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Anonymity versus openness of identity in forums

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  • Sun, Dec 14, 2008 - 10:03pm

    #36

    jrf29

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 18 2008

    Posts: 166

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    Re: Anonymity versus openness of identity in forums

I think that there are two larger issues that we might want to think about here.  First, simple messages can become very entangled when people begin professing their personal "offendedness" to something or other.  I’m not sure I know what that word is supposed to mean.  I think it means "I don’t like what you’re saying, and therefore I don’t want to hear you say it."  This, combined with a conception that an individual is somehow personally responsible for the way others react to what they say, can result in bitter recriminations.  If everybody simply accepted that other people are entitled to their ideas, and that being "offended" is your own personal emotional problem, things might go more soothly. 

Everybody has an absolute personal responsibility to be civil, and to abide by standards of verbal expression which are gentlemanly (or ladylike, as the case may be).  That is everbody’s own job.  However, if something that Erik (or somebody else) says in a respectful manner happens to bother another person, well that’s too bad.  If we strip away feelings of emotional entitlement, we end up with a very simple, and quite positive message that I think most people can agree on: 

"Anonymity is respected, but it is recognized that it takes courage to reveal one’s true name and face, and kudos to those who do."

An interesting issue for conversation, but certainly not explosive by itself.

Secondly, I have never heard of the issue of anonymity being debated so hotly on a website before.  Usually anonymity is taken for granted on the web.  The fact that this issue is even taken seriously here shows how strong the Crash Course community is.  On any other website, the mere idea of shedding anonymity would be simply absurd.  That the subject strikes a nerve on this website shows that this community takes itself far, far more seriously than most.  And that makes me feel good.

 

  • Sun, Dec 14, 2008 - 10:04pm

    #37

    Ray Hewitt

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 05 2008

    Posts: 277

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    Re: Anonymity versus openness of identity in forums

Chris Kresser said:

But I don’t feel good about some of the interactions we’ve had and I regret resopnding the way that I did in those cases.

I have a talent for pissing people off as Krogoth will testify. It comes with my style of writing. I could tell  you many similar stories where I used to post on drudge.com. Even during my letters-to-the-editor days, I used to enrage people. So be warned. There may be other occassions where I’ll have you saying things you’ll later regret. Smile

  • Sun, Dec 14, 2008 - 10:14pm

    #38

    Erik T.

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    Joined: Aug 05 2008

    Posts: 213

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    Re: Anonymity versus openness of identity in forums

[quote=jrf29]

If everybody simply accepted that other people are entitled to their
ideas, and that being "offended" is your own personal emotional
problem, things might go more soothly.

[/quote]

I’m deeply offended by that statement and demand that you retract it immediately!!!

Just kidding :-)… But seriously, I don’t think you possibly could have said it any better.

Something I’ve learned about myself from this whole exchange is that my ability to separate out emotion from objectivity is very different (for me at least) in a project like this as opposed to working in a business enterprise.

In business you learn that emotional reactions just don’t help situations, and that it’s always best to check your emotions at the door and deal with people and situations in objective terms. But my whole reason for doing this work is deeply emotional. The reason I do this is that I have grave concerns about the direction the country I love is headed, and I am very troubled by how easily so many of our citizens are willing to let go of their rights and freedoms.

What I now realize is that because my motivation for being here is driven entirely from my own emotional feelings about this, I find myself in a more emotional headspace than I would be in a business venture. I need to learn to be better at remembering the lesson that when dealing with situations and people, non-emotional, objective, logic-based decision making is always best.

Erik

 

  • Sun, Dec 14, 2008 - 11:33pm

    #39

    Michael Höhne

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Nov 16 2008

    Posts: 57

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    Re: Anonymity versus openness of identity in forums

Secondly, I have never heard of the issue of anonymity being debated so hotly on a website before.  Usually anonymity is taken for granted on the web.  The fact that this issue is even taken seriously here shows how strong the Crash Course community is.  On any other website, the mere idea of shedding anonymity would be simply absurd.  That the subject strikes a nerve on this website shows that this community takes itself far, far more seriously than most.  And that makes me feel good.

This is one of the best statements I’ve heard so far and I really enjoy seeing more and more names and pictures here.

  • Sun, Dec 14, 2008 - 11:59pm

    #40

    pir8don

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Oct 01 2008

    Posts: 148

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    Re: Anonymity versus openness of identity in forums

I honestly didn’t think anyone cared who I am. Now you’ve all made me feel like the old hippy I am. I would just love to be at the "coming out" party.

Don

  • Mon, Dec 15, 2008 - 12:44am

    #51
    Headless

    Headless

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    Re: Heroes in Action: Michael Höhne

[quote] Michael said: "The one thing that many reader may not recognize is the fact that if millions know what’s going on instead of thousands, then there is no way of controlling the message anymore. You can’t jail millions of people for telling what they think." [/quote]

Exactly Michael. And having my real name and picture on a website is not going to change the rate of increase in those "joining" the struggle. In fact, physical appearances often evoke all that mental baggage filled with costumes and roles for each person one encounters; and these costumes and roles often overwhelm the reality of the person encountered–at least until you get to know him or her.

Strangely enough, I find the thought of discovering what everyone looks like exciting; and that is a rather strange paradox for me, since as a teacher, I have pretty much gotten to the point of completely disregarding appearance (since academic performance and physical appearance have absolutely no correlation, in my experience).

So will I think of any of you differently when I see your pictures? I don’t think so. Thus, I’ll write off my "excitement" as mere curiosity. How about you? Can you honestly say you aren’t affected by a person’s appearance? Will the New Comers to this site be more likely to "listen" to our words, or do we run the risk of dragging out their baggage and hindering our message?

Lastly, I sure hope jdb 123 is way off base in his 3-step assessment of the motivation for the existence of this site (post 51), but it seems like a reasonable–harsh, perhaps–characterization of events.

Michael,
I think you will understand if I withhold my thanks until this site has proven to be a positive force in the healing of the U.S. government. Given the extent of the deception going around, maybe you can understand my reticence.

  • Mon, Dec 15, 2008 - 12:55am

    #41
    Brandon

    Brandon

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Oct 06 2008

    Posts: 56

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    Re: Anonymity versus openness of identity in forums

[quote=jrf29]

Secondly, I have never heard of the issue of anonymity being debated so hotly on a website before.  Usually anonymity is taken for granted on the web.  The fact that this issue is even taken seriously here shows how strong the Crash Course community is.  On any other website, the mere idea of shedding anonymity would be simply absurd.

[/quote]

Right on.  I’ve been reading frantically for a couple hours now, and my wife asked about it as it was obvious I was engrossed. I tried to explain that I have never seen a discussion like this about using real names and photos in any forum I’ve participated in, and that this absolutely blows my mind (in a good way) that it is being seriously debated…so much great discussion and brutal honesty (yet mostly reasonable) going on from everybody…absolutely fantastic…unlike any other corner of the internet I’ve been to.

This came at a time when I was thinking about how amazing it is, not that Chris made the effort to create the CC (which is amazing), but that he takes the responsibility to attach his name to it.  That’s powerful and easy to under-appreciate, at least for me.

It also came on the heels of a time when I was pushing my workplace to use real photos in a client-relations/project management system we use…how amazingly timed for me personally.

Of course, working with clients in a private system is small potatoes compared to this discussion (though it wasn’t small to some I work with).  I’m still digesting the discussion here and finding where I land personally, but I can’t tell you all how much I appreciate this discussion, and the honesty and reason that has occured here.

Also, consider this one more vote for Krogoth to stick around from a fairly new member to this website.  Although this discussion had some unfortunate turns, and perhaps an unfortunate beginning (as far as not being the intended topic), that’s how real life goes, and it may not have been started without him.  And from a selfish stand point, I got a lot out of this discussion, though some have stated that they find it irrelevent (and I can understand that feeling, too).

  • Mon, Dec 15, 2008 - 12:58am

    #42
    Futuo

    Futuo

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    Posts: 131

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    Re: Anonymity versus openness of identity in forums

This thread has made me smile. It’s encouraging to see this sense of tight-knit community prevail. That being said, i’ll try to find a reasonable picture to join the party =] I feel like everyone here is respectful and kind enough to not disregard my opinion when you realize that i’m still in high school…

  • Mon, Dec 15, 2008 - 01:17am

    #43
    Brainless

    Brainless

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    Re: Anonymity versus openness of identity in forums

Identity stealing is my sole reason to not use my real name in public forums.

 

  • Mon, Dec 15, 2008 - 01:23am

    #44
    switters

    switters

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    Re: Anonymity versus openness of identity in forums

I get the sense that this discussion has catalyzed a significant transformation in the CM.com community.  A maturation or coming of age, if you will.  It’s very exciting.

Brainless: my identity has been stolen twice on the Internet, and until very recently (after the thefts) I had never used my real name on public forums.  In both cases they got it by hacking into fairly large retail or e-commerce sites and stealing the credit card information.  As Chris pointed out, you’re not really safe when you use the Internet no matter what name or alias you choose.

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