Poll: When is it OK to “out” anonymous bloggers?

posted at 1:14 pm on June 7, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

In one corner: Ed Whelan of Bench Memos.  In the other: Glenn Reynolds, James Joyner, and Rick Moran.  All four are highly respected bloggers, but they have squared off over a contentious point in the blogosphere.  Is there ever a time when one blogger should tear away another’s anonymity?  If so, what threshold should abuse meet before taking that action?

Ed Whelan got steamed over a rather personal style of criticism for his analysis of the Sotomayor nomination from Publius of Obsidian Wings, an anonymous attorney who has blogged for years under a pseudonym.  Whelan explains why he felt it necessary to expose the blogger while rebutting the criticism:

One bane of the Internet is the anonymous blogger who abuses his anonymity to engage in irresponsible attacks.  One such blogger who has been biting at my ankles in recent months is the fellow who calls himself “publius” at the Obsidian Wings blog.

In the course of a typically confused post yesterday, publius embraces the idiotic charge (made by “Anonymous Liberal”) that I’m “essentially a legal hitman” who “pores over [a nominee’s] record, finds some trivial fact that, when distorted and taken totally out of context, makes that person look like some sort of extremist.”  In other of his posts (including two which I discussed here and here), publius demonstrated such a dismal understanding of the legal matters he opined on—including, for example, not understanding what common law is—that it was apparent to me that he had never studied law.

Well, I’m amused to learn that I was wrong about publius’s lack of legal education.  I’ve been reliably informed that publius is in fact the pseudonym of [redacted].  I e-mailed [redacted] to ask him to confirm or deny that he is publius, and I copied the e-mail to the separate e-mail address, under the pseudonym “Edward Winkleman,” that publius used to respond to my initial private complaints about his reckless blogging.  In response, I received from “Edward Winkleman” an e-mail stating that he is “not commenting on [his] identity” and that he writes under a pseudonym “[f]or a variety of private, family, and professional reasons.”  I’m guessing that those reasons include that friends, family members, and his professional colleagues would be surprised by the poor quality and substance of his blogging.

Publius responded:

As I told Ed (to no avail), I have blogged under a pseudonym largely for private and professional reasons. Professionally, I’ve heard that pre-tenure blogging (particularly on politics) can cause problems. And before that, I was a lawyer with real clients. I also believe that the classroom should be as nonpolitical as possible – and I don’t want conservative students to feel uncomfortable before they take a single class based on my posts. So I don’t tell them about this blog. Also, I write and research on telecom policy – and I consider blogging and academic research separate endeavors. This, frankly, is a hobby.

Privately, I don’t write under my own name for family reasons. I’m from a conservative Southern family – and there are certain family members who I’d prefer not to know about this blog (thanks Ed). Also, I have family members who are well known in my home state who have had political jobs with Republicans, and I don’t want my posts to jeopardize anything for them (thanks again).

All of these things I would have told Ed, if he had asked. Instead, I told him that I have family and professional reasons for not publishing under my own name, and he wrote back and called me an “idiot” and a “coward.”

While Glenn gave a measured and somewhat disapproving view of Ed’s actions, James and Rick passionately denounce the outing.  James:

While I generally find the practice of revealing people’s secrets to the public distasteful, there are times when it’s appropriate.  Public officials who are abusing their power is the most obvious case.   Here, however, there is no public benefit achieved. Whelan is simply annoyed that Publius had been “biting at my ankles in recent months” and critiquing his blog posts.

Jeopardizing a man’s career and family relationships over something so petty is simply shameful.

Rick, as is his wont, writes at length about his outrage:

The point is, there are a lot of good reasons for bloggers to remain anonymous and Ed Whalen has no right to decide differently just because he got steamed about someone’s response to his analysis. Did Publius commit a crime? Was he slandering Whalen? If not, Whalen’s fit of personal pique looks low, tawdry, childish, and vengeful. The closest Publius got to getting personal with Whelan was in calling him a “know-nothing demagogue.” And this was after making the point that Whelan knew better and was simply pandering to conservative sensibilities.

Holy Jesus, Ed. I’ve got pretty thin skin myself but it would take a helluva lot more than that to set me off. Questioning my integrity will do the trick as will trying to tell me what to write on my own site. And if you plan on commenting on this or any other post without reading what I’ve written and instead, substitute what you think I wrote or make the same points I made in the post and try and convince me I didn’t make them, you might as well be prepared for some skin flaying because that is my number one pet peeve.

But a “know-nothing demagogue?” In the rarefied atmosphere you inhabit at NRO and other elite bastions of opinion, them’s might be fightin’ words, but in the blogosphere, that’s almost a compliment. To point out that almost any blogger has experienced much, much worse (and dished it out accordingly) would be to mention the obvious to anyone who has spent more than an hour reading blogs.

When I first began blogging, I used a semi-pseudonym, a nickname I’d had for two decades before blogging, for much the same reason as Publius.  I worked in the corporate world and not academia, but I didn’t want my firm’s customers or my staff to get uncomfortable working with me.  My family already knew about the blogging, so that wasn’t a motivation for me, but otherwise I completely understand why Publius wanted to retain his anonymity.  My success eventually outed me, and it did cause me some problems — most of which were self-inflicted — but I’m happy about how it worked out since, for obvious reasons.  Had someone else outed me instead, I would have been furious, and for good reasons.

Had Publius published Ed’s personal information, or had slandered him factually, I could understand the need to make his identity public and force him to bear responsibility for such attacks.  However, as Rick says, calling someone a “know-nothing demagogue” doesn’t qualify.  It may be annoying, and I think it reflects very poorly on Publius, but that’s the kind of ad hominem attack bloggers get from Day One.  Truman’s Axiom comes into play here — if a blogger can’t take that kind of heat, he ought to reconsider blogging.

Ed’s a great blogger, but I think he let Publius get too far under his skin, and he reacted poorly in outing someone and risking their professional career.  Outing Publius didn’t do anything to advance Ed’s argument, but made him look vindictive and petty instead.  Bloggers should worry less about the anonymity of bloggers (which isn’t a “bane” at all) and respond to the arguments instead — or ignore them.

Do you agree or disagree?  Cast your vote in the poll below, and this poll will take multiple answers:


Update: SteveMG asks me the following in the comments:

I’m curious as to whether your bloggin changed substantively once you became public? Did you say things anonymously that you wouldn’t have publicly? Even if it didn’t affect your job, friends, et cetera? In other words, did the “cover” of anoynmity give you – consciously or not – a freer hand?

I don’t think it changed my blogging at all, mainly because I always prepared to get outed, accidentally (as it happened) or otherwise. I was never inclined to hyperbolic writing, anyway.

Update II: Ed Whelan responds here. Michael Krauss agrees with Ed. And Joe Gandelman has a good roundup of thinking on this issue.


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Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 5:54 PM

I have a question about the facts of this situation that are murky to me. Did Publius post disagreements on Mr. Whelan’s blog as a commenter or was Publius’s dissent on his own blog?

I haven’t read all the content, but I believe all the posts by Publius, that were objectionable to Mr. Whelan, we’re on the Obsidian Wings blog, to which Publius is a contributor.

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 6:07 PM

DarkCurrent on June 7, 2009 at 6:06 PM

What do you need him for? To hold your hand?

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 6:08 PM

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 6:05 PM

I did not! This has been an odd week and I haven’t hit all the threads.

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 6:08 PM

It should have come via email…

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 6:09 PM

And I’m still waiting for my copy to come in the mail. I hope the USPO didn’t steal it or something.

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 6:09 PM

Pacta sunt servanda. Agreements should be obeyed.

Regarding this Poll: the blog registration process stipulates conditions.

The “never out anonymity” would grant comments the sacred secrecy of a private confession given to a Catholic Priest.

If the owners of a blog witnessed a commenter committing murder, of course they should tell the police if the owner is a witness.

But there’s a slippery slope of “outing” confidences to secure good graces from authorities. To be personally vindictive or in order to satiate a fascist regime or a communist tyranny is no excuse for undoing a person’s anonymity.

If a commenter were in dire and life threatening danger, I would hope there were some way for the blog owner to communicate privately with the commenter to help if mutually allowed.

There’s a threatening undercurrent of a sanctimonious attitude that a majority vote from rubberneckers would trump original contractual agreements.

Some people have already lived their lives on stage conducting public service to their communities. Through ‘rich life experience’ they have realized the wisdom to appreciate their receptive audiences, but not to bring them home. If anonymity is what a person wants, no one has the right to “out” a private citizen who has the audacity to speak openly.

Bloggers shouldn’t be anonymous at all 18%

Do 18% of those commenting @ HotAir post by their names?

I haven’t noticed comments coming from so many real names.

maverick muse on June 7, 2009 at 6:09 PM

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 6:04 PM

Lol. Haven’t ever been around the airport – no occasion to fly – but yes, the traffic sucks.

Ryan Gandy on June 7, 2009 at 6:11 PM

What do you need him for? To hold your hand?

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 6:08 PM

Go away!

BB! BB!

DarkCurrent on June 7, 2009 at 6:11 PM

Personally, I applaud Mr. Whelan’s outing of Publius. My view stems from the same place as many of the other posters here.

Summarized: People in glass houses should not throw stones. Could Ed have just ignored him? Yes, but why should he! One of the reasons the Left have made the inroads they have is the Rights reluctance to kick the ankle biters to the curb.

The Right is going to have to take the gloves off and start playing nasty, just as nasty as they do. When one side (The Left) follows an ideology that condones ideas like: “The ends justify the means!” and “Whatever it takes!”. Playing by some contrived set of gentlemanly rules will ensure the other sides (The Right) defeat.

mrpeabody on June 7, 2009 at 6:13 PM

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 6:07 PM

Well if Mr. Whelan of Bench Memos did not like the opinions of Publius, on Obsidian Wings, I find this even creepier because Mr. Whelan seems to have gone to quite a lot of trouble to find out who Publius is and after discussing Publius’s anonymity with him, he still “outed” him. Mr. Whelan seem unethical to me at worst and a big baby at best.

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 6:13 PM

maverick muse on June 7, 2009 at 6:09 PM

I know I do.

Ryan Gandy on June 7, 2009 at 6:13 PM

Ryan Gandy on June 7, 2009 at 6:11 PM

When are they supposed to be finished with that? The Govenor promised it would make thing better in “malfunction junction”.

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 6:13 PM

Go away!

BB! BB!

DarkCurrent on June 7, 2009 at 6:11 PM

Not only are you a loser and an ass, but you’re a coward too. You started this.

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 6:14 PM

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 6:13 PM

I have no idea.

Ryan Gandy on June 7, 2009 at 6:16 PM

Not only are you a loser and an ass, but you’re a coward too. You started this.

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 6:14 PM

I’m not afraid of the scary lady. I AM NOT AFRAID OF THE SCARY LADY!

+86-21-15821009007

DarkCurrent on June 7, 2009 at 6:17 PM

Well, I am a little ;-)

DarkCurrent on June 7, 2009 at 6:19 PM

BTW OT more good news

From gatewaypundit it seems Hezbollah didnt win in the Lebanese elections.

William Amos on June 7, 2009 at 6:20 PM

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 6:14 PM

You won.

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 6:20 PM

William Amos on June 7, 2009 at 6:20 PM

May I tell you that you have just been awesome in your links today. That’s great news.

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 6:21 PM

DarkCurrent on June 7, 2009 at 6:17 PM

That almost made me laugh.

Ryan Gandy on June 7, 2009 at 6:23 PM

You won.

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 6:20 PM

You’re not my friend anymore.

DarkCurrent on June 7, 2009 at 6:23 PM

It would be interesting to know how non-political Professor Publis’ classroom is really. My experience is the more flaming the liberal the more he/she insists that they show no political bias in their teaching. 99% of the time that simply means they stick it to any student that doesn’t parrot back their liberal bias.

highhopes on June 7, 2009 at 6:23 PM

Ryan Gandy on June 7, 2009 at 6:13 PM

Brow beating or chest thumping?

Nomen est omen. The name is the sign.

You may be Ryan Gandy, or you may have simply registered as Ryan Gandy. It doesn’t matter. Why would “Ryan Gandy” be better or worse than any nickname when leaving comments? Because it makes you feel better is a good enough reason to use whatever name you registered. We all have our own reasons; I doubt any are better than others.

maverick muse on June 7, 2009 at 6:25 PM

That almost made me laugh.

Ryan Gandy on June 7, 2009 at 6:23 PM

Almost wasn’t my goal. Seppuku for me now

DarkCurrent on June 7, 2009 at 6:25 PM

William Amos on June 7, 2009 at 6:20 PM

thanks for good news

maverick muse on June 7, 2009 at 6:26 PM

highhopes on June 7, 2009 at 6:23 PM

Notice the prof’s “good intention” of not wanting to make conservative students feel uncomfortable with the knowledge of what the prof really thinks. Unfair advantage. Students paying tuition deserve to know the reputation of their professors before enrolling. Then again, the prof’s reputation goes before him whether he fesses up or not.

maverick muse on June 7, 2009 at 6:29 PM

DarkCurrent on June 7, 2009 at 6:17 PM

Women are scary!

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 6:31 PM

I’m not afraid of the scary lady. I AM NOT AFRAID OF THE SCARY LADY!

+86-21-15821009007

DarkCurrent on June 7, 2009 at 6:17 PM

You have no idea…

Well, I am a little ;-)

DarkCurrent on June 7, 2009 at 6:19 PM

;-)

You won.

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 6:20 PM

Yay! I won. I finally won. You all LIKE me!

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 6:31 PM

The problems with blogging or posting under ones name are many. The world is full of folk who are not wrapped very tightly and could be dangerous. I have known folk who have been fired or denied promotion because they are of one party and their boss another. I now other folk who have had relatives harassed over letters to the editor in the local paper. This is balanced against the dubious value of knowing ones opponents actual names (which leas to a host of info with a short Google search)

Candor and honesty are especially dangerous when criticizing local public officials in the legal community. I know of folk who have been denied gun permits after pressure from law enforcement and judges who do not like criticism for their actions.

JIMV on June 7, 2009 at 6:31 PM

maverick muse on June 7, 2009 at 6:25 PM

I didn’t “do” anything for a particular reason – other than that I don’t plan on posting anything people I know wouldn’t want to see.

But on a lighter note, please, no Latin while talking about chest thumping.

Ryan Gandy on June 7, 2009 at 6:31 PM

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 6:31 PM

LOL

So was Harpo! He didn’t talk…like one of those darned mimes…or worse, a clown.

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 6:32 PM

It would be interesting to know how non-political Professor Publis’ classroom is really. My experience is the more flaming the liberal the more he/she insists that they show no political bias in their teaching.

Liberals don’t know what “non-political” is. Their feelings are their politics, so it comes spilling out of them in all situations. But, everyone knows that most law professors are flaming liberals and there shouldn’t be any surprise that someone gets a moron teaching his law class. After all, Harold Koh was the dean of Yale Law and that guy is such a total moron that he doesn’t even understand the concept of national soveriengty, instead choosing to champion empowered peerless, competitionless entities, which anyone with a brain knows are unnatural entities that are guaranteed to grow in grotesque and destructive ways. And that was the DEAN! I would expect that the plain, old professors there probably have an average IQ hanging around 98 and a set of emotional problems that could serve as the bases of 273,973 Ph.D. theses in abnormal psychology.

And, for anyone who doubts that, the Yale law staff showed us all what morons they are with that pathetic case they brought to try and bar military recruiters from the campus, while still sucking federal dollars in. That was too funny and, frankly, I’m surprised any of those folks showed their faces after that laughable case. Who would want to learn law from such idiots?

99% of the time that simply means they stick it to any student that doesn’t parrot back their liberal bias.

highhopes on June 7, 2009 at 6:23 PM

That’s all liberals ever do. They know nothing else.

progressoverpeace on June 7, 2009 at 6:32 PM

DarkCurrent on June 7, 2009 at 6:23 PM

Sure I am, worse things in life could happen then losing to ladyingray.

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 6:33 PM

DarkCurrent on June 7, 2009 at 6:25 PM

Why just plain old seppuku? You could always go for the Chuoside. ;)

Ryan Gandy on June 7, 2009 at 6:33 PM

But on a lighter note, please, no Latin while talking about chest thumping. EVER!!!!
Ryan Gandy on June 7, 2009 at 6:31 PM

Take me back to HS Latin…talk about a scary lady? We’re talking the wicked witch of the west!

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 6:34 PM

Sure I am, worse things in life could happen then losing to ladyingray.

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 6:33 PM

:D

Recheck your email from this week…you should have gotten the Limbaugh Letter info via a third party…

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 6:36 PM

This is nothing new, of course. Long before blogs became widespread, anonymous posters on USENET newsgroups (especially the political ones) were outed on a regular basis.

On some of the political newsgroups, the outing got really bad, and it was always done by those on the Left. What they thought they were “accomplishing” by doing this is anyone’s guess.

To their credit, the far-Left loonitorium known as Democratic Underground has a policy that frowns on outing anonymous posters. It’s probably the only sane policy they have!

Del Dolemonte on June 7, 2009 at 6:37 PM

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 6:36 PM

Just checked my email, no luck. Thanks though.

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 6:49 PM

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 6:13 PM

I can see no public interest served by outing Publius. He committed no crime. His posts were very unfavorable toward Mr. Whelan, but not libelous or inciting physical harm. So to me, this outing is a use of the punitive intimidation tactics typically used by liberals. It’s just that this time these tactics are being used to gain personal revenge against a liberal.

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 6:50 PM

The Right is going to have to take the gloves off and start playing nasty, just as nasty as they do. When one side (The Left) follows an ideology that condones ideas like: “The ends justify the means!” and “Whatever it takes!”. Playing by some contrived set of gentlemanly rules will ensure the other sides (The Right) defeat.

mrpeabody on June 7, 2009 at 6:13 PM

Indeed, what part of “By any means necessary” don’t we conservatives understand?

18-1 on June 7, 2009 at 6:52 PM

Hmmm…okay.

I had asked someone to send it to you for me due to a logistical reason (at that time)…but here it is:

To order a single back issue:

The Limbaugh Letter
PO Box 420058
Palm Coast, FL 32142-0058
1-386-447-6308

$3.50 per copy.

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 6:53 PM

So to me, this outing is a use of the punitive intimidation tactics typically used by liberals. It’s just that this time these tactics are being used to gain personal revenge against a liberal.

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 6:50 PM

And how well has politely requesting the Left stop such tactics worked?

18-1 on June 7, 2009 at 6:53 PM

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 6:53 PM

I thought I had sent it to Cindy.

Sorry — guess it didn’t go through.

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 6:54 PM

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 6:50 PM

I want us (conservatives) to always be consistent, I am sure you will agree. If we don’t stand up for what is best for everyone then we will become the Left. I am sure neither gentlemen will suffer much from the incident, which is probably best and having the conversation is instructive.

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 6:58 PM

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 6:53 PM

Excellent, can you tell me which issue Ed was in.

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 6:54 PM

Don’t sweat the small stuff, Kiddo.

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 7:00 PM

18-1 on June 7, 2009 at 6:52 PM

I have no problem going after the jugulars of the left. They are the most underhanded, dirtiest, nastiest people around in how they promote their political idiocies and deserve a taste of all-out war in the political arena.

But, in the general case, one should not care whether another is anonymous and it does not affect the debate. There are more than a few on the right (or so they say) who are trying to force EVERYONE out of anonymity as some sort of general rule, including us on the right who are much more likely to suffer punitive actions than the leftists. That is pure stupidity.

I don’t shed any tears for publius (though I have tangled with him on Volokh a few times and didn’t have any problems) but I find anyone arguing the general case against anonymity to be dangerous. As I wrote earlier, the geniuses over at Powerline have ended their forum and decided that only real names are allowed on their new comments attached to their blog (don’t even ask how they know a real name from a fake one). This is an attack on the anonymity of conservative commenters and is chilling, especially given this current environment. I find it hard to even fathom the stupidity that led them to this new policy, which they seem oddly proud of.

progressoverpeace on June 7, 2009 at 7:02 PM

And how well has politely requesting the Left stop such tactics worked?

18-1 on June 7, 2009 at 6:53 PM

It hasn’t worked and it won’t work. Liberals always have an excuse for anything they do to conservatives because they all “know” that conservatives are either ignorant, hateful bigots or smart, greedy, and evil.

I like the approach that is displayed in the headline thread by Bernard Chapin:

Yes, students, you’re sitting next to a Republican

Those liberals who are narrow-minded, bigoted, hypocritical, narcissistic, indoctrinating, power hungry elitists should be exposed for what they are, with real life examples as well as showing the impact their stifling culture of intolerance has on real people.

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 7:06 PM

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 7:00 PM

When I get my copy, I’ll let you know the issue.

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 7:07 PM

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 6:54 PM

No problem. She’s got the info now.

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 7:08 PM

I’m uncomfortable with this game of outing.

We’re adults — take the heat, ignore the morons, and move on

So this is going to be a game of one-ups-manship

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 7:08 PM

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 7:08 PM

The problem with that is some people are very thin skinned…they don’t know how to take the heat and move on.

They remind me very much of the bully on the playground…

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 7:11 PM

I have no idea what the sublot of this thread was that resulted in the mysterious DarkCurrent, but for some reason I think it might have something to do with a game of Sqwuigilum.

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 7:13 PM

I suppose the HA commenters in the 19% who voted to ban anonymous blogging use their full real names here.

jgapinoy on June 7, 2009 at 7:13 PM

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 7:11 PM

I mean, it’s just going to devolve into a fuster cluck

It’ll get to the point where if someone says even something relatively dumb

“Welp! Time to out that person!”

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 7:13 PM

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 7:13 PM

Hahahahaaa. I love those old movies…

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 7:26 PM

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 7:13 PM

You need to work on being less cynical…you really are too young to be that way.

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 7:26 PM

Anything that makes a dirty liberal slime ball feel bad is A-OK with me. Screw liberals.

angryed on June 7, 2009 at 7:28 PM

You need to work on being less cynical…you really are too young to be that way.

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 7:26 PM

If having a good grip on the human condition is cynical, let it be!
lol

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 7:28 PM

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 7:28 PM

You only think you have a good grip right now…later in life, you’ll be saying to yourself, what the heck was I thinking?

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 7:30 PM

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 7:30 PM

Kidding…I think you do, actually.

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 7:32 PM

You only think you have a good grip right now…later in life, you’ll be saying to yourself, what the heck was I thinking?

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 7:30 PM

maybe

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 7:32 PM

It’ll get to the point where if someone says even something relatively dumb

“Welp! Time to out that person!”

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 7:13 PM

Don’t get so defensive. Nobody here is going to out you, no matter how dumb you are or how frequently you demonstrate it.

So, cheer up!

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 7:33 PM

I think most of you who want to kick Ed to the curb would feel differently if it was your ox getting gored repeatedly and publicly.

Blake

With my gubmint name being known and my ox have been gored repeated and publicly, I still think Ed W. should be kicked to the curb.

If someone was attacking me personally or professionaly but was unwilling to do so publicly or “sign on” to those attacks, I would completely dismiss those charges.

Whelan should have too.

SteveMG on June 7, 2009 at 1:34 PM

When that is done by anonymous cowards one should make sure to first point out their hypocrisy before dismissing them.

I’ve had someone anonymous “threaten” to “out me” as a “fraud” because I said that they were wrong. I’ve been called a “coward” for moderating the comments of anonymous, venom-spewing cowards at my site, so I don’t have much sympathy for them, but fair is fair. The trolls at my site may have pissed me off but they weren’t outed. Being banned is another story.

baldilocks on June 7, 2009 at 7:33 PM

I don’t see why people have a problem with anonymous bloggers. Identity is generally irrelevant to the argument.

ChenZhen on June 7, 2009 at 7:34 PM

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 7:33 PM

I don’t care about being outed because I believe everything I say — ain’t sorry for it

And I stopped caring what anyone thinks a LONG time ago

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 7:35 PM

I don’t see why people have a problem with anonymous bloggers. Identity is generally irrelevant to the argument.

ChenZhen on June 7, 2009 at 7:34 PM

Unfortunately too many people believe the “personal is the political,” as the phrase was coined in the 60′s

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 7:36 PM

I think a blogger’s sexuality shouldn’t come into the debate unless it’s a debate about sexuality.

- The Cat

MirCat on June 7, 2009 at 7:36 PM

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 7:35 PM

I don’t care about being outed because I believe everything I say — ain’t sorry for it

I believe you, except…

And I stopped caring what anyone thinks a LONG time ago

That’s not true, and we both know it. You really do care about people and that’s one of your best qualities.

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 7:39 PM

You are a bully. Learn from it.

Oh, stuff it! Disagreeing with you does not make anyone a bully. Jeesh! You are a whiner!

Make your points without exaggerating…

Uh, I you are the one who tries to bolster their arguements with pseudoscience.

and move on.

You are the one who attacked me, cupcake. You move on.

The proof is the confrontations with others.
The lack of self reflection is always a stumbling block.

katy on June 7, 2009 at 4:14 PM

Your projection is hilarious!

Blake on June 7, 2009 at 7:42 PM

I don’t care about being outed because I believe everything I say — ain’t sorry for it

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 7:35 PM

I’m much harsher in person, where I don’t have to worry about being banned.

SO, here, I use the acceptable euphemisms and, for instance, talk about “militarizing the border”, but in person I say exactly what I mean.

progressoverpeace on June 7, 2009 at 7:43 PM

MirCat on June 7, 2009 at 7:36 PM

And even then if should be respectful. There have been several truly vile things said to some of our regular gay commenters.

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 7:44 PM

progressoverpeace on June 7, 2009 at 7:43 PM

I reserve my harshness for when someone gets harsh with me when discussing something. Other than that I try to be persuasive, diplomatic, and play on people’s poor argumentative skills to “win.”

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 7:39 PM

You’re too nice, but thanks

I care a little, but not much more

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 7:45 PM

here have been several truly vile things said to some of our regular gay commenters.

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 7:44 PM

TOTALLY agreed

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 7:46 PM

There have been several truly vile things said to some of our regular gay commenters.

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 7:44 PM

wtf ?

gh on June 7, 2009 at 7:46 PM

baldilocks on June 7, 2009 at 7:33 PM

If you’re a coward, there is no such thing as a hero.

You’re tough as nails in an argument, but you admit it when you’re wrong, and even offer other’s opportunities to honorably bury the hatchet. You, are a very admirable person.

I just hope I never make you angry because you’re really scary!

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 7:47 PM

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 7:39 PM

You’re too nice, but thanks

I care a little, but not much more

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 7:45 PM

Sorry…I agree with Lox.

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 7:49 PM

I started blogging back in 2004, and for the most part I used a pseudonym. I still do on our site. My wife is open as to who she is, and I’m not. I’ve just gotten used to signing all of my posts with that pseudonym. That said, I’m hardly anonymous.

Anyone who is a regular listener to Hugh Hewitt’s show is aware of a regular caller “Thomas in Mesa.” That’s me. My wife and I are staff columnists for an online political site, and we always identify ourselves there.

Do we think it’s OK for bloggers to be anonymous? Absolutely. When should that anonymity “end?” When a blogger knowingly lies or libels another person, in my opinion. Should anyone reveal their identity? That’s the touchy subject. I think there should be pressure for the blogger to reveal themselves, and if they refuse to and they refuse to retract the libelous statement or flasehood, then that remains in the purview of those asking him/her to out themselves.

I have been called out for mistakes I have made in a post, and I have corrected the mistake, but I have NEVER libeled anyone or stated an outright lie. To do so would cause me to lose the few readers we do have. We have, in my opinion, a “contract” of sorts with our readers. They know that when they read what we write, we try to be as accurate with the facts as possible. They also know what they’re going to get when they visit our site. We’re conservatives, and we make no attempt to hide that.

But as I said to begin with, I’m hardly anonymous despite the fact I still write under a pseudonym.

MrAndMrsSmith on June 7, 2009 at 7:51 PM

Sorry, but all this
>>”is it ethical” (i.e. doin’ the right thang) to out anonimity<<
stuff comes off to me like liberal hand-wringing.

LOOK AT WHAT HE LEFTISTS DO TO US ON A DAILY BASIS.

Stop sweating this.

‘Nuff said.

Lockstein13 on June 7, 2009 at 7:53 PM

There have been several truly vile things said to some of our regular gay commenters.

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 7:44 PM

Most conservatives I have encountered in person or on line are not at all bigoted against any group of people. But there are indeed some very vile and bigoted people who at least call themselves conservative and some post here.

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 7:53 PM

Reminds me of the time Ed outted a blogger. . . . .

Called her on air and got her answering machine, so technically it was her answering machine that outted her. Plus he thought everyone knew her last name anyway.

/punk

- The Cat

MirCat on June 7, 2009 at 7:54 PM

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 7:53 PM

There are only a few and the odd thing is that I probably agree with their view (or close to agreeing) but when they start name calling, I am gone. I guess most people don’t react that way but for it me in just brings the discussion to a screeching halt.

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 7:57 PM

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 7:45 PM

I don’t bother with debating tactics. I debate with people because I think that my view is correct and theirs is incorrect. I will go about all sorts of ways to prove their incorrectness to them, but I am always very straightforward in my approach and stick to logic and common sense. I don’t look at it as any sort of competition.

I don’t argue with liberals to win. I argue with liberals because they entertain notions that are stupid and dangerous.

progressoverpeace on June 7, 2009 at 8:03 PM

I care a little, but not much more

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 7:45 PM

You are not as cold hearted as you claim to be, but I am not going to document the evidence I have to prove it.

And there is nothing unmanly or weak about having a big, caring heart.

It takes a lot of courage and strength to risk having your heart broken, and there will be times your heart will indeed be broken. Unfortunately, it seems unavoidable in this life.

The answer is not to put your heart in the deep freeze or throw it away, but let your heart grow even bigger and stronger so that it can bear the heartaches that you will inevitably feel.

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 8:06 PM

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 8:06 PM

That’s beautiful…do you mind if I send your words to my son? Full credit will be given, I assure you…

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 8:08 PM

I don’t argue with liberals to win. I argue with liberals because they entertain notions that are stupid and dangerous.

progressoverpeace on June 7, 2009 at 8:03 PM

Well, winning for me is when they finally realize how wrong they are (they never admit it, but you can pick up on the physical and verbal cues).

Half of that is done by listening very closely to their words, picking out subtle contradictions and errors. The other half is just having the better and factually correct argument

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 8:08 PM

My thoughts on this subject. When is it permissible to out an anonymous blogger.

The second they cease to be civil and respectful to anyone they respond to. If you cant make your argument with civility and polite intellectual discourse, then you don’t actually have an argument.

If you cannot or refuse to behave in a civil respectful or polite manner then you do not deserve the protection of anonymity.

doriangrey on June 7, 2009 at 3:59 PM

I think we have a winner. If you wish to remain anonymous to avoid consequences in your personal life, to your family, to your job, it would seem to behoove you to avoid being a jackass.

The lefty abused his anonymity and then whined like a little girl when he got outed.

misterpeasea on June 7, 2009 at 8:09 PM

If anonymity is wrong, why do people use P.O. Boxes?

OldEnglish on June 7, 2009 at 8:11 PM

Totally OT: Just got a phonecall from my daughter. She just arrived back from Kirkuk, Iraq and is now in Baltimore. Drinks are on me. And yes, that is my real name.

utebell on June 7, 2009 at 4:51 PM

If I could send you one I would. Congrats and tell your girl “welcome home and thanks.”

baldilocks on June 7, 2009 at 8:12 PM

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 8:08 PM

Thanks. If you think it might be helpful, of course.

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 8:15 PM

It would be interesting to know how non-political Professor Publis’ classroom is really. My experience is the more flaming the liberal the more he/she insists that they show no political bias in their teaching. 99% of the time that simply means they stick it to any student that doesn’t parrot back their liberal bias.

highhopes on June 7, 2009 at 6:23 PM

Another great point.

I’m pretty sure it’s self-serving crap, because liberals don’t keep their views to themselves under the best of circumstances; they’re not only right, they’re good.

And law school campi are, as a rule, full of liberals. I find it hard to believe he’d keep his views to himself in a classroom full of fellow travelers.

misterpeasea on June 7, 2009 at 8:15 PM

Let the “market” decide. If people don’t like anonymous bloggers, they won’t read them

davidk on June 7, 2009 at 8:17 PM

Boo hoo.

If the way a person behaves online could end up “risking their professional career” then that person needs to re-evaluate how they behave online.

Dave Rywall on June 7, 2009 at 8:18 PM

You only think you have a good grip right now…later in life, you’ll be saying to yourself, what the heck was I thinking?

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 7:30 PM

I am always amazed when I think back to things that made me mad when I was in my twenties and the stuff that seems is unworthy of a thought now.

Cindy Munford on June 7, 2009 at 8:20 PM

Half of that is done by listening very closely to their words, picking out subtle contradictions and errors.

Meh. Liberal arguments are always childish and stupid, very rarely being subtle in any way. The only time you have to do any looking around is when they change scale and context inappropriately.

For instance, the “judicial empathy” argument. It’s just plain stupid and easily proven so.

The other half is just having the better and factually correct argument

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 8:08 PM

I just prefer throwing hard, straight fastballs. … Though I do throw at the head every now and then, when they ask for it.

progressoverpeace on June 7, 2009 at 8:21 PM

Unfortunately too many people believe the “personal is the political,” as the phrase was coined in the 60’s

blatantblue on June 7, 2009 at 7:36 PM

Oh. And I thought it was “The Medium is the Message.”

davidk on June 7, 2009 at 8:23 PM

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 8:15 PM

It will be…and its exactly what I want for him…

ladyingray on June 7, 2009 at 8:26 PM

The Great Outing,hopefully it doesn’t
turn into a fad,or gawd forebid a
sport!(Sarc).

canopfor on June 7, 2009 at 8:26 PM

If you’re a coward, there is no such thing as a hero.

You’re tough as nails in an argument, but you admit it when you’re wrong, and even offer other’s opportunities to honorably bury the hatchet. You, are a very admirable person.

I just hope I never make you angry because you’re really scary!

Loxodonta on June 7, 2009 at 7:47 PM

Well thanks–I think. :) One thing: I just got tired of backing down.

At one’s blog I used to think that visitors were like visitors to your house: treat them a little better that you would if they were not your guests. One of the reasons I quit blogging was because I was feeling the need to be implacable like I am here.

Times have changed and it may be time to rethink my personal blog behavior. Nice will not get us anywhere. Not anymore.

baldilocks on June 7, 2009 at 8:27 PM

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