Thanks to you as well for being civil!

So it seems to me that this might be a chicken-and-egg disagreement that we’re having. That is, if I’m understanding you correctly.

“Remaining anonymous simply gives power to those who perpetuate that sickness.”

This part of your response makes me think that you view anonymity as a sword, whereas I view it as a shield. Now of course I concede that a shield can be used offensively, just as a sword can be used defensively. The same holds true for anonymity. However, I also think anonymity is primarily a defensive weapon, just like a shield.

The premise I’m working off of is that a lot of people are just nasty, vicious people, and that their behavior won’t change if you take their anonymity away from them. I wholeheartedly agree that some of them would change if they were held accountable, but the smart ones will find ways to avoid the consequences, especially as technology continues to improve and (unintentionally) provides them with new tools to make other people’s lives miserable. In that context, I think anonymity is the best “shield” we have to protect ourselves from people like that.

So it seems the question is, would the removal of anonymity benefit normal, everyday people more than it would benefit the trolls, the jerks, and the legitimately violent people? If I understand your argument correctly, I think you’d say that it would benefit normal folks more because it would discourage the bad apples from doing what they do. Personally, I think it would benefit the bad apples more. I think that, in the absence of internet anonymity, they would have an easier time finding targets to attack and harass, and that they would find new ways to lash out at those targets both on and off the internet.

With that in mind, it’s totally cool if we just agree to disagree. In fact, we could all use a little more of that these days, if you catch my drift.

Also, if I’m at all wrong in my interpretation of what you’ve argued, please do correct me!

One last thing, though. You made a GREAT point about societies growing and evolving without anonymity. That part of your argument nearly changed my mind. But back then, people didn’t have as many tools to screw up your life as they do today. Today, some troll who lives a thousand miles away from you could make your life pretty miserable in a variety of ways without leaving the comfort of their basement. It obviously wasn’t like that a hundred years ago, or even just thirty or forty years ago, and I think the problem will only get worse as time goes on, for a whole host of reasons that I’m sure you already know.

Anyways, thanks again for the conversation! I actually enjoy disagreements (most of the time, lol). They keep my mind sharp. =)

Outer space enthusiast. Japanese history junkie. I write about politics, culture, and mental illness. Disagreement is a precursor to progress.

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