Posted at 10:30 AM on March 11, 2008
by Sanden Totten
A legislator in Kentucky wants to outlaw anonymous comments on the Internet. His plan? Make everyone register with a website before leaving their message. Websites or blogs that fail to comply get fined.
The idea is to curtail Internet bullying. A worthy cause, but this is crazy on several levels. Representative Tim Couch, the man behind the proposed bill admits, technically this "would be a challenge". Yes. Yes, it would Tim.
But all the details aside, the anonymity of the web is one of its best features. What would chat rooms be like if everyone had their reputation to worry about? What would tell all bloggers do if a quick Google search could dredge up harmful information? What about folks on the Internet who log on to be someone else, like a different age, gender or even species (Second Life - I'm looking at you).
Every time a law like this surfaces I shudder. Yes, I want a solution to online bullying. But please don't sacrifice the best parts of this social experiment we call the Internet to find it.
And on that note:
Hilariously ironic that you promote anonymous comments but the comments section here requests a name. I know, you didn't set the policy, but you could have noted the contradiction if you were going to take this position.
Also ironic: that the video promoting the value of the "social experiment called the internet," a video which I guess is supposed to be campy, random, and thus uproariously funny, is more third or fourth grade level of writing. This is irrelevant to the debate about anonymous comments anyway.
Still, I agree that the efforts to curb anonymous comments wouldn't work.
Addendum: my bad; I didn't know your site would actually accept my anonymous post. This might be the best policy, then; to request a name, but not require it. Might get some first-time cyberbullies to think twice (whereas no policy would stop those more dedicated to cyberbullying).