Anonymous Doesn’t Count

The age of anonymity is upon us. We lurk on the internet; we can be anybody or nobody. But the anonymity of the internet is not about privacy, it’s about cruelty.

Without having to identify ourselves, we can become emotional snipers. Under the guise of privacy, we become cruel, even vicious. If you have never experienced this, read any Yahoo “news” account, then read the comments. They vary from mildly hurtful to hate speech.

Anon-cruel

“Because none of us are are cruel as all of us.”

When I hand out evaluation blanks in my writing classes, the question always floats up, “Do we have to sign our name?” Well, why not? Have a complaint? Let me know and sign your name. Tell me your truth. Write in a conversational tone. Tell me what didn’t work for you. I can’t be the perfect instructor for everyone, and I’m always interested in hearing an opinion that helps improve the class. I’ve learned from many an eval.

I have no power of reprisal in your company. I am an outsider, a freelancer.

A signed comment makes you an adult with a comment worth reading. When I hear, “We can’t be honest unless it’s anonymous,” I wonder what kind of honesty requires anonymity. What kind of remark would you not say to my face but would be happy to repeat behind my back? Nothing helpful.

I’ve written my share of complaint letters, and I’ve signed every one of them. Adding my name made me careful of grammar, clarity, and asking for what I want. More often than not, I get what I asked for. Without a name, how will the person know how to respond, or to whom?

Be proud of your opinions. They are your experiences. They are your truth. But the word whispered behind the hand, the emotional sniper with venom and anger–that’s not something I’m going to care about or do anything about.

Take a stand for your own character. You’ll be surprised at how good it feels.

—Quinn McDonald can offer more help if she knows who to offer it to.

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14 thoughts on “Anonymous Doesn’t Count

  1. gypsumoon and Quinn,

    I love that quote! I dread confrontation, but this will help bolster my efforts, I think.

    On evals: sometimes the smallest sort of suggestion can help make a presentation much more compelling, and often presenters simply haven’t considered them. There’s usually a way to make your point when necessary without being offensive.

  2. I’ve been taken to task for forwarding quotes or comments on facebook that I agree with, but some of my friends do not. They complain of negativity, but the negativity I hear comes from the other side. I do use the ability to send to groups, but I have become lax as time narrows until the election. But it bothers me. It’s time to take a stand. I’ll blog about it!

  3. AMEN TO THAT! I had a complaint about my most expensive Bernina sewing machine and could get no resolution from the local dealer, so I wrote the president in Switzerland. Pretty fast response from their American head office!! sometimes (pretty much always) one needs to stand up and be counted

  4. Making anonymous comments is not helpful. It’s like arguing without resolution or compromise in mind. Very selfish. Unfortunately it’s a trend I’m seeing in today’s world. “All about me.” And the payback is erroneous. It’s a false sense of pride at someone else’s expense.
    You’re right, Quinn when you say that anonymous comments tend to be more about gouging and chipping away at someone or something than intentional and helpful observations. It’s very petty and goes nowhere.

  5. I totally agree Quinn, what do the ‘ anonymous’ fear? Indeed, be proud of yourself and there is nothing wrong about telling what YOU think. The words honesty, authenticity and inner power come up in my mind……

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