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Posting anonymously

Clinton Hammond 14 Jul 01 - 12:52 PM
GUEST,Fed up 14 Jul 01 - 08:24 AM
Bill D 13 Jul 01 - 08:01 PM
Don Firth 13 Jul 01 - 06:33 PM
Don Firth 13 Jul 01 - 06:25 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 13 Jul 01 - 05:43 PM
harpgirl 13 Jul 01 - 05:42 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 13 Jul 01 - 05:18 PM
GUEST,Fed up 13 Jul 01 - 04:56 PM
GUEST,Fed up 13 Jul 01 - 04:29 PM
Jon Freeman 13 Jul 01 - 03:02 PM
Don Firth 13 Jul 01 - 02:57 PM
GUEST,Fed up 13 Jul 01 - 02:46 PM
harpgirl 13 Jul 01 - 02:37 PM
harpgirl 13 Jul 01 - 02:28 PM
Jon Freeman 13 Jul 01 - 02:17 PM
GUEST,Denise:^) 13 Jul 01 - 01:44 PM
GUEST,Denise:^) 13 Jul 01 - 01:41 PM
mousethief 13 Jul 01 - 01:39 PM
GUEST,Fed up 13 Jul 01 - 01:36 PM
Jeri 13 Jul 01 - 01:34 PM
harpgirl 13 Jul 01 - 01:32 PM
Bill D 13 Jul 01 - 01:22 PM
Jon Freeman 13 Jul 01 - 01:11 PM
pavane 13 Jul 01 - 01:03 PM
GUEST,Fed up 13 Jul 01 - 12:53 PM
harpgirl 13 Jul 01 - 12:37 PM
GUEST,Fed up 13 Jul 01 - 12:03 PM
harpgirl 13 Jul 01 - 11:24 AM
GUEST,Fed up 13 Jul 01 - 11:24 AM
Jon Freeman 13 Jul 01 - 09:54 AM
Jeri 13 Jul 01 - 09:50 AM
GUEST,Fed up 13 Jul 01 - 09:33 AM
Jeri 13 Jul 01 - 09:16 AM
GUEST,Fed up 13 Jul 01 - 08:27 AM
katlaughing 13 Jul 01 - 01:54 AM
Margo 13 Jul 01 - 01:16 AM
Jon Freeman 13 Jul 01 - 12:37 AM
Jon Freeman 13 Jul 01 - 12:26 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 13 Jul 01 - 12:19 AM
Amos 13 Jul 01 - 12:16 AM
GUEST,Denise;^) 13 Jul 01 - 12:12 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 12 Jul 01 - 11:45 PM
mousethief 12 Jul 01 - 12:51 PM
Ebbie 12 Jul 01 - 12:11 PM
Lox 12 Jul 01 - 08:55 AM
GUEST,Fed up 12 Jul 01 - 08:16 AM
Jon Freeman 12 Jul 01 - 07:23 AM
Lox 12 Jul 01 - 07:23 AM
Lox 12 Jul 01 - 07:09 AM
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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 14 Jul 01 - 12:52 PM

This thread needs a breath mint, 'cause it's talkin' through it's hole, and the wind it makes STINKS!


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: GUEST,Fed up
Date: 14 Jul 01 - 08:24 AM

Bill D,

I have chosen to address your posting of my IP address in the new thread.

All


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 08:01 PM

All Fed UP...did you read a WORD of what I said about IP tracking back up there? The address (like 210.38.125.32) of the computer you are using IS available if anyone wanted to bother! ...unless you took special steps to hide it.(it ain't easy to track you right to your door, but it is possible).

Whether you type IN that box or not makes little difference 'technically'! Those who are unhappy with you are mostly talking about being friendly and acting like most of the rest of the folks here. YOU have gotten into some wild notion that that box represents "..... is the antithesis of a healthy community, and textbook example of dysfunctional tribalism."...

Quote POOH!
unquote.


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: Don Firth
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 06:33 PM

Or perhaps worse yet:

You decide to speak out, only to discover that you don't have anything to say -- or that what you want to say has already been said by people far more eloquent than you

or

You step out into the light, prepared to take the consequences, only to discover that the Powers That Be consider you too insignificant to be bothered with.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: Don Firth
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 06:25 PM

Just a thought:

There are two kinds of censorship:

1. A government or some other agency can prevent you from saying diddly squat.
2. You can refrain from saying diddly squat because you're afraid of the consequences.

In either case, you don't say diddly squat, and those who don't want you to say it have won.

There are two kinds of oppression:

1. A government or some other agency can lock you away in a dark cell.
2. You can cower in the dark and refuse to come out for fear that if someone sees you, they will lock you in a dark cell.

In either case, you are imprisoned in the dark, and those you are afraid of have won.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 05:43 PM

Here's what "Fed Up" is talking about

Workplace Privacy Issue


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: harpgirl
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 05:42 PM

All, the only way to actually test my hypothesis about making structural changes to help people with the issue of hostility aimed at "unrecognizable posters" is for Max to try it. I do appreciate the fact that you have addressed these issues, however.

I would like to see better anonymity for all of us on the site, in spite of the fact that there is really no such thing once someone begins to use a computer at all. harp


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 05:18 PM

One thing we here at the Mudcat seem to do well, is respond to the "trollers" like this "Fed-Up" who seems to think that posting anonymously is a "right", inherent in the use of the internet.

IT isn't! Never has been.

He or she may think they are anonymous, but the people who want to track him/her CAN and probably are. It doesn't matter.

What I wanted to address is the thought that if you are using a computer at the office, you are obliged to be given "privacy" by the owners of the business. You AREN'T. The computers are theirs, the software was bought by them. The internet access is being paid for by them. You are being paid by those people. If you are using their "paid for" equipment and products, then they have EVERY right (not a priviledge) to monitor the usage of the very same items.

Even if you are using during lunch, the fact you are using this equipment is still subject to monitoring. I fully agree with them.

If someone uses this equipment to
a - Do illegal acts
b - Download pornography
c - Harrass others

All items which could and should cause the equipment to be confiscated in even the more liberal countries. They would be quite within their rights to limit access if such activities were to be discovered.

I have NO problems with monitoring in the workplace.

We, as users and employees, should be there to work, and enhance the job, not our play time.

I do use the office computers for my own purposes, and the boss is certainly free and welcome to monitor any of this activity. None of it is illegal, and as long as I do it during my own time, lunch or after work, and my productivity is not impacted negatively, he can't complain.

And has not, to this point.


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: GUEST,Fed up
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 04:56 PM

Don Firth,

Thanks for the olive branch. I love olives!

Having revealed that private piece of information, I think I'd like to maintain the right to privacy I've been defending here. I'm sure everyone would like to know more about me. Its a natural curiosity we all share. But it isn't innocent.

It is always part of the old ways of creating human communities. The Internet is about new ways of creating human communities. I'm just more comfortable with the latter than the former. Why?

Being surrounded by known quantities makes it easy to cooperate, so the psychologists and sociologists claim.

Yet, they haven't yet figured out that pesky "familiarity breeds contempt" part which results in faction fighting, ethnic cleansing, religious wars, wars for turf between neighbors, etc. And now, here on the Internet, flame wars.

There is always a point where things break down. Ambiguity is often a destabilizer of the known, yet it is something all of us must come to terms with in our lives, just as Jon suggests. It is the grey areas where people feel uncomfortable. The older you get, the more you learn to live in those grey areas with ease. Unless yours is a personality that doesn't tolerate ambiguity well, and there may be some with those intolerances here.

The problem here, it seems to me, is that there are a number of people who believe their opinions and identities to be so important, that they need to be recognized by others for just those things--and who wish everyone to know it is THEIRS. Accountability is important to people like this. They are the people who have problems with ambiguity, and were the ones contantly trying to expose the identities of the Lone Ranger, Spiderman, Superman, etc. They are all known "mystery hero" identities. Yet, we also know they also had their anonymous ones too, which they guarded with their lives. Sometimes we never know the identity of the masked man, the great and powerful Oz, the superhero know only as ___________.

They are also fictional creatures. We are real human beings. We aren't mythological heroes and heroines.

As someone said in another forum once about masking of identity, because somebody robs the local convenience store in a Richard Nixon mask, doesn't mean we need to ban Halloween to make the shoppers safe.

I'll grant you, there aren't many who feel a joyous sense of celebration and freedom when encountering strangers with masked identities. But I'm hopeful there will be more of us all the time who don't need to be so stridently and strictly identified as "me" and all others as an easily identifiable "you" or "them". We can learn to contribute without the need to be recognized for it--it is much easier to do altruistic work when your ego isn't always in teh way.

To test that theory, get a copy of a book of photographs done by a Native American photographer recently--can't remember the name. Anyway, he went around to all sorts of Native American luminaries, and asked them to put on the Lone Rangers mask. Title of the book has something to do with Lone RAnger and Tonto. Anyway...

Pow! Astounding transformations. Deeply disturbing images. Really agitated people. Putting on the Masked Whiteman's face really did a number on everyone's thinking who participated.

Fascinating read. Might enlighten a few folks here, and unsettle their certainties a bit.

Again, best of luck to those of you looking to improve the forum. It can be done, even with the destabilizing influence of some people choosing anonymity.

And please try to remember--unless and until you've had your anonymity violated in a really serious way (and I wouldn't wish that on anyone, so I hope it never happens to any of you) you may not be able to understand why some people have such strong feelings about it.

Thanks for the olives!

All


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: GUEST,Fed up
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 04:29 PM

Jeri,

Try something a bit more recent, like McInyre V. Ohio. 1995 US Supreme Court decision reaffirming the First Amendment right of anonymous communication.

Although, if you like the idea of going back to a Founding Fathers thing, you could also try the Federalist Papers--written anonymously with psuedonyms.

Historians are still arguing over *their* identities. Doesn't change a word they said, though. Wise guys, actually. Without a known identity, their ideas can't be so readily dissmissed with remarks like "well what did you expect from Alexander Hamilton, he is just a federalist pig."

Also, a tidbit from the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

"FBI Dir., Louis Freeh, and president of Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Ernest Allen, testifying before the Commerce, Justice and State Dept. Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, at a hearing on FBI efforts to catch child pornographers and molestors who use the Internet. Freeh reveals that FBI agents are paid to pretend to be 13-year-old girls in online chat rooms, and attacks online anonymity and privacy, saying that while the FBI should be able to hide its agents' identities while they pretend to be naughty pubescents, the rest of the world should be identifiable to law enforcement agents automatically. Freeh suggests mandating (or possibly allowing for voluntary implementation of) Internet Service Providers call-tracking all of their users, including with Caller-ID and permanent logging, so that police can immediately ID a suspect. Nevermind warrants or anything like due process. Yet another attempt by the FBI to wrangle new surveillance powers over the new medium. (Mar. 10, 1998)"

All


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 03:02 PM

Harpgirl, I don't think technology can solve this one. Mudcat could be changed to make the Guest a little less obvious but while Mudcat continues to allow Members and Guests (which I hope it does), there will always be a danger of this sort of trouble. Really and honestly, the only solution I can see is for the more experienced people to learn how to cope with it.

BTW, I don't work with Max on the forum structure. If anyone does, I'd think it is Jeff/Pene Azul - depending on your definitions, he already is.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: Don Firth
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 02:57 PM

I wasn't going to post to this thread again, but I would like to make one more attempt.

GUEST,Fed up (or All, I assume you are the same person), I have no problem in general with people who post anonymously. If a person doesn't wish to divulge his or her identity, that's their right and privilege. For me, anyway, the problem comes when a GUEST is here solely for the purpose of trying to stir up trouble. Recently someone identified only as "GUEST" started a thread for no reason other than to make insulting remarks about the physical characteristics of a Mudcat member. This was disgusting and completely uncalled for, as I think we can all agree.

It's been said several times already, but I guess it needs to be said again, because I believe it's the core of the matter. Please bear with me:

GUEST posts something that is obviously intended to cause trouble.

GUEST asks for information.

GUEST posts something that is a serious and insightful comment.

GUEST posts a snotty and insulting response to someone else's question or comment.

GUEST posts a remark that is ambiguous and indecipherable as to whether it's a serious comment or a flame.

Now -- is GUEST five different people? Four? Three? Two? Or is it one person suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder? Or worse?

Most GUESTs are newcomers. Some ask a question or make a comment and never return, some join, and some don't join but continue to stay around and post, usually adding some identifier to the GUEST designation (i.e., consistently signing yourself "All," so I know it's you and -- hopefully -- not some verbal mad bomber). That's fine! I don't think anyone here has a problem with that. I know that I would like some way of telling the GUEST with a question or serious contribution from the GUEST who is fixated on the size of other Mudcatters' posteriors.

When I see GUEST in the "From" line, my next question is "Friend or Foe?" Should I read on, curious to know what the person has to say? Or should I steel myself for some kind of assault? That, I believe, is where the problem lies.

I don't know who you are. I don't know what you look like, where you live, where you work, or what part of the world you live in. That's fine. You don't need to divulge any information about yourself that you don't want to. I chose to use my own name because some years ago I achieved a little notoriety as a folksinger in the area in which I live, and if anyone recognizes my name, I want them to know that it's me and that I'm still around. I'm approaching geezerhood -- I lived though the national paranoia of Fifties and the ravings of McCarthy, I survived unscathed, and I still survive. I know how to defend myself in any eventuality and I am not afraid to identify myself. But that's me. I don't know what your situation is and if you chose not to give out your name, rank, serial number, home address, e-mail address, phone number, Social Security number, and bank account number, then that is your choice -- and, indeed, a wise and prudent one.

The Lone Ranger always wore a mask. Nobody knew his real identity. But at least when he rode into town, everybody knew he was the Lone Ranger.

My earlier question was not intended to be an insult; I'm just curious. Are you a singer? Do you play any instruments? What kind of music are you interested in? If none of the above, then what is it that you find of interest in the Mudcat? I'm not being snide, I would just like to know -- but if you don't want to answer, that's your privilege.

I'm trying to extend an olive branch here. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: GUEST,Fed up
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 02:46 PM

Jon and harpgirl,

I appreciate your efforts on behalf, to help me understand the structural side. You are likely right, harpgirl, that some tinkering would work fine.

However, as long as anonymous posting is allowed, if you don't address the hostility towards anonymous posting here, all the structural tinkering will be for naught.

We all know the problem here isn't about technology not all. Its about a small group of rude, obnoxious people dominating the forum, and a larger group following their example in hopes of becoming a member of the inner circle controlling the group dynamic.

If enough of the membership is hell-bent on maintaining this dysfunctional tribal dynamic, no amount of structural tinkering will cure their atrocious behavior.

Nonetheless, I wish you best of luck trying to make this a better forum.

All


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: harpgirl
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 02:37 PM

I think that if we want to evolve with our technology instead of having it prevent our evolution, we have to work harder at it, Jon. You're so smart. Why don't you and Max continue to modify the forum structure? Then I would be more assured that our technology will not halt our evolution as enlightened sentient beings, as it appears to be doing when we don't modify it on an ongoing basis in response to "dysfunctional behavior in the tribe." haplessgirl


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: harpgirl
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 02:28 PM

All, putting a "policy" in the FAQ is not a structural change in a cyber organization, as you must realize. In this organization, a change in how the operating system of the forum works is the only way to solve the problems of "dysfunctionality" to which you refer. I hope I can persuade you that structural changes are needed.

The change Jon is refering to was not enough to solve the problems which are ongoing in interaction which are related to fears about providing operational feedback, reluctance to stand behind unpopular views, human misunderstandings, the tendency people have to attack unpopular views with tangential reasoning, and "bad days."

Our bright people could address these problems effectively, I believe. harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 02:17 PM

All, I don't know why I bother but, membership has never (at least not since I've been here) been a requirement for posting here. Guests used to post in the same way as they do now but the word "GUEST" did not appear anywhere so there was no visible difference between Member posts and Guest posts. Unfortunately, someone abused the GUEST priviledges and impersonated a member.

Hapgirl, a workaround to this problem would be to keep the system pretty much as it is but to drop the Guest tag and check through the list of member names before accepting a GUEST post, rejecting the name if there was a match.

There are several problems with this, the first and most obvious would be the cookieless member who would not be able to use his Mudcat name unless further changes were made...

All in all, it seems to me a lot of work for what is in reality a trivial problem


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: GUEST,Denise:^)
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 01:44 PM

...that is,

"'All,' what in heaven's name..."

...since it didn't end up following the post I was replying to...


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: GUEST,Denise:^)
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 01:41 PM

What in heaven's name are you talking about? I have completely missed the point, I guess.

(Maybe I don't get it 'cause I'm a GUEST!)


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: mousethief
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 01:39 PM

She keeps saying she's leaving then she doesn't; she just hangs around and insults us and then complains when we take offense.

Hey All Fed Up, I'm glad you're a person of principle and integrity and I'm not. Maybe you could display some? I could sure use an example to learn from, if I'm as bad off as you say.

Alex


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: GUEST,Fed up
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 01:36 PM

Jon,

Thanks for that bit of information. Very revealing.

The (sole?) reason for setting up the guest log-in was to protect members, and not welcome guests?

Sorta says it all right there.

This group is even more dysfunctional, the deeper you dig.

Talk about paranoid. Talk about the technology for protecting one's identity not working! Living proof! God, the irony!

No wonder there are such astounding levels of hypocrisy and double speak here.

What a cynical, manipulative set up.

God. Last straw. The bullies win. You've very effectively driven me out, as I'm sure you will continue to do to many others.

You know, why not just get rid of the guest log-in. Then the sacred fellowship of members will be made safe and cozy in their insular, inbred little cyber-land, with no people of principle and integrity to bother their guilty consciences. For this group to do anything else is hypocrisy.

Good riddance to many of you--to some others, perhaps we might meet again in a better place, with a better clientele.

This forum is the antithesis of a healthy community, and textbook example of dysfunctional tribalism. What a sham.

All


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: Jeri
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 01:34 PM

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances...

This is rather long.

Thomas Jefferson wrote to James Madison in 1788:

"A declaration that the federal government will never restrain the presses from printing anything they please, will not take away the liability of the printers for false facts printed.''
It seems to address accountability.

This also:

L. Levy, Jefferson and Civil Liberties--The Darker Side (Cambridge, 1963). Thus President Jefferson wrote to Governor McKean of Pennsylvania in 1803: "The federalists having failed in destroying freedom of the press by their gag-law, seem to have attacked it in an opposite direction; that is, by pushing its licentiousness and its lying to such a degree of prostitution as to deprive it of all credit. . . . This is a dangerous state of things, and the press ought to be restored to its credibility if possible. The restraints provided by the laws of the States are sufficient for this if applied. And I have, therefore, long thought that a few prosecutions of the most prominent offenders would have a wholesome effect in restoring the integrity of the presses. Not a general prosecution, for that would look like persecution; but a selected one.'' 9 Works of Thomas Jefferson 449 (P. Ford, ed. 1905).

If one feels they need to hide their identity, I don't see why the 1st Amendment is effective and we might as well get rid of it. That's how folks try to stay out of trouble in places that don't protect free speech. Now, I can see how some people may have tried to twist the meaning of the amendment to suit their own needs. If they ever should have to defend this in court, they'll have to use their name.

I'm not sure I expect any sort of logic to be forthcoming. Perhaps you have a fact or two?

Jon's right about the origination of "guest" here. Someone began posting as other "members." If there were a way to prevent identity theft and remove the guest prefix, I'd be all for it.


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: harpgirl
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 01:32 PM

All, I still think Max should make a structural change in the organization along the lines I have suggested or probably he would think up something better, don't you think? I admire your ideas about promoting free (and polite) speech.

With fine minds such as Jon's and others, we could come up with a structural change which would protect anonymity and keep one another from using each other's names in the process. Surely we could find a structural win/win solution. What you are expecting individuals to do is still a long way off in the future behaviorally, without structural organizational changes to help them, in my view. But I appreciate your attempts to resolve these problems without further site changes. harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 01:22 PM

and....UNLESS you have posted here thru a proxy, Max 'could' find the IP under which you posted and come fiarly close to finding you....which he normaly has no need, desire or time to do.

On the other hand if you DID post thru a proxy, he can't find you if he wanted to....typing a name, as guest or member, has little to do with it, if I understand it correctly...all a membership does if GIVE you a few extra bells & whistles and restrict that name to YOU.


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 01:11 PM

Well, I said I was out of this thread but...

Harpgirl, the Guest tag was only added to protect members from impersonation. At least under the current sytem, everyone who does choose to register is guaranteed a unique identity which can not be used by anyone else.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: pavane
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 01:03 PM

As far as I can see, not many people look in FAQ before posting. It's a bit like the old 'If all else fails, RTFM'.


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: GUEST,Fed up
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 12:53 PM

Harpgirl

Agree with your assessment entirely--100% dead on for this group.

However, we disagree about the solution. I would look to site owner to resolve by putting something responsible in the faq, as I've said repeatedly here I don't think that lovely piece of fiction Amos penned which was recently added to permathreads clarifies a thing for guest posters and occassional visitors. It simply denies this dark side of Mudcat that keeps repeating itself here.

It has always been my position, as a free speech advocate and writer, that just because we feel certain people *should* be censored for their bad behavior/language, doesn't mean that it is the right way to deal with people in our midst who are creating those kinds of problems. As I think Jeri pointed out, people *do* have a right to behave badly, or use their own strong emotions as a club on everyone around them. Which is happening here.

Thing is, I just don't think censorship is the answer. Sorta like using a sledgehammer for thumbtack.

IMO, it would be much better for site owner to set a new policy, rather then end anonymous posting for good.

And it's a practical matter as well. It will always be easier to make the members behave than it will guests. Members have a long-term interest in improving the forum, guests usually don't.

All


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: harpgirl
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 12:37 PM

All, I know you said that, actually. I have followed this discussion with interest. I do believe that the problem you are articulating in your post above would be eliminated by eliminating the Guest/Member distinction and making everyone type a name into the From: box. Those who wished could use a consistent name. Those who didn't could change their names in order to protect their privacy a little. Then we would have to be polite to one another or not based on other more sensible notions, not the specious "anonymous equals bad" argument.

It would be wonderful if we could do as you say in the above post, but we have not been able to thus far, it seems without a change in the structure. Any good behavioral scientist will tell you that in organizations where "personality problems" repeatedly occur a change in the structure of the organization is required to eliminate the interactive problems. Without that the problems will persist....harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: GUEST,Fed up
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 12:03 PM

harpgirl,

You're right, I think I did make such a suggestion--tongue in cheek.

I believe the onus is upon those who are vehemently opposed to allowing anonymous posters in Mudcat, to find a reasonable solution, rather than attacking and harrassing the innocent anonymous posters they are projecting their negative beliefs and fear of strangers on.

One such reasonable solution is for them to start a forum of their own, which would not allow anonymous posters.

The other is to accept that anonymous posting is allowed here, and be gracious, respectful, and polite towards respectful anonymous guests, in spite of the strong negative feelings that triggers in them when they see an anonymous guest posting.

What isn't reasonable is to attack anonymous guests who are behaving appropriately, and trying to get others to join the crusade to make you appear to be right, by virtue of the numbers of people you can get to behave just as badly towards polite guests.

I've gone as far with trying to explain my position as is reasonable here. I think the debate is healthy, the flaming and attacking, not.

All


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: harpgirl
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 11:24 AM

Hey.....we could eliminate this poor dead horse by eliminating the use of "Guest" altogether, as someone (All?)said much earlier...I thought the reason we don't is that Max likes to use different pseudonyms to offer his comments without having to communicate more than he has time to. It's for Max, isn't it? Otherwise, he would have changed it already....just a thought....harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: GUEST,Fed up
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 11:24 AM

Jeri,

I suggest you read the First Amendment to the US Constitution before posting in public discussion forums about what *you* believe it says, and inform yourself a little better about the several hundred years worth of legal briefs written at every level of the US judiciary, up to and including the Supreme Court.

The current Supreme Court, known for it's judicial conservatism and narrow interpretations of the Constitution, might be in disagreement with your interpretation of anonymity and the First Amendment.

Now, as I said, there are people here who express strong dislikes for people who post anonymously, period. They don't have to change their minds about that, and are entitled to their opinions and beliefs.

But are they entitled to abuse those who do things they have the right to do, that said posters don't like them doing?

That is the question at the heart of the matter here.

It is clear there are some members here with a deep hatred, if not just an exteme dislike of anonymous posters coming into this forum, even when those anonymous posters are behaving perfectly well, and merely availing themselves of the opportunity the site owner provides for anonynmous posting.

For some wholly irrational reason, those same people seem to think they also have the right to intimidate and harrass those people who choose to use the anonymous guest log-in feature at this website.

And you could possibly be right in this regard: by the site owner allowing anonymous posters to be so harrassed, abused, and intimidated, this small group of members engaging in this behavior have effectively seized control by investing themselves with defacto powers to set an "unwritten and unofficial" rule on anonymous posting, which is being practiced regularly by certain long-term and well-respected members of this forum.

But that doesn't make it right or reasonable. I've seen over and over in other threads, members and guests expressing discomfort and outright disagreement with this behavior being well tolerated in this forum. I've seen members and guests make statements about the abuses they've seen being heaped regularly upon members and guests by certain powerful members of the forum, who appear to be operating so negatively here with impunity. And I've seen a whole lot of members flaming me, who then turn around and deny their dark side in this regard, by suddenly waxing poetic about how lovely a group this is.

I first stumbled across this forum a couple of years ago, and lurked here for a bit. Found it to be pretty friendly, so long as you were a member of the group. I didn't find it to be particularly welcoming though, and wandered away. This time, I came back and saw the same thing. Only decided to say so before I left, knowing full well I was making myself vulnerable to the abuse which would undoubtedly be heaped on me by those members who clearly are using this forum like petty tyrants, and the forum their fiefdom.

When newcomers/visitors see that, a certain number will always join in, as they too are looking for getting those kinds of fixes through Internet posting. Many will also recognize it just for what it is, and leave without ever saying a word.

Many here have proven that there is a core group who will kill every messenger who dares pull back the curtain, revealing this dark side of Mudcat. It apparently, according to some regulars, happens with regularity here.

I would suggest the problem isn't with the occassional visitors, but with the abuses of power being exercised by this core group of members, who keep perpetuating this status quo to protect their own position in the group hierarchy.

All


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 09:54 AM

Jeri writes:

"I don't really understand the level of fear that would make someone not type any conistant name into the "From:" block."

All writes:

"And that is it in a nutshell. There are a number of people here who don't like people who wish to post anonymously, because they are hung up on the "accountability" issue. "

I'm confused and will join the rest who just give up with this thread.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: Jeri
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 09:50 AM

"People who defend the US First Amendment rights, and who are in solidarity with free speech and right to privacy activists around the world, find the "accountability" issue specious"

No. The First Amendment was intended so people as individuals with names and identities could express their views. If you don't use a name, you're not excercising free speech. In effect, you're saying it doesn't exist - that you believe "J. Doe" can't say what they will, and must hide who they are to be free. This isn't freedom. This is what the First Amendment was trying to eliminate the need for.

As far as site owners (there is only one) and the rest of us expressing emotions, unfortunatly we got 'em and sometimes they get the better of us when it comes to words. Look at it as all of us having the right to free speech. When it comes to actions, all of us who have an edit button had better keep the emotions out of it and behave as professionals. I think we've done pretty good on that score.


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: GUEST,Fed up
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 09:33 AM

Jeri writes:

"I don't really understand the level of fear that would make someone not type any conistant name into the "From:" block."

And that is it in a nutshell. There are a number of people here who don't like people who wish to post anonymously, because they are hung up on the "accountability" issue.

People who defend the US First Amendment rights, and who are in solidarity with free speech and right to privacy activists around the world, find the "accountability" issue specious.

You can agree to disagree without flaming those who support the right to anonymous free speech in forums which allow it.

And Mudcat members aren't doing that, as I see it from a GUEST perspective supporting the right to post anonymously in THIS forum, which DOES allow it.

Jeri's three rules seem very sensible to me. But it does seem as if some membership has some considerable difficulty adhering to them, or even wishing to honor the spirit of them in threads I've participated in.

As someone said in one of these threads a ways back, this is an issue for members to work out among themselves. It shouldn't require heavy handed intervention from site owners and site administrators (some of whom clearly have self-control and anger issues to deal with regarding their own responses too). You should be able to police one anohter when you see things getting out of hand.

When you are a leader of the forum, and garner the respect and admiration of the membership, that puts the onus upon you to set an example. No GUEST has that power, either as a newcomer or occassional visitor.

All


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: Jeri
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 09:16 AM

We're all a bit paranoid, or can be from time to time, and this paranoia varies from individual to individual. It only becomes a problem for Mudcat when it affects how we treat people.

Some different types of paranoia I've noticed:
1. GUESTS who are afraid of any accountability for their words, whether it be from bosses, the law or individuals who know them or may eventually meet them.
2. People who don't agree with others and have to ascribe evil intentions and motives to the other person in order to dismiss or belittle their views.
3. People who judge all GUESTS based on the actions of a few, and believe they're all out to disrupt the forum.

I'd still rather that people focus on what others say and not what they look like. I think some of the GUESTS we paranoidly accuse of being paranoid may just be testing the water and be thoroughly disgusted when they're hit with anger and suspicion instead of a willingness to get to know them. If guests really are that paranoid, let it be their problem and not ours.

There are GUEST trolls. I don't really understand the level of fear that would make someone not type any conistant name into the "From:" block. In my opinion, people who do that must have a real fear of accountability. Either that, or they see themselves as verbal terrorists. For the sake of myself and the forum, I still try to focus on what the person is saying. The way I try (not always successfully) to behave:
1. Is the person making a point I wish to respond to?
No: don't respond. Yes: respond to the point.
2. Is the person either intentionally or unintentionally turning the discussion into an argument about their personal motives?
No: see #1. Yes: Ignore it and let someone else turn it into an off-topic flame war.
3. Do I think the GUEST is deliberately trolling?
No: Maybe say so in the thread. Yes: Have a Coke, smile, and shut the **** up. If it really is a troll, any reaction is what they desire. Oh yeah - if I can find a point to discuss in their troll, I may try that instead of reacting. Some good discussions have resulted from possible trolling attempts when folks have ignored the emotional provocation.

The flame wars and trolls will never stop because someone will always respond. I can't do anything about other people, only myself. Sure, I try to convince folks I'm right, but at the present time. I'm not Supreme Ruler of the Universe, so no one has to listen.


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: GUEST,Fed up
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 08:27 AM

As I said, for those who aren't really interested in this issue, it begs the question: why join this thread just to post taunts and insults to me?

There will always be those who prefer fiddling the night away while Rome burns.

I agree with some previous poster--this thread has clearly run it's course. Many more flames and trolls being posted that serious conversation.

Not interested in engaging with member trolls and flamers.

All


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 01:54 AM

"What is folk music?"

"I refuse to answer on the grounds it might incriminate me!"


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: Margo
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 01:16 AM

My husband is a systems and network administrator. He HAD to install "spy" software. His boss doesn't want it, my husband doesn't want it either; he thinks it is just another thing to keep him from his real work.

The problem is that the employees weren't acting like responsible adults, and brought it upon themselves. One gal came to her supervisor complaining that a certain someone was going to porn sites. He was asked to stop, and said he would. He didn't.

Another guy was fired for running a porn site from one of the servers on the job!! No, I think it is ok for employers to keep an eye out. Margo


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 12:37 AM

I should add, it is quite possible to beleive something is trad when it is copyrighted, some people copyright arangements of trad songs, etc.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 12:26 AM

Problem is, could something like the Harry Fox Agency (hisssssssss, boooooooo) see me answering a post with copyrighted lyrics and decide to use me as an example...

Jon


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 12:19 AM

LOL ! BG :-)


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: Amos
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 12:16 AM

"That depends on your defintion of 'lyrics', sir!"

A


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: GUEST,Denise;^)
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 12:12 AM

Cantcha just see it now--

There I sit, in the courtroom, being grilled by an attorney:

"Did you, or did you not, ask the Mudcatters for the lyrics to "The Dixie-Bee Line" during the week of July 8, 2001?"

Jeepers, how would I reply? I mean, the fate of nations would rest on my answer...


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 12 Jul 01 - 11:45 PM

Guest-You do seem rather paranoid, I feel if "they" are out to get you, they will find you anyway.The people that run Mudcat have my full name and address, I have no problem with this at all.Do you hear voices in your head? (just a thought!)

John Evans


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: mousethief
Date: 12 Jul 01 - 12:51 PM

If "they" are out to get me, they'll get me, whether I post anonymously on Mudcat or otherwise. But why would they be? Are you an escaped convict, AllFedUp? Are you advocating the violent overthrow of the government? Your technical reasoning is impeccable but your paranoia seems harder to defend.

Alex


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: Ebbie
Date: 12 Jul 01 - 12:11 PM

Just to wrap things up:

ALLFedup, I finally see what you mean and it's proper for me to publicly agree with you. The right to anonymity is clearly guaranteed by the Constitution. You can easily verify the early mindset on the issue by finding a copy of the Declaration of Independence- not a soul signed it.

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: Lox
Date: 12 Jul 01 - 08:55 AM

Where is the CM/DB thread?

What is it called?

I would like to read it.

All, Cheers for making us aware of the risks involved in posting potentially libellous remarks, or putting potentially life ruining information about ourselves on the net.

When I see such information posted by a guest, I will understand why they have kept their identity to themselves.

In the meantime, I will continue to wonder why those without this justification, will refuse to offer a means by which others can address them in what is (on this forum) an almost entirely social context.

I cite your use of the pseudonym "all" as an example of how it is not necessary to be completely unidentifiable when you have nothing "risky" to say.

In fact, I am interested to know how you imagine this discussion would have developed without your use of "all".

I don't see any more "mileage" in this discussion.

Bye

lox


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: GUEST,Fed up
Date: 12 Jul 01 - 08:16 AM

Lox,

I came into this thread because I had followed the debate in teh CM/DB thread.

I mentioned previously that I felt there was a *potential* for that type of posting circumstance to end up in court as libel and defamation. It is similar to the circumstances of teh Yahoo/The1Quiz case, in that it was a CEO who claimed a poster had libeled him in a newsgroup related to his business.

Theoretically, an argument could be made by CM/DB that because these charges against were being done in folk forums, his reputation was damaged and his business suffered. People were suggesting CM be boycotted, there seems to be a possibility that at least some of the charges being levelled against him contain could be considered spurious, hearsay, whatever.

And also, I should mention, that defending against such charges0 might easily be done by parties posting about CM/DB. The point is, we don't control who decides to take up a lawsuit against us. Once one is filed, one must defend against it. In today's litigous world (and I trust that isn't much different in the UK than the US), I believe it is a real risk. Others mileage may vary.

I'm not saying this could, should, would happen. I'm saying there is always a possibility of such occurring. And that anonymous posting does protect against it to a certain extent, as the prosecuting parties have a burden to prove they need the identity of the poster revealed, which will slow many down.

As to Jon and others in UK--I recognize the laws are different there, and I'm not at all familiar enough with laws there.

Regarding the laws here, I'm referring to criminal law, the most likely use of the law against political dissidents. Government long arms (in the past in the US such as HUAC) don't have to comply with "regular" statutes either, as they (government bodies) appoint themselves special powers of prosecution--ie the Watergate, etc era of special prosecutors, who essentially replace the HUAC committees.

A lot of people here also seem to share a lot of personal information about personal problems. That too is an area ripe with problems. Again--connecting physical and mental health issues is one way people's reputations are often routinely destroyed on the basis of undermining public perceptions.

People can say "it can't happen here" of course, if that is what they want to believe. I just don't think they have the right to force their beliefs on others, and make them comply.

As I said, if anonymous posting is allowed here, the right to do it without harrassment (which, in my mind, definitely includes the right to decline giving personal information to the forum just because people want to know it to converse with you) needs to be safeguarded.

All


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 12 Jul 01 - 07:23 AM

All, I acknowleged most of what you said about displaying names in my previous post. I also recognised that a web site owner may be forced to divulge private information for legal reasons.

One area I seem to disagree with you on is the availiblity of information given in the membership. To complicate matters, I am in the UK and not even well up on our own laws but if Mudcat was over here, I would think that this information would be considered private information and that Mudcat would have a legal duty under the Protection Of Data act to ensure its security. I think it would need some legal action (although for all I know, there may aleady be clauses covering access for police and suspected ciminal activity) for any 3rd party to obtain it. I would assume a similar situation exists in the US.

Perhaps someone familiar with US law can clarify.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: Lox
Date: 12 Jul 01 - 07:23 AM

All

The point of all this is that you can maintain your anonimity AND have a nickname.

You have accepted this and called yourself "All"

I now know who I'm talking to, even though I don't know your real name, where you are from, what you look like, or who you work for.

It was clearly not necessary for you to log on as nothing more than GUEST, just as it is not necessary for anyone else to do likewise.

If you had contained your urge to muddy the waters by mixing the wider issue of internet security with the local mudcat issue of GUESTS who flame, you would probably have found that this forum would have shown a great deal more interest in you and your knowledge.

Do you get my drift?

lox


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Subject: RE: Posting anonymously
From: Lox
Date: 12 Jul 01 - 07:09 AM

All

You are very persistent, and I admire that a great deal.

Whatsmore, in your last couple of posts, you have shown to my satisfaction how the thread title and the wider subject matter that you have been discussing are related.

I'm impressed.

I'm still not satisfied though.

1, Do you really think that the mudcat will be the new McCarthy's first port of call? (I would concur that in a country with GWB as its president, this is not entirely improbable)

2, when you post, can't you be traced via your ICQ number. Does it therefore matter whether you use your real name, a nickname, or no name.

3, If you log on via a cyber cafe or public library computer, couldn't you use a special mudcat nickname without fear of being traced.

4, If you can be traced by ICQ number, and "they" decide they really want to find you, they will look for you at whatever public terminal you used last.

5, if you nevr use the same terminal twice, you can continue to use your special mudcat nickname.

6, isn't this all a bit over the top? especially considering the type of information that the mudcat holds on me (favourite colour, hobbies etc)


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