Anonymous Blogging

One of the most common complaints about the blogosphere as a legitimate news and/or educational source is the anonymity that is possible within the internet. As has been continually noted, with only a computer and internet access anyone can publish his or her thoughts onto the web.

However, we should not forget the need, at times, for anonymity. As political humorist Ana Marie Cox noted while speaking in the “Who is a Journalist?” panel held at the National Press Club today, works such as The Federalist Papers and Thomas Paine’s Common Sense were published anonymously for the safety of the writers from those in power. In a more contemporary example, the ea_spouse blog was created anonymously so that the spouse of an Electronic Arts employee could make public EA’s treatment of employees during a “crunch time” for a product’s development. As the author notes, “I am retaining some anonymity here because I have no illusions about what the consequences would be for my family if I was explicit.” The blog started to receive a good deal of press, and has resulted in EA changing its policy to now pay some developers by the hour (they were salaried and, according to the blog, working 85 hour work weeks with no overtime of comp pay), a class action lawsuit against EA, and the formation of Gamewatch, which is meant to be a “non-corporate-sponsored watchdog organization specifically devoted to monitoring quality of life in the game industry.” These actions would not have been possible if the parties involved were not able to air their grievances publicly yet anonymously.

Recently the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), most known for their defense of those targeted by the RIAA, released an article focusing on how best to blog anonymously. Go to their article for more information.

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