on online anonymity and its price

I’ve been thinking about the issue of anonymity as I wade more frequently into the comments tributaries that grow from the various rivers of the blogosphere. Anonymity provides an essential shield for people in a world where stalking and retribution are commonplace and not effectively curtailed.

Unlike many free speech absolutists, though, I’m not comfortable when enabling  criminal behaviour (threats of sexualized violence, assault and battery, and murder) is the price for protecting the vulnerable. Some big rivers in the blogosphere carry some particularly noxious pollution on strong currents, saying that the targets of these threats, largely women, need to get tough enough skin. And take it. Perhaps the reason women bleed when struck is another weak skin issue.

I don’t propose to have an answer to the anonymity issue. I do know that condoning threats and actions of violence, especially sexualized violence, is not an acceptable compromise. Joan Walsh does a better job than I of putting anger, frustration and exhaustion over this issue into words, though the comments devolve into chest-beating defensive blather.

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Filed under accountability, ambivalence, anonymity, Blogging, disconnect, Feminism, men, misogyny, protection, sexual harrassment, stalking, surveillance, violence, violence against women

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