Saturday, August 27, 2005

On anonymity

I noticed a mild election related spat by two (more or less) left-wing bloggers. One outed the other as a list candidate for a political party and gave their list position - which wasn't appreciated.

I'd agree this would be unethical if the "outer" knew the "outees" identity from personal discussion or by knowing them offline, etc.

However, the person being outed announces in their profile the city they live in. They've also announced that they are a list-only candidate. And they've repeatedly mentioned their gender.
The thing is, their party has only one list-only candidate of that gender from the city they live in. This isn't difficult to find out from the parties website.

I guess it's harder than one thinks to be anonymous...

(This post would be a lot more fluent if I revealed the identities and blogs of those concerned - but I wouldn't be that nasty).

3 comments:

span said...

i don't think i have ever said that i am a candidate prior to the thread in question, and i'm pretty sure i haven't said whether i am list only or not.

Rich said...

Sorry - misunderstood then. I still think it's really difficult to write in an interactive medium on a regular basis and not eventually give away who you are.

Personally, I mainly don't put my name on the blog so that I can't be googled by someone who might take my stuff out of context. I suspect an irate reader could track me down quickly enough..

span said...

no worries. i was actually going to delete Prog's comment, but then I figured that would make things worse (and also I couldn't work out how to do it ;-) so i just responded instead and that way i get some control over the speculation.

kakariki told me about the huge efforts some amongst the right went to to find out who she is (unsuccessfully) when she first started blogging. to be honest who really cares who you are in real life?

the ability to stay anonymous is also heavily undermined by knowing a large number of bloggers in real life, meaning they make slips about you too. i'm not really sure how to deal with it to be honest, it's not a big secret and i don't mind people in the blogosphere knowing who i am, but i don't really want people outside it to track down my blog. does that make sense?