Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I read this story and thought of Fr. Gregory Hogg, our favorite exhorter to online identity. He makes good points. The Christian is never anonymous, nor, if we trusted in God, should we fear the consequences of stating our beliefs.

Criminalizing anonymous posting, however, seems a little impossible and unwise. But I appreciate the thought behind this.


  1. Dixie said...

    I taught my children when they were growing up to not give out their full names and personal information on the Internet because of safety concerns. To this day they practice a kind of anonymity in that regard. I also taught them not to write anything they wouldn't want attributed to them...and to think first before hitting the "send" button. I hope they practice those things as well.

    I don't use my full name...if I did it wouldn't be hard for a stalker or a thief or anyone with a desire to inflict harm to locate us...we are the only family in the state with our last name! Imagine not being able to discuss the plans for an upcoming trip because the whole world would know when your house was vacant and available for the picking. Or someone who is unbalanced and irritated about what I have done (say converting to Orthodoxy for example) could locate me and stalk me, waiting to inflict harm when my husband is away. Long shots...sure...but not outside of the realm of possibility. Why take unecessary risk?

    Further...why should I be subject to silence because my neighbor, who enjoys being cloaked with anonymity is heavy handed with the keyboard?

    Now I do understand that the world isn't about "stuff" and that we have to place our lives in God's maybe these concerns are over the top...but I don't think so. I don't intentionally put myself in risky situations apart from the Internet without good reason so why take on risk by giving out personal information on the Internet?

    I always thought the demand for identity at certain sites was a bit irresponsible in light of these concerns. Maybe it's the mother in me....

  2. Christopher D. Hall said...

    Absolutely right with the kids! In fact, Norton 360 allows parents to block what information is allowed to be filled out on forms, so I can prevent my kids from filling out names and addresses and the like on websites.

    In your case your anonymity is a bit different than those of us who live in the public eye. In your case, your online personae is well-known, and while your personal information isn't, people know who "Byzantine Dixie" and where to find you online, so to speak. In addition, you have not been given the call to teach and preach and proclaim the Gospel publicly.

    Feel free to use your pseudonym here, Dixie (and Doorman, -C, and whoever else comment psuedonymously) ! I won't require names, addresses or social security numbers :) I DO require a log-in to help prevent spam and reduce multiple "anonymouses" from posting.

  3. -C said...

    "I won't require names, addresses or social security numbers :) ..."

    How about blood types?


  4. Christopher D. Hall said...

    Yes. Please submit your blood types ASAP. :)

    And FYIW, I think I should have typed "persona" instead of "personae."