Do you send anonymous letters? Do you make anonymous phone calls to people? Do you leave abusive messages on their answerphone? Is your name Russell Brand or Jonathan Ross?
I hope the answer to all these questions is no. And I trust you would disapprove of anyone who did this.
Now let me phrase it differently. Do you post anonymous, or pseudonymous, comments on blogs? Have any of these comments ever been abusive, either of the blogger or of someone else?
Now let me ask a final question. What is the difference between you and the anonymous letter writer or telephone-caller?
One of the great sadnesses of the internet is that early on a slightly 'nerdy' culture of using nicknames - Gandalf, the Spamster or whatever - has become a very pernicious practice of people simply concealing their identity in ways which, if they were applied to other media, might result in legal action if the person were caught.
To be on the receiving end of anonymous abuse is always unpleasant. Abuse is one thing, anonymity is another, because there is a sense of vulnerability. It reminds me, personally, of the one time I was burgled. It wasn't the loss of a few bits and pieces that bothered me, it was the loss of security. Someone had violated my space, and I had no way of knowing who it was or how to prevent them simply coming back and doing it again.
Do the anonymous commenters realize this? And if theyt do, why do they it?
Let us call a spade. Abuse is evil. Anonymous abuse is even more so.
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