Thursday, January 17, 2013

No one needs to know your name on a blog Part 2

Cross Currents is infamous for they way in which it's writers manage their comment boards. Often critical remarks are not published, or held back until after interest in the conversation has evaporated. One of its contributors refuses to allow comments on his posts at all, and recently the blog's creator wrote a post arguing against the use of pseudonyms on the grounds that:

...anonymity shields these writers from self-reflection, humility, and careful judgment.
There are a few things wrong with this statement. 

First, plenty of non-anonymous writers are similarly incapable of "self-reflection, humility, and careful judgment." Indeed, some of them write for Cross Currents. Using your name does not guarantee that that your writing will suddenly become measured and mature. One has very little to do with the other.

Second, what magical formula does Cross Currents use to determine the difference between pseudonyms and real names? Ok, some names like "Bray of Fundie" are obviously fake, but others aren't. For years, I thought "Chaim Grossferstant" was Bray's real name. Turns out, its just another one of his aliases. There are lots of generic names: Yaakov Shwartz. Chaim Rosenberg. Lazar Ginsburg - how will Cross Currents know which are real, and which are pseudonyms? And because you can't tell the difference between a real Chaim Shwartz and a fake Chaim Shwartz why bother caring? Focus on the comment instead.

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