Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Anonymous

WARNING: Rant alert! *** Rant alert! *** Rant alert!


Dear Commenter(s),

I may not know who you are--at least, not by name anyway, but you know who you are. You're one of those people who lurks around the blogosphere. You find blogs you like and read frequently, yet you continue to lurk. One day, you read something on one of your favorite blogs and it strikes a chord with you, so you decide to post a comment. But you choose to do it "Anonymously." Without name, country, or portfolio. And most often, when you comment anonymously, you do it because you want to take a cheap shot and you don't want others to know who you are or come back at you with a retort.

I loathe anonymous commenters.

Okay, that's strong. I forgive those who comment anonymously if what they're sharing is personal and they might not want the whole blogoverse to know who they are because they don't want Aunt Millie accidentally finding out they've joined the Democratic Party or come out as a purple dinosaur with green spots or been previously molested by the family's favorite parish priest or whatever. Those kind of anonymous comments are fine. I respect that. I've even left anonymous comments like that myself when I didn't want everybody and their dog to know about me personally as much as I just wanted to make a point or share a perspective I felt was needed. Having said that, note to Aunt Millie: I'm a purple dinosaur with green spots!

And when I've disagreed with a blogger's entry--like the young woman who wrote about spending $200 on a pair of jeans and I commented that I thought that was excessive or the woman who queried whether tipping your newspaper carrier is appropriate when the service is crappy and I gave a rundown of how hard it is to be a newspaper carrier--I've done it openly and using either my Real Name (Janet M Kincaid or JMK) or my Blogger Name (DC Rush Hour) with a link to my blog. Perhaps that makes me a fool and I've certainly had bloggers come back at me with often justified, "fuck off" or "mind your own damn business" responses, but I've engaged their commentary openly and haven't hidden my retorts behind anonymous comments.

In that sense, I loathe anonymous comments.

Let me give you two examples. Several weeks ago, I wrote about Marlene Dietrich and mistakenly stated that she was a member of the Nazi Party. My bad. My very, very, very bad. Someone--let's call them, oh, I don't know, "Anonymous"--commented on my blog and ripped me a new one, then closed with "Get your facts straight!" Please note "Anonymous" that I did not approve and post your comment for two reasons: first, because you commented anonymously and second, because you used a shitty, snotty tone. If, on the other hand, you had commented and said something like, "Actually Dietrich fought against the Nazi Party. Here's a link. Just thought you'd want to know" I might have posted that, even if you'd commented anonymously.

As another example, back in December, I received a postcard of Eiger in Grindelwald from friends in Switzerland. Silly me, I couldn't see the forest for the trees and thought "Eiger" was a German word. I searched in vain in all my German dictionaries to find the definition and even said so on my blog. Fortunately, Sister Mary Lisa commented and said, "Eiger is actually a town in Switzerland. Just thought you'd like to know." She did it in a kind, forthright manner, and she used her name. The result: I fixed my blog accordingly. (And, I meant to post her comment pointing out my error, but accidentally deleted it when I went to moderate my comments that day. Nevertheless, thank you, SML, for showing me the forest.)


There you have it. If you're going to post comments on my blog, please do it openly and honestly. If you're going to post anonymously, be tactful or share something relevant. But if you're going to be snarky and snide, don't bother unless you're willing to sign your name to it.

Sincerely,

Janet M Kincaid

15 comments:

Adriana Velez said...

Uggg, I hate the anonymous comments, too. I haven't gotten any hostile ones, but I have gotten a couple of passive-aggressive ones. Passive agressive and anonymous kind of go together well, don't they.

Get a spine or keep it to yourself, Anonymous!

Sister Mary Lisa said...

OK, Janet. I switched to Blogger Beta this morning in a weak moment of being tired of having my profile and blogroll missing for half an hour....

and over half the comments over on my posts are now ANONYMOUS.

What?! Damn.
Sucks. Nobody told me of this little consequence of switching. Nobody.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Eiger is the name of the mountain on the postcard, Grindelwald is the town at the base of the mountain.

An Anonymous Swizzie ;-)

Anonymous said...

(Janet, delete my previous comment, the joke got messed up!)

I wanted to say, that I love Anonymous so far, since they in my case have only been family and friends. But then, like you said, they're interested and constructive in their remarks.

And of course I comment as Anonymous, the post totally demands it!

/Genilimaa

JMK said...

Adriana: Ooooh. I don't know which is worse--hostile or PA. I think I'd rather have hostile, because at least that's honest. PA is so... PA.

SML: Bizarre... And so ironic in it's timing! I wonder why NEW Blogger did that to your commenters? Still, I'm finding that I'm enjoying NEW Blogger. What do you think of it, aside from the comment snafu?

Anon.: Well, see, there I go again. Of course it would be the name of the mountain! I was just so excited to get a postcard from you guys (and which I still need to reciprocate) that I thought it was one of those cards that throws a verb or adjective out there to express whatever. Sort of like "Graz Hats" or "Wunderbar!" "EIGER!!" Oh well. Thanks for the clarification.

Anon. Too: First comment duly deleted, second comment posted. And, I guess the joke is on me, eh? ;-)

Sylvia said...

This is why I love LiveJournal! You can disable comments! You can block anonymous comments! You can block access to your entries!

Liseysmom said...

Good Lord, for a second I thought - why the hell does she have Black Aggie on her blog? Is she TRYING to creep me out??

And for those not from 'round here - http://www.prairieghosts.com/druidridge.html

JMK said...

Sylvia: Turns out, I've learned, I can do the same on Blogger. I just haven't. Sometimes, anonymous comments are appropriate for the reasons I outlined.

Lisey's Mom: Okay, I'm going to ask the dumb question: who's Black Aggie?

Liseysmom said...

I think Black Aggie is probably more of a Baltimore thing. But she's currently residing in DC. If you go to wikipedia or google "Black Aggie", you should find her.

JMK said...

Lisey's Mom: Ah. I should have cited the source of the statue photo in my blog entry. Apparently it's monument to Anonymus--the "ghost scribe." I guess this is outside Budapest, Hungary...

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Well, to answer your question on what I think of Beta so far....

I hate how I forget to copy my comments before I hit publish, and then it flips me to another screen to log in using my google password, and I lose my comment.

I haven't figured out labels and whatnot yet, to see if that'll be cool or not. I think it might be.

And I HATE having so many previous comments suddenly anonymous. That bites the big one. It did it on numerous posts.

JMK said...

Hm. It does get better. I've actually been surprised at how much I like NEW Blogger. Although, I should probably rethink my "Labels." I seem to have gone Label Crazy and have WAY too many categories. Of course, the problem could be that I don't focus on a few specific topics and I write about everything and nothing.

verniciousknids said...

I have the same "label madness"...I'm using them more as tags though, so it's not a big deal.

I enjoyed your rant too!

Holly said...

I don't like anonymous comments--getting or leaving them. But for some reason the new Blogger doesn't provide a link to my blog, even though I dutifully type it in every time I leave a comment. I may have to go back to commenting with my blogger identity, since I do have one.... it's just kind of an alter-ego I don't like to use most of the time.

JMK said...

Holly: Do you comment as "Other"? I think if you choose that option, it should let you leave a URL. There are some aspects of NEW Blogger that are quite nice, but commenting has proven to be the bane of many people's blogging experience.