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.