Anonymity vs. Credibility

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Anonymity vs. Credibility

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Thu Mar 06, 2008 3:25 pm

Access Denied wrote:Now for something completely different...

You know it took me a while but I learned something about myself after being banned from ATS for the sixth or seventh time or whatever it was… although I miss interacting with a lot of folks there (hell I even grew fond of some of the woo woos lol) I realized by going back I was in effect being asked to compromise my principles by the management. F_ck that! I’m sick to death of all these people hiding behind sock puppets and false identities… if you can’t be who you really are then you need to face it… you’re worthless and weak and you need to do something about it! Otherwise it's just a vicious circle...

Changing your identity (or having multiple identities) is a crutch… and like a band aid it’s only a temporary solution. Sooner or later you’re going to have to stand on your own two feet… and if the wound hasn’t heeled it’s just going to open up again. The problem isn’t going to away on it’s own! If you think it will then you’re just living in a fantasy world…

I’m involved with a number of private and semi-private lists (mostly work related) and we almost never have problems like this… for the most part (like 99% of the time) they’re self-moderating and they’ve become a valuable resource I almost can’t imagine doing without. Despite the (often valid) critics of “online communities” I think I’ve actually benefited and grown from the experience… in a way fulfilling the “promise” of the Internet. I’ve been wondering why that is and then it hit me… everybody uses their real names! So why does that make a difference? I think it’s because everybody knows whatever you say is going to follow around you forever… you can’t hide behind the mask of anonymity so you either need to deal with the peer pressure (e.g. apologize and move forward when you realize you’ve done something stupid or uncalled for) or STFU!

Perhaps this is something we need to think about requiring here at RU if we want to continue to try and set a good example and become a more valuable resource for serious research. Many of us here already are.

But I digress…

8)


I'm down like a clown, Charlie Brown! I believe there is a level of integrity that goes with being "transparant" when you are online. While sometimes I do not use my name as my handle, my name is always on my profile and I typically sign my name to my posts. Either way, given that I will often back my statements with my credentials in the area of engineering, I feel it is important for people to be able to easily investigate said credentials. I welcome it. And when I encounter someone who wishes to bash me or insinuate that my credentials are not valid or I am a "disinfo agent", then either they are too lazy to check me out, or they are totally not worth my time because they do not want to validate who I am and what I know.

Hiding behind an anonymous handle, or even worse an anon proxy, does NOTHING for your credibility IMO.

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Postby ryguy » Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:35 pm

Access Denied wrote:Despite the (often valid) critics of “online communities” I think I’ve actually benefited and grown from the experience… in a way fulfilling the “promise” of the Internet. I’ve been wondering why that is and then it hit me… everybody uses their real names!


Well said... Online "Citizen Journalists" are often attacked by "traditional" journalists, as well as the many critics who point at the lack of journalism credentials as a way to discredit the work of these researchers.

Your remarks above are a good example of why there is value in online citizen journalism. Like science - we are peer reviewed. Those who resort to meaningless commentary and vulgarity get chucked in the trash bin and internet users never visit their work again. But the ones who generate valuable writing and research articles are accepted in general by the community - not because they have a piece of paper saying that they can be a journalist - but because their efforts and the results of their work prove it.

I feel very strongly about this...and about the future of citizen journalism and what it means for journalism overall. So much so that I recently wrote an article on the topic - it's currently published HERE.

Your words above regarding the value of the online community in this respect means a lot to me AD - and I agree with you strongly.

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Postby caleban » Fri Mar 07, 2008 1:42 am

I believe there is a level of integrity that goes with being "transparent" when you are online.


I quite agree. But there is also a need for a level of protection from the ugly side
of identity theft and libel and threat issues as well. I have no aversion to any civil
person on most places knowing my identity, but threaten or libel me, or steal my
identity and things go to a war zone rather quickly. What level of protection
would be adequate ? Immunity from search engines would be a must. Is it
enough ? And limit the real ID knowledge to that "level" of protection.
No references to real identity outside that area. The Big Picture area might be a
place for real ID introductions, but what "level" of protection is there, who has the keys,
and what level of integrity can be assigned to the key holders ? What measures would
be available to react to new developments in search engine capabilities, for example?
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Postby Access Denied » Fri Mar 07, 2008 7:04 am

ryguy wrote:I feel very strongly about this...and about the future of citizen journalism and what it means for journalism overall. So much so that I recently wrote an article on the topic - it's currently published HERE.

Nice article Ryan, thanks for sharing. I agree with your conclusion in response to the question “Are online citizen journalists free of traditional restraints?”…

In short - citizen journalists are bound to the ethical restraints [described by the Society of Professional Journalists in their Code of Ethics]...otherwise they lose the respect of sources and colleagues very quickly. But more importantly, citizen journalists are not bound by the traditional corporate and political restraints that most journalists must suffer through today.

Interestingly this article was published in Newsweek today…

Is User-Generated Content Out?
Revenge of the Experts

The individual user has been king on the Internet, but the pendulum seems to be swinging back toward edited information vetted by professionals.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/119091

In short, the expert is back. The revival comes amid mounting demand for a more reliable, bankable Web. "People are beginning to recognize that the world is too dangerous a place for faulty information," says Charlotte Beal, a consumer strategist for the Minneapolis-based research firm Iconoculture. Beal adds that choice fatigue and fear of bad advice are creating a "perfect storm of demand for expert information."

[snip]

Fueling all this podium worship is the potential for premium audiences—and advertising revenue. "The more trusted an environment, the more you can charge for it," says Mahalo founder Jason Calacanis, a former AOL executive who was previously involved with several Web start-ups. It's also easier to woo advertisers with the promise of controlled content than with hit-and-miss blog blather. "Nobody wants to advertise next to crap," says Andrew Keen, author of "The Cult of the Amateur," a jeremiad against the ills of the unregulated Web.

Anyway, some interesting points raised so far. Seems like there ought to be a workable solution that balances the privacy/vetting issue. I’ll have to ponder this some more…
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Postby caleban » Tue Mar 11, 2008 1:21 am

Just to muddy up the waters a bit more, how would something like
like this little ditty fit in ?

http://www.wtvq.com/content/midatlantic ... -0011.html

I do not have a clue as to the legal turbulence this would generate.
But it would be a spectacle, would it not ? I am fairly certain that a US state
lawmaker lacks the potency needed to make international laws for internet
folks. Not sure how serious this effort is, though.
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