored to have you as a lurker!
      I would not publish anyone who is using a standard name. And I would give anon’s individual head’s up. It wouldn’t be for someone just coming in for a comment here or there, just for those who come in time and again and are a part of a long conversation. So yes, having a screen name – even like Cookie used to do with a blue/grey anon gravatar would be all I ask.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I was one of the posters on Heraldo that Mitch decided to “out” by publishing my IP# after many days of debate over his inflexible focus on individual’s responsibility to vote versus my insistence that it’s more complicated than calling over half of the eligible voters in the U.S. “idiots”. He finally resorted to “FU” and I was actually censored!

    Examples like this explain how the Times Standard, NCJ and LOCO, lost 75% of their hits after they initiated gatekeepers. And yet, the quality of their posts is unchanged.

    My posts here are identified by my colored square, you really need more?

    There was time in America when newspapers, including the Times Standard, regularly published anonymous letters, (including mine!), a time when personal opinions were judged by the character of their content and not the color of their personality.

    The only reason I exercise anonymity is because it’s the first casualty of tyranny, large or petty.

    Use it, or lose it…

    1. Anon, sorry to not have been more clear on this. No, absolutely not. There wouldn’t be more needed. All I think is required is a unique identifier which a gravitar is. Under the new proposed rules, you would still be green anon.

      What this means is the reader can evaluate and judge your opinions over time. It allows accountablity and helps out the blue/grey anons, I’d argue, by increasing their credibility if they are being forthright.

      I get you concern about tyranny and don’t disagree. Right now, I believe there is a one way protection of not just identity, but of information. Maybe that can be solved when we finally admit corporations are not people, but in matters of politics and commerce, we need more disclosure more information, not more political or economic anons..

      Specifically thinking of things like disclosing all political contributions, including to PACs, GMO disclosure, nutrition and ingredient disclosures etc.

      Maybe I’m conflating two entirely different subjects, but that’s the reaction I had when I read the tyranny epithet. I think of the tyranny of money and it being the overlord we have to be aware of right now.

  10. Anonymous says:

    “but in matters of politics and commerce, we need more disclosure more information, not more political or economic anons..”

    Many of this nation’s monumental disclosures began with anonymous tips sometimes building for decades until someone with “credibility” and guts like Daniel Ellsberg, or Eric Snowden come along.

    Here in Mayberry, like most of this nation, all an employer/landlord needs to know is your political persuasion, and how you respond to red-baiting before you’re no longer employed or housed.

  11. MOLA42 says:

    Honestly folks, I have no desire to see anybody unmasked. Looking at my avatar and screen name that should be obvious. But I have no doubt if someone REALLY wanted to know who we are they could make the effort to find out. An anonymous (or fanciful) identity is no shield.

    Perhaps my ignorance shows here but I can’t see showing the last three digits of an IP number as a more likely means for giving someone away.

    Maybe there is another way. Is it possible for the Moderator (Jon) to, rather than expose a part of the poster’s IP, add an identifying symbol to let us know which Anonymous we are talking to? Like Anonymous one gets a star (or a one) and anonymous two gets a smiley face (or a two). I don’t know if the mechanics of the system allows that. Or a different avatar?

    Again, I don’t care about the identity of anonymous posters. I just want to know which one is which.

  12. Anonymous says:

    “Again, I don’t care about the identity of anonymous posters. I just want to know which one is which.”

    This would make lots of sense if it really mattered.

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