Friday, February 22, 2013

No more anonymity? Count me in!

I write this commentary knowing full well that somebody out there, most likely someone who didn’t have a clue I existed previously, is going to become extremely infuriated.
SILVERSTEIN: A good idea, or just an attention-getter?

For all I know, I may make some permanent enemies.

BUT WHEN IT comes to a bill introduced in the Illinois General Assembly by state Sen. Ira Silverstein, D-Chicago, that would eliminate a person’s ability to post anonymous comments in response to Internet postings, count me in!

I would have no problem with a new law that would require anyone wishing to put their views on this weblog at the end of my daily efforts to have to identify themselves.

Not that I’m interested in publishing the IP and mailing addresses of any of my commenters. But I actually believe that people having to take credit for their thoughts is more likely to make them more responsible – and reduce the amount of borderline literate trash talk that pollutes the Internet and chips away at its credibility.

A similar effort was tried in the state Legislature in New York, but went nowhere. Personally, I suspect Silverstein’s effort will meet the same legislative fate.

OUR LEGISLATORS MAY well conclude that they have more important things to deal with than the nonsensical posts that all too often criticize everything in sight – and occasionally do so in such a crass and vulgar manner that I always wind up feeling more stupid for having wasted a few seconds reading them.

Anything that eliminates waste and stupidity is a good thing. So Silverstein gets my praise for his effort – even though I know he’s mostly trying to get himself some public attention without having to do any of the heavy lifting of actually getting a bill through the legislative process toward becoming a new law.

Now I know this is not a popular idea amongst those people who spend (in my opinion) way too much time posting comments on various Internet sites to the point that I wonder if they have any lives beyond (most likely) using their work computers to write their ramblings.

I’d think it a better use of their time if they went back to playing Solitaire on their computers!

THE RESPONSES (ALL anonymous) that I have read try to make this out to be some sort of censorship issue – one in which their Constitutional right to freedom of expression is being threatened.

All “red-blooded Americans” ought to be prepared to “defend to the death” (often attributed to Voltaire) their right to anonymously post a hateful rant that basically amounts to them telling the original writer to shut the hell up and NEVER disagree with their (often close-minded) thoughts in public again.

Yes, I find way too many anonymous posts to be about trying to stifle debate. They’re not about expressing one’s thoughts. Which makes the whole concept that this amounts to censorship to be a whole lot of nonsense!

Which is why I consider myself generous in that I permit just about all comments on this weblog – except for those people who persist in delving down into profanity to express themselves.

IF ANY OF these people were to want to create their own sites on the Internet and use them to express their thoughts on issues, I have no problem with that. If they want to engage in hateful rants, that’s their business.

I’m not going to bother spending time to read them. But they are free to express themselves in such a way if that’s the best they can do. Heck, I’ll even offer them technical advice or any other support in the creation of such Internet sites.

Just don’t think you have a right to come onto my weblogs (or anyone else’s sites) and impose yourself. Because if anyone is trying to engage in censorship, it is you – the anonymous one.

And perhaps the reason you’re so desperate for anonymity is that old Mark Twain saying; the one about opening your mouth and “removing all doubt” that you’re a fool.


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