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Anonymity on the Interweb

I’ve never really understood why people feel the need to invoke the whole Maxwell Smart Cone of Silence Veil of Secrecy thing.

But then maybe it’s because big chunks of my life are available on the web for people to check up on if they want … one of the downsides of having a job that requires public disclosure and an FBI background check (at least, that’s what they told me when they were taking my fingerprints, DNA, and having me piss in a cup).

If you’re so ashamed of what people might think about what you’re saying that you feel like you need to hide behind some pseudo-anonymous alter-ego, then perhaps you should think again about what it is you’re saying.

I’m a firm believer that people have the right to express themselves … but doing so anonymously is cowardly.

And I feel this way because I’ve been online, in one form or another, for the better part of 30 years, from my first experiences using a TTY terminal as a kid in elementary school, with a 300-baud handset modem and paper tapes and punchcards to the current laptop computers with high-speed wireless connections; when sending an email to someone meant specifying a full path, with people clustered around old Wyse-50 and VT100 terminals connected to a Unix box across campus … when you knew who all the players were.

Now, people seem to have this “you don’t know who I am, so I can be the biggest fuckwit on the planet, and there will be no repercussions” attitude; and that’s just wrong. When I act like a fuckwit, my name is attached, and pretty much always has been.