People wonder why I get so irritated with anonymity on the Internet. Perhaps it's not the anonymous names that bother me, but the impetus behind them.
Al the Retired Army Guy (TRAG) posts here a lot. Although I've known him for years, he is essentially anonymous to the rest of the group. But I am pretty sure Al stands by what he types in the comment section and that he would say to anyone's face exactly what he says in these pages.
I believe Al is accountable for what he says and therefore, I don't find his semi-anonymity objectionable. I'm using Al as an example, but I believe this is true for most of my commenters. "RJ" and "philbilly" don't strike me as people with something to hide (and I'm just citing a few, I dig all my commenters). They use pseudonyms for whatever reason, but not to hide their beliefs or opinions. And yeah, I admit that this judgment is sort of a "gut reaction" thing for me and that it is not at all objective.
But when someone hides behind an anonymous name and avatar in order to spew hatred or racism or just plain old meanness that they don't have to own up to, they are a cowardly little worm. If you are afraid to stand up for what you say, it renders it meaningless in my eyes. Why do you think the KKK shitbags wore those hoods? Because they looked nice?
It comes to this simple rule: If I say it online, I'd say it to your face. I stand behind my every assertion. That's why my pictures are on this blog and why my contact info is in the sidebar and why I always invite my readers to send letters to my editor when I publish elsewhere. I do not waffle around or hide. And if I eff up, I own up to that as well.
Now go on and argue with that you genteel ladies and gentlemen.*#
* refers to the many of the commenters over at V-world. The host is one Mr. Kim Crawford (aka Velociman), who is also available by private email per the front page of his site.
# the language, having offended Mr. Kim Crawford's more refined sensibilities, has been softened so as not to misprepresent his tender commenters.