In the past, I’ve expressed my distaste for anonymous bloggers and commenters.  Now the Lawrence (Kan.)Journal World & News tried to write about how people comment on news sites and blogs.  The paper discerned who its top 10 commenters were and asked them to participate in the story.  But to do so, they would need to reveal their real names. 

Of the 10, two use their real names, and one no longer actively comments.  The other seven refused to reveal themselves.

I think it’s cowardly.  The excuse that they would face retaliation in their professional lives or from those who oppose their views doesn’t hold water with me.  If you can’t stand behind what you say, don’t say it. 

I think it’s just another way of people refusing to take responsibility as they might do in other aspects of their lives.  Someone else is to blame and someone else needs to bail them out, but it’s not their fault.

The right to free speech was written into our constitution without the writers having the benefit of what was to come, of course.  While you could not reliably express yourself orally without people knowing who you are, you could in print, and many people did.  They simply wrote a pamphlet, didn’t sign it and distributed it.  So you could say that our founders were OK with the idea of anonymous comments.

Still, I’m not.   Two hundred odd years ago, you had to physically  distribute those comments to people one by one.  Today, those comments are read by millions instantly and then forwarded on to another million or so.

The reason most anonymous commenters do it, I suspect, is that they are afraid to defend their views and take the chance that those views might hurt them.