Recently, a couple of emails have come across our transom, inquiring as to the MAOS Commenting Policy … in particular, folks are worried about “being found out, as the retribution would be swift.”
Let’s talk about that policy.
- Even with a court order, MAOS would fight tooth and nail the disclosure of our user’s information.
- For the tinfoil crowd, here’s some free IT advice, get a burner email account (Gmail, Yahoo, etc). Use HideMyAss to well, hide your ass behind a VPN.
- Personally, we believe that’s overkill. Just use a fake name and email address, and you’re good to go.
- We will never, ever release your name.
- No threats of violence, no private information, and no bitching at me (fuck off, it’s my blog).
- It’s the wild wild west. Grow a thick fucking skin.
Let’s talk about vicious online commentary.
We’re different here at MAOS — than say the Broward BullDog (whom I admire).
I believe the intent of Dan Christensen’s policy, as with many other organizations, is always the same: to make it possible for substantive discussion to occur in comments threads, unimpeded by a constant flow of illiterate and often mindlessly provocative brain farts, many of them TYPED IN CAPITAL LETTERS and punctuated with childish ad hominem attacks.
The logic behind this cleanup effort is basic, its animating truth self-evident: If a person’s real name and/or ISP address were emblazoned across the top of every comment he or she left, the Internet would become more sane, wise and decent overnight.
Ain’t fucking happenin’.
Personally I find anonymous comments — all of them, even the written equivalent of high-speed drive-by shootings — serve a useful function. They show us what the species is really like: the full spectrum of human behavior, not just the part that we find reassuring and enlightening.
The protective force field of anonymity — or pseudonymity — brings out the worst in some people. They say things they would never say in the presence of flesh-and-blood human beings.
It’s impossible for anyone who reads unmoderated comments threads on large websites to argue that racism, sexism or anti-Semitism are no longer problems in America, or that the educational system is not as bad as people say or that deep down most people are good at heart. Unmoderated comments threads are X-rays of the reptilian brain — indicators of the dark stuff that rattles around in the id and that would get blurted out in the home or workplace routinely if the superego didn’t intervene. Mel Gibson’s rants are no more ugly than sentiments that get expressed thousands of times a day all over the Internet.