When everyone’s buzzing about blogger anonymity, it becomes an anonymous blogger to weigh in (thanks for the shout-out, Old Hag). Anonymity’s detractors make their cases this week at Gothamist, which declares in an impressively thoroughgoing spirit of no-fun,
Gothamist does not approve of anonymous blogging: We believe all bloggers should stand behind their posts with their real names. If you can’t do that, you shouldn’t be blogging.
And at Salon, which runs a piece that’s conveniently excerpted here by Lizzie so that you can bypass the premium-access rigmarole:
It takes a certain courage to shoot half-cocked into the media landscape like that. Or does it? [Atrios, TMFTML] and other bloggers have made names for themselves by having no names at all–and by using the safety and security of their secret identities to spread gossip, make accusations and levy the most vicious of insults with impunity.
My impulse is to respond to these charges as a reader first and blogger second. As a reader, my response is much like Maud’s. I like the anonymously written blogs I read, and in many cases the anonymity of the blogger contributes to the effect. I appreciate the sheer variety of voices, styles, and approaches of the blogs I visit every day, and for those bloggers who are anonymous to identify themselves would be a step in the direction of flattening things out–perish the thought.
Many of the commenters at Gothamist rush valiantly to the defense of anonymous bloggers by pointing out the perils of blogging at work and the urgency of keeping oneself employed, in the current economy especially. All true enough. But this seems to me a secondary defense whose mobilization grants the basic premise that anonymous blogging would be wrong under ideal circumstances. As an addicted blog reader with several favorites who choose anonymity, I can’t, won’t, and don’t grant that.