This is probably obvious, but if you’re not revealing your public or “meatsphere” identity in blog and internet discussions, then you have no business participating in these discussions. I’m pretty lax with this rule. So long as you’re civil, respectful, and play above board, I care little about whether or not you reveal your identity. However, if you wish to engage in any sort of critique, snark, insult, or attack, I take it as a basic principle that you’re obligated to reveal your identity. Why? Because you should have an existential stake in what you say. The rest of us do insofar as we speak through and in the name of our own meatsphere identities, so there’s no reason this shouldn’t be requested of the rest of you who would like to participate. The very fact that anyone speaks without revealing their public identity reveals that they are either ashamed of what it is that they are claiming or that they realize what they are claiming violates norms of civility and public discourse. Just as Kant recognizes that the person who wishes to tell a lie recognizes that they would like to make themselves an exception to a rule such that they want others to recognize that truth telling is a readily recognized condition of honesty, those who participate online in an abusive and combative fashion without revealing their identity would like everyone else to recognize norms of civil discourse without themselves obeying those conditions. You would like to attack the credibility of others without putting your own credibility on the line (and oddly those who have contested this obvious principle have often been among the strongest defenders of deontological Kantian ethics in this domain… this begs the true psychological and political motives of such people). So hey, critique and attack all you want, but at least have the guts to put your own name on the line professionally. What are you hiding? Why are you ashamed of what you say? In the meantime, if you are a coward and have no stake in the game, if you are only concerned with my stake in these communications or dialogues without putting yourself in them, then I feel no obligation to post your comments. What is it, again, that you’re hiding? C’mon folks, fess up, let’s see you put yourself on the line. Oh that’s right, you had nothing to offer to discussion in the first place. If you did you wouldn’t be hiding who you are. Your secretive identities reveals the truth of the position from which you argue.
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