By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

More on anonymous comments

Lowell blogger Richard Howe wrote a post last summer urging his anonymous commenters to identify themselves. He sent me an e-mail yesterday, and said that though he didn’t have much success, he does think the conversation at his site became more civil. Here’s an excerpt from what he wrote last July:

I’ve often said that local blogs are the modern day equivalent of the neighborhood coffee shop where everyone gathered to talk politics. These intensely local gatherings, duplicated hundreds of times around the city, provided a solid foundation for democracy at its most basic level.

But when neighbors gathered at the coffee shop to talk politics, they didn’t wear bags over their heads to mask their identities. In the same way, those who stay anonymous online are not making a positive contribution to this vitally important community building function of local blogs.

Well worth reading in full.

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A big night for my old friends at the Phoenix


Talking back in real time


  1. L.K. Collins

    Why are you defending you decision?

    Unsure that it was the correct one?

    You made the decision, no need to agonize further.

    However, if you chose go back on it, you owe those of us who went along with you a distinct apology.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @L.K.: Peter Porcupine was a special case. I can think of no one else who falls into his or her category.

      I have no doubt I made the correct decision. But if I change my mind six months from now, I’ll do so without apology.

  2. L.K. Collins

    Then why do you continue to give reasons for your making the choice? There should be no need to continue to bolster your position.

    In six months, this issue will be moot. But a change will require a certain amount of explanation or you may justifiably accused of not considering all aspects in thhier poper lights in the first place.

    Or using words used to describe a certain Massachusetts politician: Flip, flop, flip, flop.

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