How to Avoid a Blogosphere Scandal: No Sockpuppetry!

Hey, RWN readers. I’m guest-blogging for John today. Hope you enjoy my scribblings. – La Shawn Barber

I’m not a big fan of the anonymous (or pseudonymous) blogger or commenter.

I blog under my name, spreading controversial ideas and unorthodox opinions that people like me usually don’t write about or utter in public.

Every now and then something I write generates a wave of dissent throughout the blogosphere. A couple of weeks ago, I endured the “wrath” of homosexual bloggers and commenters because I dared use the word homosexual in a less than favorable context. I used to think black liberal dissenters were the worst sort. I was wrong on so many levels. Tolerance is a word entirely devoid of meaning in this PC age, and those demanding it of others the loudest don’t practice it themselves. Hypocrisy and irony come to mind.

Last year I was called “anti-Catholic” because I made biblical assertions in reference to the recently departed Roman Catholic pope (at the request of Catholic readers, ironically), and several bloggers “de-linked” me. And the usual “self-hater,” “race traitor” rhetoric, almost always sent by people using obviously phony names, appears in my inbox from time to time, though less frequently than it used to.

It takes nerve to write what I write and use my real name online, a virtual world inhabited by all sorts, including perverts, maniacs, and just plain old bored fools who get off cyber-harassing others. Don’t take it personally, anonymous bloggers and commenters, but my online experiences have biased me against anonymity, especially from commenters who do nothing but criticize my views.

For these and other reasons, I admire people who blog under their real names. But I understand why some don’t or can’t use their real names. Perhaps they’re whistleblowing employees trying to expose nefarious acts and avoid reprisal at the same time. Others may be concerned about their physical safety or worried that an idiot scoundrel will post their home addresses on the web. Some bloggers use their blogs as online journals, writing about their jobs, relationships, and other issues, and don’t want to be fired or hurt friends and family.

Although I believe people should stand behind what they say, write, and do with their real names, there are exceptions, of course. But one thing that’s unacceptable is taking on a different persona with the intent to deceive.

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