Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Power and Danger of Anonymity

The Leiter Reports is the central spot for inside baseball for the academic philosophical community. Brian Leiter has a strict policy there of not posting anonymous comments. If you have something to say to the community, put your name to it. Own it. It cuts down on certain sorts of comments, keeps things more civil and removes certain ethical worries. I've never had that sort of policy here. I know who some of regulars use pseudonyms are, others I don't. We've had very few instances of inappropriate comments, and I've always tried to make clear in a stern but not rude fashion when someone has crossed the civility line here -- and others on the Playground have also made clear to folks when a comment has been unacceptable. So, I don't think there is any need to change anything.

That being said, what is the point of a blog name that conceals your own? Does it make you more comfortable in commenting? Does it allow you to feel like you have a nickname when just hanging out with the gang? What is the lived experiential value of the pseudonym you use here and for those of you who do not -- Kerry, Jeff, Gwydion,... -- why did you choose not to?