While anonymity has been equated with lack of authenticity and cowardice, Poole said, “I think that’s totally wrong. Anonymity is authenticity.” Only in the safety of anonymity, he argued, can people play in the most honest way.
Christopher Poole via Erica Noane
technoutopianism. I’m not a teenager anymore. I’ve changed, but in so many ways you haven’t—and I see you more clearly now… you’re selfish. You never really wanted what was best for me, or for any of the rest of us; you wanted deregulation and radical individualism, wanted us out of your way so you could take the whole world—the Whole Earth—for your playground. Hawai’i is for lovers, and your shiny silver future was only for a network of the already privileged and powerful. You got a taste of “the Long Boom”; we got “likes” and LOLcats.
Posted December 5, 2012on:
Since way before my first big project at openDemocracy.net I’ve been interested in the line. Separating ‘author’ and reader, broadcaster and receiver, powerful and powerlesser. In the physical world innovators are moving to challenge the authority / audience divide also, to “turn museums into social, participatory organisations – with all the challenges this entails.”
In online forums, we write for positive and negative response, for the conversation, for the pursuit of deeper understanding, for the feedback we get and the resulting whole. I love this line on Gransnet which sums it up neatly:
it isn’t my thread. Once I’ve pressed the “post message” button, it belongs to everyone on gransnet
This sentiment is endlessly difficult to sell or even explain to those whose livelihoods have depended on the commodification of information, ideas and opinion. As the recent Leveson report has shown, the advent of the industrial press has led to cultural particularities both positive and negative, but ultimately a participatory attitude is hard to adopt, by people below and above the line(PDF), when equity is not appreciated or sought.
While there is any inbalance of financial and reputational consequences for what is written, the public conversation cannot be the best, most inclusive, most honest version of itself. But we can attempt to aid it in this direction, starting with:
- Payment for both starting and continuing the conversation
- Pseudonymity so that one participating individual’s reputational and legal liability does not outweigh the others
- A standard for clear and attributable apologies / corrections for inaccuracies and mistakes by those on any side of any lines