Saturday, November 16, 2013

Hoover's Anonymity Connundrum

Kevin Hoover, over at the Mad River Union, tells a tale of someone submitting a letter to his paper under a false name. When he called her on the phone to verify identity she claimed to have good reason for using a phony name. He wonders how to deal with a supposedly good reason for anonymity when policy is to require writers use their real name.

I like his thinking and some of those that commented on the story. Specifically, Eric Kirk and MOLA, who together seem to come up with a good compromise: Make an exception to the full identification requirement but make note of that in the attribution of the letter. One problem with that, as another commentator pointed out, is then other writers might lie about their situation to take advantage of the exception.

I'm skeptical of most arguments I've read or heard for allowing anonymous letters or comments. Maybe the opinions of some who are afraid to be identified might be left out of the mix. Oh well. Seems to me if their opinion is presented in a fair and non- belligerent manner, they have nothing to worry about.

I've been spouting opinion here- sometimes provocatively- since 2005. I've yet to have been threatened. Insulted? Sure, but no threats. I just don't understand the fear some have of letting their opinion be known. A guy I used to work for is a good example. I told his story here years ago:

I actually wasn't working for the guy anymore, but we'd bumped into each other since, exchanged e-mail addresses and had been chatting a bit here and there on various subjects, including politics. I'd written a letter to the Times- Standard, the subject of which escapes me now. It was provocative in that it went against some strong opinions of the time.

The guy sent me an e-mail the day after it was published: "Fred, I liked your letter to the paper, but why did you use your own name?". I replied, "Because I wrote it.".


At 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wont have to worry about hoover much longer. Mad river union wont be around long. Hoovers is a P.O.S and the people with the money sure and hell are not buying his crap. Mad River Union will go the way of the eye soon enough. Who ever was stupid enough to team up with hoover must have had a screw loose. Was just starting to read Mckinleyville paper till hoover became part of it. Now i would never no matter what topic is open up anything from MadRiver Union. and im not alone. if you have a counter on there page there isnt many clicking on it.

At 11:27 AM, Blogger Queen of the Night said...

Your literacy is as impressive as your logic.

At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good call, "Queen"!
Well said.


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