Searching for a reason why someone should choose anonymity and post malicious content as a response to an existing idea, video or story, has me asking, “What is the motivation?” Could the reason be that perhaps the anonymous responder is trying to persuade the creator of the original piece to change their stand? Or is it just a miserable person posing under the cloak of anonymity?

            Anonymity does have a purpose. The local newspaper argued the idea that anonymous comments were an important part of the commenting process. Their reasoning, I believe, had more to do with sharing an idea versus being caught up in the name of the commenter. However ,the newspaper recently changed their policy as too many comments were rude and disrespectful. I was surprised that the newspaper allowed people to comment on stories of tragedy, often resulting in terrible assumptions concerning the article topic. Bad manners became the norm for many of the commentators. Anonymous was a coward.

            Now to post a comment, one has to have a Face book page and it links directly to your Face book page. No more anonymous comments allowed. I believe this allows for the commenting person to be held accountable. This is good, however, I always post my name whenever commenting. I am not too keen on having a direct link to my Face book page whenever I choose to comment, so as a result, I comment less. I post enough on Face book without each story for which I post a response, also becoming part of my page. This surely benefits the newspaper each time a link to Face book is posted.

            Anonymity did work for Thomas Paine when he authored Common Sense. He wrote it anonymously with the main purpose of sharing his ideas and reasoning behind the Colonies breaking from England. He did not want his political affiliation to interfere with spreading his ideas. It was powerful. I suppose on the other hand, he may have been marked a traitor for printing this information in the first place. That would be a good choice for the use of anonymity.

            Virginia Woolf coined the term, ‘Anonymous was a Woman’ in A Room of One’s Own [1929]. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, everything was made by hand by men and women. This refers to the handiwork often made by women from clothing to bedding, to lace, to samplers, much of which was never signed. All that is left of their handiwork are the articles they made.

            I have been thinking about anonymity since I was told by one of my sons that he has been getting a lot of hateful comments on his You tube page. Mind you, his videos are quite raucous, some funny and some just CD reviews. I have to wonder about what type of person posts a hateful despicable comment. Why would they take the time to do this? The only conclusion I have is perhaps they dislike the fact that someone has a disability, or maybe that a person is over weight, or maybe someone is not one of the beautiful people who adorn every magazine at the checkout counter. Most of all I have to consider that maybe they are just a so unhappy in their own lives that they want to spread misery. That is sad. 
            So instead of getting upset by this behavior, maybe it is just best to keep them in our good thoughts because maybe they never had anyone care about them. Perhaps they never were taught that if you cannot say something nice, then don’t say it at all. So like everything in life, it is best to control our reaction versus trying to control something for which we have no control.

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