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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Regarding Anonymity

It appears that I have offended someone regarding their anonymous posts. In my comment section, regarding anonymity, I stated:
if this is the same anonymous who has been posting for a while now, please identify as you post. others on this blog are under the accountability of others seeing who they are and being able to respond accordingly. i don't believe it is biblical to be allowed to use the sheild of anonymity as you post.

if you are a new anonymous, please take advantage of the free opportunity to register an identity, or atleast initial your thoughts so we know who they are. (i have a dear friend who simply ends posts with "lg" and then people know to whom to attribute comments).
The response on the blog, from anonymous was:
Hi, I'm the anonymous to your post regarding Sex and Evangelism. I'm not related to this new anonymous and didn't want him/her falling under any more condemnation for using the anonymity offered on your site. I do read your blog and others' occasionally but this is the last time I will comment,just so you know. The "it's not biblical" line really topped it off for me. Really now. That's a little Matthew 23, don't ya think? Some of us understand the necessity for anonymity when posting on the internet. Real crazys out there. Maybe I'll just assume you were making a joke. Either way, I'll just say my goodbyes! Best to you.


A couple of things I would like to point out:
    1. This in reality, is exactly the problem with anonymous posting.
We are actually dealing with two different people. One who posted on a former article, one who posted right now. Of course, we have no way of knowing that, since they chose to remain anonymous. We can not truly have reasonable dialogue, when we don't know who we are talking to.
    2. Since this is not the same person, the new anonymous is not under any "condemnation."
I am well aware that some people may forget to identify, or may not be aware how to do so. Therefore, I graciously offered for this person to take advantage of that opportunity. They are certainly not under any condemnation, but simply encouraged to continue in the discussion, but give all of us the opportunity to atleast know which comments are coming from the same source.
    3. Is complete anonymity consistent Biblical behavior?
This is where the person obviously took offense, and I would love the opportunity to explain myself.
    a. Regarding Matthew 23: I assume the person is referring to the pharisaism and the woes in response and not to the lament of Jerusalem. Therefore, the implication is that I am being a pharisee (I assume a legalist), by instructing a person to give some form of identification. A couple problems with that observation. I by no means suggested that a person could attain a righteous standing before God do to their adherence to ettiquite of letting people know who is speaking. Pharisees were not wrong for setting up markers to prevent sin (I would argue there is no other way to understand "gouging out your eye or cutting off your hand" but that Jesus was figuratively calling people to take necessary steps to eradicate sin from their lives). However, Pharisees were wrong for thinking that sticking to their rules was making them justified before God because they were holy in and of themselves. If I ever refer to someone as a saint simply because they gave identification in a post, then you have cause to claim pharisaism. (Sorry if I seem strong, but that is a major frustration of mine in the church!)

    Furthermore, if your claim is that I am being a pharisee because I am not stating a rule specifically articulated in Scripture, you are traveling down a slippery slope, brother (or sister, since I don't know who you are). Do you really want to claim that we can not observe what is a more glorifying way to interact with one another simply because the word "internet" is not found in the Bible? I would simply encourage you to check out passages like Matthew 18, Galatians 6, Ephesians 4, and all of 1 and 2 Timothy and tell me if the Bible describes a kind of dialogue with one another where we hide behind a veil of identification. I don't see it there.
    b. So why do I offer anonymity on my site? Many sites do not. However, I never wanted to prevent a person from offering their opinion simply because technology gets in the way. Ocassionally my mother and mother-in-law (neither of whom are technological geniuses...sorry ladies, I love you both, but it's true) will comment on this site and they simply initial the end of their post, choosing to use the anonymous heading. If new people post comments anonymously, my desire is that within one or two posts, they will catch on and give some sort of identification.
    c. No one likes a drive by. People who bother to write blogs, and who take the time to make comments (thank you to those who do here) often are offering their hearts and minds out before the masses. No one like a person, unidentified, to be able to come in and critique and run. Again, if it is accidental, or a person doesn't know how it works, that's fine. But the internet is far too filled with people who become much more courageous when they are hiding behind a keyboard. I have no way to read your heart, anonymous. But if you are not willing to click the "email me" link on my site (it works, I promise) and make accusations of pharisaism with a slight bit of accountability (that would by no means be posted publicly) then you have to search your heart and ask why the difference. I'm not saying you have to do that, but I am saying that if you would not be willing to say things in front of a person, or in written correspondance, or even over the phone, that you are willing to say through a comment section, you may have to ask yourself, "why?"
    4. If you are genuinely scared of internet crazies, there are ways around it. Believe me, I respect your desire to not place yourself publicly out in the world. However, again, I refer to my previous comment. You have options.
      a. Simply sign the end of your post. I find it hard to believe that "lg" is risking credit card statements or checking account numbers, nor personal saftey by simply saying "lg." Only us who know "lg" even know the gender of the commenter. But when that person comments regularly, people on this blog have an ability to trace the thread of thought and better understand what that person is thinking.
      b. Register a name. You don't have to open a blog to do so. You don't have to give personal information. You don't have to say where you are from. You can claim you are from the country of Chile if you want, even if you are from Madagascar. Then, as you would comment, with no one having the remotest ability to know a thing about you, people can again see the thread of your thoughts and be able to dialogue with you more intelligently.


So what do I suggest to anonymous, and anyone like him/her? I'm glad you asked.
    1. Please continue to comment. I never once asked you to quit commenting, merely to give some kind of identification. You yourself acknowledge the confusion of keeping track of different anonymous posts.
    2. Comment only if you will identify yourself somehow. I don't care if your identity is "ihatedannywright" as long as people can see consistency of knowing your thoughts. Again, you don't have to give away the farm just for us to keep posts straight.
    3. Accept my apology. One difficult thing about the internet is that tone is impossible to judge in written form. If you truly were shocked, and thought I was accusing you of sin, for posting anonymously, that was not my intent. Please here me say I am not "condemning" you, but rather suggesting we can better build one another up if we can atleast keep track of who is saying what.
    4. I want to comment back. I was at a conference which one session (actually, before the conference) spoke about using the blogosphere to proclaim the gospel. One man commented that he thinks it is great ettiquite to respond to comments made. I agree (and as long as I'm not getting comments numbers like Pyromaniacs or something) and plan to keep responding to comments. But you make my job nearly impossible (and I assume you'd like dialogue when you post a comment) if I have no idea if you are the same person or not who made a comment last week, last post, or even the last comment.


That is why I encourage you to mark your comments somehow.

10 Comments:

  • At 10:30 PM, Blogger Chloe Lou said…

    Welp, Danny it's not me! You know I'm not afraid to tell you like it is. ha ha! But I understand your seriousness. (if that's a word)

     
  • At 9:53 AM, Blogger Gary Underwood said…

    Dude, on a much deeper level, I feel a similar sort of tension regarding the NBA Draft. Could you imagine the uproar in Madison Square Garden, as commissioner David Stern musters out the words, "And now, with the 20th pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, the New York Knicks select... Anonymous."

    I wouldn't put it past Isaiah to pull that one off. He has done far worse.

    Then again, some NBA teams complete trades by adding in "a player to be named later."

     
  • At 10:05 AM, Blogger ~d said…

    one other message i'd add in case the same anonymous read this:

    danny doesn't make a habit of dropping casual, thoughtless statements. if you ever wonder what he means by what he has written, just ask. you can almost bank on the fact that he's put a lot of thought behind his words.

    and he's happy to clear up any confusion.

    and if he's wrong, he doesn't hesitate to admit it.

     
  • At 11:45 AM, Blogger BugBlaster said…

    Hello Danny,
    Just wanted to say hello.

    I appreciate very much your thoughtful responses to Simon.

    anonymous ;-)

     
  • At 11:15 PM, Blogger curiouskatherine said…

    this is a comment for danny from katie

     
  • At 12:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi,
    I am a musician who has been impacted by Keith Green and I would be honored if you would check out my music, all music is free to download. I just wanted to share my music with People who love Jesus. www.SeanDietrich.com

    I don't want to be a pest, so if this really annoys you, please delete it and accept my humble apology.

    Thanks so much,
    -Sean
    ____________________
    www.SeanDietrich.com
    "All my music is free."

     
  • At 7:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I may not be a technological genus
    (example:my Lasik surgery e-mail)but I do read your blog and know your heart. I learn many things from you and also the comments of others. And you are correct,I only do the anonymous thing because
    it is all I can do to figure out the silly letters under the "Sign in here." line.

    Anonymoooooooo
    (Danny's Mom)

     
  • At 11:44 AM, Anonymous America's only soccer fan. said…

    Well, I had hoped to be able to read some websites and comment without people making a big deal about it, but you have called me (and apparently several others) out.

     
  • At 1:49 PM, Blogger danny2 said…

    is landon donovan reading my blog?

    sweet!

    (i look forward to many more comments, and knowing from where they came)

     
  • At 7:36 PM, Anonymous america's only soccer fan said…

    Sorry to disappoint you, but I am not Landon Donovan. I do like his name, though. Who is he - or she?

     

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