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"Internet Anonymity is as Destructive as Internet Porn"

Posted Sep 14 2008 3:47pm

(Posted by Patrick Sullivan Jr.)

Dear Anonymous, get a name!

I just read Internet Anonymity is as Destructive as Internet Porn, by conservative writer, radio talk show host, and the voice of Jigsaw Magnesium, Dennis Prager.

Whenever people lament aspects of the Internet, they are most likely to lament the net's ubiquity of pornography. Only God knows, for example, how many kids, searching for some government information, typed in "whitehouse.com" only to be greeted by pornographic images (happily, the website changed hands in 2004). It is almost impossible to completely avoid such imagery even with filtering programs.

But there is something at least as awful -- and arguably more destructive -- that permeates the Internet: the lies, vitriol, obscenities and ad hominem attacks made by anonymous individuals on almost every website that deals with public issues.

[...]

Being identifiable breeds responsibility; anonymity breeds irresponsibility.

[...]

Some might argue that anonymity enables people to more freely express their thoughts. But this is not true. Anonymity only enables people to more freely express their feelings. Anonymity values feelings over thought, and immediate expression over thoughtful reflection.

[...] I doubt I am alone in reading fewer and fewer comments sections because of the low level of so many of the postings. Just as bad money chases away good money, moronic postings chase away intelligent ones.

[...] But there is an easy fix, and websites owe it to society to use it. Just ban anonymous postings.

I couldn't agree more with Dennis' take.

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