'Rascal! Your name!'

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Monday 10 August 2009 6.09pm
Schopenhauer on anonymous comments on the internet wrote:
Let me recommend a general Anti-criticism, a universal medicine or panacea, to put a stop to all anonymous reviewing, whether it praises the bad or blames the good: Rascal! Your name! For a man to wrap himself up and draw his hat over his face, and then fall upon people who are walking about without any disguise-this is not the part of a gentleman, it is the part of a scoundrel and a knave.
An anonymous review has no more authority than an anonymous letter; and one should be received with the same mistrust as the other.
Tuesday 11 August 2009 9.51am

...if you press it, they will come.
Tuesday 11 August 2009 11.13am
I'm thinking he recently got a very bad anonymous review.
Tuesday 11 August 2009 12.53pm
Schopenhauer wrote:
...anonymity... was introduced under the pretext of protecting the honest critic, who warned the public, against the resentment of the author and his friends. But where there is one case of this sort, there will be a hundred where it merely serves to take all responsibility from the man who cannot stand by what he has said, or possibly to conceal the shame of one who has been cowardly and base enough to recommend a book to the public for the purpose of putting money into his own pocket. Often enough it is only a cloak for covering the obscurity, incompetence and insignificance of the critic. It is incredible what impudence these fellows will show, and what literary trickery they will venture to commit, as soon as they know they are safe under the shadow of anonymity.

Ivanhoe wrote:

Paul Carr, Daily Telegraph wrote:
..if we forced everyone who wanted to respond to a blog post or online article to use their real name, the Internet would be transformed. Overnight it would cease to be a cesspool of trollery and abuse
Tuesday 11 August 2009 10.33pm
"Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation"

(The words; Oscar Wilde. The italics; my tweak. TFIC, Janefs)
Wednesday 12 August 2009 12.48pm
Erm, I think that the way this forum works, in common with many others where people have usernames, is pretty much living proof of the cobblerishness of OP's statement.

I don't use my real name on here, but the point is that if I consistently post things which have no substance, are abusive, etc, then subsequent posts by my username will be ignored, and/or my membership will be revoked.

And anyway, how do we know that someone who uses "John Smith" as a username is actually called John Smith? Moreover, how do we know which of the millions of real-life JSs the user is? Short of lodging one's fingerprints and DNA, how can anyone prove who they are?

Best wishes,

Elvis Presley

...if you press it, they will come.
Wednesday 12 August 2009 4.04pm
Somehow the world turned round before it was presumed that people routinely deceive each other. I'd be ashamed to confront someone who was arguing as himself by assuming a mask myself, but the practical point is that anonymous discourse debases the medium, pace Oscar Wilde, who, i believe, wrote in his own name.
Wednesday 12 August 2009 4.28pm
No one is making that presumption (unless it's you).

I am pointing out that using a "real" name means nothing (and I'd add that anyone who assumes otherwise is possibly too naive to be let near a keyboard).

But my main point, which is that your borrowed ideas about usernames vs. "real" names are cobblers (for the reasons in my post above, which don't centre on whether or not people who use "real" names may or may not be using their actual name), still stands.

My argument is that usernames become like real I.D.s. They can have credibility, and they can lose that credibility, according to their behaviour, just like "real" people. This applies whether the username is in a format which could be someone's real name or not. So, no, I don't think there would be any change in behaviour is we were all forced to adopt lifelike usernames. The idea that it would lead to an overnight transformation is so poorly thought-out that it's quite hilarious.

...if you press it, they will come.
Wednesday 12 August 2009 4.55pm
There's a related blessing to the use of one's own name versus a mask: fewer sneers, which seems to be the default mode of so many of the masked.
Wednesday 12 August 2009 5.20pm
Oh dear. That last comment REALLY didn't make any sense.

My observation based on this thread is that use of own name tends to prevent OP actually answering any criticism of his original argument.

...if you press it, they will come.
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