It is all in a “name”- comment or commodity ?

March 28, 2010 at 11:07 pm 5 comments

Free Speech Poster by Chris Ritchey

This past week the Plain Dealer has outed one that comments on their blog

Plain Dealer sparks ethical debate by unmasking anonymous poster

“Anonymous online comments are linked to the personal e-mail account of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold”

and this morning Connie Schultz weighed in putting “face”-book to a name:

Web site posters’ anonymity an invitation to mischief: Connie Schultz

NOTE: you can find a list of the related articles in that post.
There have been hundreds of comments by the real and unreal including mine on the Plain Dealer article:

I have posted on this site a few times , and never the same name twice because I forget my user name half the time and since I have signed in more than once , my name is always already taken whew! OH and I always use my real name when posting .

This isn’t a personal blog such as I have ( and hundreds of thousands if not millions now have. This is connected to “professional media” and there in is the rub, we, rightly or wrongly ) expect more from you. Commenting can (and has done) led to a person who posted becoming the news through tracking back of unpublished information and possibly adding to the coffers of the PD through the selling of the newspaper due to the “news” . I would think we will be seeing this story next on one of the local news channels ( who also garner income )

Are we that comment just another way of gathering news or investigative journalism fodder?

The Plain Dealer can justify what they did , we can pro and con it to death BUT the deed is done and with it another news media outlet has added to the mistrust ( warranted or not) John Q Public will be even more skeptical .

Oh and by the way at least four others in my family have access to my email who am I really that is clicking on the submit :)

I also broached the subject on the Tell the Editor Blog ( Morning Journal)

And “there is the rub” in all of this is that rightly or wrongly the Plain Dealer – which by its very name suggests they will deal plainly the cards dealt :( is a professional NEWS organization.

They are news hounds and sniff out the news, that is how they feed themselves.

Professional Blogs that are media first and foremost are still in the business of “selling the news” to us , either by subscription to their hard copy or through ads on line.

When you comment you enter into their world and are subject to their rules. It is a case of buyer beware you may end up the commodity for sale.

Tom Skoch ( Editor of the Morning Journal ) today stated :

A whole new column could be written about the need to tolerate some anonymous writings as the only way an author can express vital ideas without fear of personally disastrous consequences.

That is true in nations where dissident voices face arrest and even death at the hands of a repressive government.

But in the United States, anonymity and screen names mostly serve only the author’s desire to throw stones without risk of getting personally bruised in return. That’s a poor excuse.

If you have something worth saying, it’s worth putting your name to it.

When it comes to weighing the relative value of opinions and statements, those backed by the author’s real name are gold while those made anonymously or under screen names are feathers.

Poster Chris Ritchey


Entry filed under: Blogging, blogs, media, notorious opponents of exactitude, opinion, writers and writing. Tags: .

There is an “I” in Death It Is Only Words, BUT Words Are ALL I HAVE-

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