from the baby-with-the-bath-water dept
"Then the bullies, trolls, jerks, whatever you want to call them, found the thread. That's when the attacks started happening. It got very ugly very fast … With each attack, Anne tried to diffuse the situation and out these people for what they are: bullies. Well, that just made them frenzy even more. Eventually, I left the thread. It got too ugly for me. Anne stuck it out for a while, but finally she called it quits, too."It sounds to me that Anne might be new to the Internet, and hasn't quite learned yet that it's unhealthy and pointless to spend too many calories battling (or feeding, as it were) the vitriolic troll hordes. Rice's complaints also seem to falsely believe that said trolls have started targeting authors in particular, as opposed to them simply enjoying getting a rise out of her. The assumption seems to be that people would be nicer if they weren't anonymous, which simply isn't the case if you've spent any amount of time around the general public. In the petition however, Rice argues that killing anonymity can change everything for the better:
"By removing their anonymity and forcing them to display their real, verified identities, I believe that much of the harassment and bullying will cease. It may continue elsewhere on the web, but not on Amazon, the largest online retail marketplace in the world, where it really counts. Buyers of products on Amazon must have their identities verified, so it should be an easy transition to implement a policy whereby reviewers and forum participants must also have their identities verified."There's a difference between Amazon needing better comment moderation (violence and the worst sort of miserable commentary being deleted more quickly, obviously) versus killing off anonymity in the belief it will somehow magically deliver elevated discourse. As we've long argued at great length, anonymity in online comments can actually benefit the website, community and the overall discourse immensely. For every "Hotstud77" making fun of your nose, there's someone who is using a nom de plume to potentially add something useful to the conversation they might not have been able to anyway (a publisher or author that has something to add, for example, but doesn't feel free to do so under their "brand" name).
Yes, opening your comments to the anonymous hordes results in lots of crazy comments, but it also results in plenty of excellent insight that might otherwise never see the light of day.