Random Thoughts and Musings by moi

Musings by a feisty, opinionated Deaf gal who wants nothing but the best for her community and her people

samedi 2 septembre 2006

To Be or Not To Be?

Anonymous, that is. DeafBlogLand is populated with writers/signers as well as readers/viewers who sometimes comment. Some of us citizens of DeafBlogLand have elected to publicly reveal our identities, while others of us have elected to pen our thoughts, reactions, and comments under pseudonyms. There has recently been some talk about whether or not pseudonyms are good for DeafBlogLand.

I have thought a lot about this question for various reasons. People who know me know that I have no problem with owning my opinions and perspective. I’m quite open about my beliefs and I do not hide my standpoint from others. When I first started blogging on my private blog, I chose to hide my identity because I work at a school for the Deaf. I did not want my comments to be used against me, and that would be unfair because my opinions and beliefs have absolutely no bearing on my job performance nor on my contacts with my students. But the risk was and still is there.

Over time, it became clear that some citizens of DeafBlogLand react to whatever writers and readers say based on who they are. Some perspectives were dismissed because they were held by a person who graduated from somewhere other than Gallaudet. Others were dismissed because they were held by someone who comes from Deaf parents. There are more examples. That took me by surprise and it gave me pause.

When I launched my public blog and allowed it to be syndicated, I had to make the decision all over again whether or not I wanted to reveal my identity. To make this decision, I had to look at why I was launching my public blog. I launched my public blog so I could contribute to the global discourse in the Deaf community, to respond to others, and to allow others to respond to me, whatever their opinion is on my contribution. I also wanted a blog separate from my private one since my private one is where I write about a wider variety of topics, and yes, I write there a lot more than I write here. I realized that if I revealed my identity, my contribution would be colored by who I am, who my friends are, who my family is, where I live, and where I work. That made the choice clear to me. Anonymity is the only way to go at this point if I want my thoughts to be taken at face value.

When people challenge others to reveal themselves or argue that we should do away with anonymity, we need to consider whether or not DeafBlogLand provides a safe place to do that and whether or not thoughts are able to be taken at face value without judgement. Are we there yet? At this point, my answer is no, we are not. I would love to reveal who I am because I have nothing to hide and because openness is a healthy thing. But I believe that to do so, unfortunately, would diminish what this site can contribute to the dialogue right now. Don’t get me wrong. I admire those of you who have put your names and faces out there. Thank you.

So, Teeming Millions, what do YOU think? What is your perspective, and what are your arguments for or against anonymity in DeafBlogLand?


  • At 22:48, Anonymous in favor of freedom of reporting said…

    Yes, sometimes it is better for certain bloggers to use pseudonyms. Those who do not use pseudonyms often restrict expressing their opinions.

    I also believe that in the deaf world, many are not ready for freedom of reporting, in a sense of journalism. What some deaf people don't understand the fine line between cyberbullying and freedom of reporting.

    Those who accuse others of cyberbullying do restrict certain deaf people in freedom of expression and reporting.

  • At 03:36, Blogger Otto Weininger said…

    "...The man who publishes and edits an article written by an anonymous critic should be held as immediately responsible for it as if he had written it himself; just as one holds a manager responsible for bad work done by his workmen. In this way the fellow would be treated as he deserves to be—namely, without any ceremony.

    An anonymous writer is a literary fraud against whom one should immediately cry out, “Wretch, if you do not wish to admit what it is you say against other people, hold your slanderous tongue.”

    An anonymous criticism carries no more weight than an anonymous letter, and should therefore be looked upon with equal mistrust. Or do we wish to accept the assumed name of a man, who in reality represents a société anonyme, as a guarantee for the veracity of his friends?"
    - by Arthur Schopenhauer, On Authorship and Style

  • At 22:16, Anonymous Jt said…

    Unfortunately, I feel that anonymous (and malicious) postings do much greater harm than those simply wishing to protect their identities. Hence, my strong preference for all to stop hiding behind their cool aliases. I also feel that it's harder to "attack" a real name- but then again, I've certainly seen examples just to that very contrary. And I have, from time to time, used pseudonyms.

    And believe me, it's not only deaf people- I see gross abuse of journalism "out there in the hearing world", too. Everywhere. The media always has you believing one thing when it's really something else.

    I wholeheartedly agree with Otto Weininger's posted quotes.

  • At 18:40, Blogger moi said…

    Thanks for your input! I've been hearing about half for anonymity and half against outside of DeafBlogLand too, so I guess it's a mixed bag. All of your perspectives were certainly food for thought. Thank you!

  • At 20:07, Anonymous Curious Eyes said…

    It's taken me a while to mull over this question, pro and con. Personally, I love being anonymous... it's like going to a masquerade ball where nobody knows who you are, so they have to take you as your are, and not what they THINK you are. I like feeling that bloggers think about the issues I raise, and are not prejudiced about my ideas because of my history, if I have one, or my background, if they know it. On the other hand, I like knowing who some of the Deaf bloggers are, especially if I highly esteem them ... it makes me identify with them, and experience that affinity of being Deaf together.

  • At 21:10, Blogger moi said…

    I agree with you, curious eyes. It's a real mixed bag.


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