Lose the anonymity, just put your name on it
Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 14:02
Do you see the byline directly above this article? How about the email address and Twitter account URL below? That’s my real name, email and Twitter. I’m not afraid to face any criticism or thoughts you have on this article. In fact, I’m glad to talk about anything I write in The Stylus. I only have one request before you message me: Make sure you use your real name too.
The Miami Herald recently became the latest news outlet to ban anonymous comments. Users of the site who want to comment on an article must sign in through their Facebook account to do so.
I think it’s the right thing for The Miami Herald to do and all news outlets should remove the ability to comment anonymously. It should even go a step further. Facebook and Twitter should remove any anonymous account found to be over the top with abusive, harassing, rude or threatening comments. There would be less “trolling,” threats and harassment. More importantly, people would feel less hesitation to share and express their opinions on these sites.
As football analyst Herm Edwards once said, “Just put your name on it.”
If you’re not man or woman enough to stand behind what you say, why even bother saying anything? There’s nothing honorable about hiding behind words; it’s just cowardly and gutless to say rude things to another person without showing yourself. Think about how it makes the other person feel.
I’m not necessarily a Tim Tebow fan, but what he went through this past season with the New York Jets was not fair. It seemed like every week he was under attack by a different anonymous source from inside his own locker room. They called him a bad player, somebody who couldn’t do anything for the team. Even though he wouldn’t say it in front of the media, that had to make him feel awful.
I’m not saying that teammates can’t call each other out. Kobe Bryant does it all the time. Knowing the people who are supposed to be on your side and encouraging you are actually attacking you without being able to talk to them about it just makes the situation worse. If you’re going to verbally attack someone, at least give them the ability to argue back at you. It’s only fair.
As an aspiring sports writer, I’m proud to show my name at the top of everything I write. I wouldn’t write if I couldn’t attach my name to something. There are times when I’m going to write something someone might not agree with or call someone out for something they said.
That’s part of being the media. Not everybody is going to agree with you all the time. There have been times when people have voiced their displeasure with what I wrote about them face to face.
But think of how absurd that conversation would be if they decided to don a black mask to conceal their identity. I could talk back to them, but I still wouldn’t know who it was. It wouldn’t even be worth responding to them. It’s the same principle on the Internet. If I can’t tell who you are, you aren’t getting a response because you’re not worth the time.
Internet bullying is a real problem. People have committed suicide over the terrible things posted about them online. Next time, before you click submit, think about it. Do you want to be the cause of somebody’s death because you posted something spiteful? While you and your friends might think what you’re doing is funny, death is never funny.
I’m sure many of you disagree with me and think the ability to be anonymous is wonderful. Feel free to express your thoughts to me, either with your name or without. However, if you’re going to do it anonymously, don’t expect an answer back from me in this lifetime.