Why I blog anonymously – Part II

How’s it going peeps?

I’ll try to be as brief as possible.

I did myself a bit o’ katchin-up on the posts/replies regarding anonymity. Good stuff, peeps.

I was gonna wait till the series of posts by 12keystrokes came to a conclusion, and for Kamran’s longer anonymous post, but it appears a bad zit wants to pop on the face of this here respectful Lounge and I donts want it to put a blemish on all the good that has come from PhiloDave’s endeavors.

In no particular order, here are a few reasons stating why I will continue to blog anonymously:

Anonymity levels the playing field. Too many times when we agree with the author of the post, we put her/him on our shoulders and parade ’em around the other happy folks. Too many times when we disagree with the author, we kick her/him to the ground regardless of the content of the post. Anonymity doesn’t give us an opportunity to raise or lower the individual, it requires that we focus on the issue/words of the post.

Anonymity gives all equal freedom of speech. I’m fascinated that the Realist has come under a barrage of attacks. Trust me when I says it don’t bother me the least. But I offer this thought: If it was believed/known that Don was the ghostwriter behind the pen name, would the Realist be under a microscope? I believe we’d all think twice about leaving a reply (good or bad). Don’t believe me? Go over to his blog and tell me all the replies are examples of freedom of speech. You might say yes, but I know that if peeps believed they had true freedom of speech, there would be soooo many more replies –  with authentic faculty names. On blogs, it should be about the speech, not who said it. Bear in mind, that it doesn’t give anyone the right to shout fire when their ain’t one.

Anonymity removes the power of influence. There are a minority of individuals with titles, and those titles have been used to wield power and control over the majority with no titles and of course, no power or control.
If Chancellor Hyman says we need to be a world class institution, then that’s where all the vice-chancellors focus their attention. She has power of influence over the VC’s.
If student Hyman, along with a group of her classmates, had said the same when she was attending OH, no vice-chancellor would have cared. The VC’s have power over the students.
That’s how the game is taught and played when there is no anonymity. The minority with power of influence would rather have it this way and I simply disagree.

Anonymity gives all equal freedom of expression. It is liberating. Suppose I’m an english teacher and I use my own name to create a post. If the reader doesn’t like the post, then English Teacher Realist becomes the center of attention and possible ridicule. English Teacher Realist could also garner praise. I ain’t lookin’ for neither.
Suppose y’all don’t know I’m an english teacher. That gives me the freedom to makes literal mistakes here and there without being chastised – or praised. Suppose I be a math teacher but want to give creative writing a shot. I can do it anonymously and build my creative skills. Ain’t that why some famous authors used pen names? ‘Specially women?

All ideas can be used for both good and bad. Anonymous posts can be like nuclear technology – used for harm or good.
I made a choice to use it for good and I try to give anonymity a reputable name.
It is a privilege to be an anonymous blogger. With privilege comes responsibilities that should be upheld, not perverted.

It is my hope that we’ll look past the desire to control the game or desire to control others and focus on content and context of anonymous posts. Ditto for non-anonymous posts. My hope is that we, the entire blogging community, will stop efforts to marginalizing or silence others, stop trying to be the freedom of speech police and stop suppressing the self-expression of others. Let’s grant others the rights that we grant ourselves.

My hope is that you’ll like or dislike this post with respect and attention to the written word, not the writer of the word. And in past and future posts, I hope we blog participants will look past typos, lack of citations and links to authoritative sources. Sure, they’re needed every now and then, but not always. I believe we need to focus on the telos of the content if we are to be critical thinkers. I could care less if you mention or even remember this author.


Why I blog anonymously – Part I

This is a follow-up to my previous post in which I told you why I blog.

Now, in true procrastination form (it’s only been 6 months, right?) and semi-sabbatical mode for the semester, it’s time to give you some background as to why I do it anonymously.

I’ll start by telling you that I once participated in an online chat community, a few months before The Lounge came to be. In this community, every member identified her/him self by first name so we all knew who was posting and replying. We already knew each other F2F so it was good to stay in touch when we couldn’t meet in person. Life was good.

One weekend, all the the members of this community shared a F2F experience that was, shall I say, bad. We took to discussing this experience online.

As it always happens, there was disagreement between members as to how we should interpret and understand this experience. Long story short, I was on the minority side of discussing how we should understand the experience and how we could proceed. I noticed that those on the majority began to take a disrespectful tone towards the minority in this particular discussion and other discussions that were posted.

I take blame for having used strong language in trying to defend the POV of the minority. Suffice it to say, the majority began to find fault in everything that was being said by the minority, both online and eventually in person.  It got to the point where disagreement had to be the status quo and even if I was in agreement with certain discussions,well, there was always a way to deem it disingenuous because I had been labeled as a minority by the majority.

I stepped away, perhaps too little too late, from this online community. I limited my opportunities to meet any members F2F. The whole experience left me wondering about the dynamics of discussion. Towards the end of that experience, and by way of an extended-water-cooler discussion, a philosopher introduced me to a writing and the ideas of John Rawls. Unbeknownst to the philosopher, the timing could not have been any better. There was nothing I could do about the past. However, I tucked these lemons of an experience away and decided I would make lemonade with them one day.

So it was that when The Lounge was started, I was ready to get back into the online community. However, I was going to let my experiences and John Rawls words (and indirectly,  the philosopher’s ideas) guide my next move. It was time to make lemonade.

I was ready to reply to a PhiloDave post and use my real name. But I couldn’t do it and I didn’t want to do it. Yet I wanted to support the mission of the blog. So it was that I sat at my computer and decided on a pen name in order to put my understanding of Rawls’ words (along with other influential thinkers and friends) into action. One reply followed another, which followed another, and so on.

And that was that. I made a commitment to uphold what I thought to be the only true way to have an objective online discussion. I believed, and still do, that anonymity forces the reader to focus on the objectivity of the post/reply and not the subjectivity of the blogger. More on that in part II.