The effect on human behavior has been known for years...( and made much of in various popular horror pictures)...
The Mask Effect.
That is, how we behave differently when shielded behind a mask, instead of people knowing who we are.
It's the reason behind problems during Halloween, bank robberies, and all sorts of other things from the mild to the offensive.
I got a small taste of it myself this week.
Last week, feeling comfortable with myself and my surroundings, I posted a response to someone's opinion on a local bulletin board. Not wanting to represent the station, myself, or anyone else, I used a pen name. But I didn't realize those closest to me might recognize a few details.
Sure enough, a friend approached me and asked if that was my "letter to the editor". I admitted it, but it made me uncomfortable.
I had felt secure behind my pen name, but when someone showed me that I wasn't still anonymous, it made me uncomfortable.
Why had I felt that way for so long? It was my own opinion, but I'm not sure that everyone would agree with it.
The problem is one that I have been wrestling with for several months:
We have a comment section on our website that allows people to sign in, use a different name, or even sign "Anonymous" or misspell it.
This has always bothered me, as several people have used the term "Anonymous". Now we have several people with contradictory points of view, all calling themselves "Anonymous". And it's getting confusing... how many people are there using the same name?
No one knows. And the more that use it, the more wild the comments posted. Even mean spirited! But not all of them.
Why not pick an unusual nick name or maybe a string of character that means nothing, but can be recognized and repeated?
It would seem to be an easy solution, but one that human nature defies.
We prefer to be anonymous. And if we truly feel anonymous, the poison pen sometimes comes out.
I don't think this should be permitted. With a few lines of programming, it could be changed. (And maybe it will.)
All that would be required is SOMETHING, ANYTHING be added to that blank. Otherwise it is not accepted. And not published.
Except, no one has asked me my opinion. And, I don't think they want to know what I think.
Maybe I should remain anonymous on this opinion. What do you think?
I'd really like to know if I'm alone in this.