Saturday, November 26, 2011

Letter to the Times, Unpublished

Anonymity on the Internet is the subject of this week's Times Sunday Dialog section of the Sunday Review. It started with a letter from Christopher Wolf of the Anti-Defamation League. Read his letter, letters of response, and his reply here. I sent in a letter that didn't get published in the Times:

To the Editor:

Christopher Wolf of the Anti-Defamation League must have spent much less time on the Internet than I have if he sincerely thinks that a real or legal names policy in any way improves the quality of conversation. I have seen many forums made uncivil by people writing under their (apparently) real names.

He must also not have thought much about the political dissidents, members of sexual and ethnic minorities, and members of other groups who would put themselves at great personal risk if they were to participate in Internet discussions under their real names. There's a handy list of people so affected at the Geek Feminism Wiki. I strongly encourage Mr. Wolf to read it.

Yrs truly, &c,

It's worth noting that this blog is under my real (legal) name and almost everything I've said on the Internet is under my real name. I've occasionally posted pseudonymous comments at the NY Times, but that's about it. But I care a lot about those for whom anonymity or pseudonymity is a matter of survival; I'm friends with plenty of people in that situation.


Anonymous said...

The most terrifying thing in the whole discussion was a link at the bottom, whose text read "Romney has a list of 15 possible veeps." Please, spare us.

Lisa Hirsch said...