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Disappearance of anonymity on the internet

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Following the latest suggestion of Youtube to only post comments with your real name, it seems that the big players are all pushing to destroy anoymity on the internet.

I come from a generation where posting anonymously was the obvious choice.

Since myspace and especially since facebook it seems that this is no longer the case.

I struggle with the thought that anonymity is being fought against on the internet.

On one side law enforcement urges us not to use real names for safety reasons. On the other hand big companies urge you to use your real name, with the risk of being banned from their service if you don't (which in itself sounds rather ridicolous to me, that they're portraying themselves as something official while it's just a service), for commercial reasons and so called anti-troll reasons. Even though it has been proven that using real names has no effect on trolling or name calling etc. (see: http://techcrunch.com/2012/07/29/surprisingly-good-evidence-that-real-name-policies-fail-to-improve-comments/ ).

So what's everyone's take on this?

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It shows the trolls must be stopped

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What anonymity? Anybody who thinks that anything could be done on a medium whose root domain belongs to the DoD without being identified must take a reality check real quick. If some people got away with certain things it is not because it was unknown who did it but because it either was too petty, there were no laws against it or they are in a country unwilling to enforce those laws.

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Posted (edited)

For me this is a reflection of the idiocy of the average internet user. The internet is there for us to use, unfortunately it has been abused. Hate groups, bullying, rioting, trolling, paedophile sites etc are the excuses that people can use to monitor/control/censor the internet. Human nature is responsible for this situation, if everybody played nicely (sorry to sound like an idealist) there would be no ammunition to enforce these changes to the internet.

I am not saying that 'the powers that be' have not always wanted to remove internet anonymity, just we are playing into their hands and giving them the reasons they need to make change.

I think these changes are inevitable...

Edited by Junior Chubb
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What anonymity? Anybody who thinks that anything could be done on a medium whose root domain belongs to the DoD without being identified must take a reality check real quick. If some people got away with certain things it is not because it was unknown who did it but because it either was too petty, there were no laws against it or they are in a country unwilling to enforce those laws.

well of course, on a higher scale no one is completely anonymous...but for your immediate contact on the internet you are

for example a random person who posts a video on youtube and some other random person comments on it .. they are anonymous for each other.

and that's the issue, why the need to delete that anonymity

would it really be better, or would the internet become a strange place and would ppl eventually create a new forum where they can be anonymous?

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Posted (edited)

It shows the trolls must be stopped

For me this is a reflection of the idiocy of the average internet user. The internet is there for us to use, unfortunately it has been abused. Hate groups, bullying, rioting, trolling, paedophile sites etc are the excuses that people can use to monitor/control/censor the internet. Human nature is responsible for this situation, if everybody played nicely (sorry to sound like an idealist) there would be no ammunition to enforce these changes to the internet.

I am not saying that 'the powers that be' have not always wanted to remove internet anonymity, just we are playing into their hands and giving them the reasons they need to make change.

I think these changes are inevitable...

stop trolling ... or should ppl just stop being so sensitive to what random ppl say who don't even know them?

they can't attack a person's character if they don't even know the person...if that person takes everything so personal that easily ...i mean , that's a big part of the "idiocy" too

you can't have your cake and eat it at two... those ppl crying murder because of some comments are the same who want internet neutrality and are against things like ACTA-SOPA etc

all this need to diminish anonymity could have far reaching consequences...are ppl just gonna do whatever some internet service tells them to?

Edited by Render

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I think that no one is anonymous anymore whether on the internet or not.Before I had a p.c (about 4 yrs ago) I used to get and average of 5 to 6 junk mail POSTAL letters per week,now that I have a P.C its gone up to 10 to 15,per week,most of these are advertising letters, the rest from charities wanting you to donate,and some are reputable outfits like the Red Cross service, Lifeboats, Cancer Reseach etc...If I am supposedly anonymous, how do these people get my name and address ? Its not from the Electoral Roll as I have an X against allowing my name to be "bought", and in the phone book I am ex-directory.Now if you put your name into "search" on your p.c. details appear giving your address , your wifes name etc. so now ANONYMITY no longer happens.Big Brother is here,alert and definitely Watching You...

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stop trolling ... or should ppl just stop being so sensitive to what random ppl say who don't even know them?

they can't attack a person's character if they don't even know the person...if that person takes everything so personal that easily ...i mean , that's a big part of the "idiocy" too

you can't have your cake and eat it at two... those ppl crying murder because of some comments are the same who want internet neutrality and are against things like ACTA-SOPA etc

all this need to diminish anonymity could have far reaching consequences...are ppl just gonna do whatever some internet service tells them to?

Not to sure what you are getting at here Render, trolling is not just name calling. If you use YouTube regularly you will see the racist element that flares up with some videos, its disgraceful and fuelled by anonymity, most of these people would not leave the comments they do if they had to use there real names. Its a similar situation to what gets uploaded, people would think twice about uploading offensive material if they had to use their real names. Twitter is also a minefield of race based comments and trending topics. Facebook is just not as blatant or direct as people tend too use their real names.

If you look at the London Riots of last year and how people used Social Media to organising looting, another reason fro people to remove anonymity from the web. There are numerous examples of Social Media being used to promote anti social activities and bullying that leads to physical violence.

I do not necessarily agree with the steps that people want to take to control the web and remove anonymity, but there is enough cause out there for them to do so and web users have nobody to blame but ourselves.

I see what you mean about the 'flamers' will be the ones who want to keep the web anonymous, I would be in favour of anonymity and I only troll occasionally. ;)

The same argument can be levelled at Identity cards, if you have do no wrong you have nothing to hide...

I have mentioned before that I think the web will split in two at some point in the future, regulated and unregulated. I really do think this is how things will go. then people will not have to do what ISP's tell them. A bit like TV now, you can watch it legitimately or watch it illegally...

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As far as trolling, racism, hate and bullying etc. Then it isn't a bad thing. We need to filter the **** out of the system.

It's only when it starts filtering opinions and important informaiton out it becomes a breach of our freedom.

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well of course, on a higher scale no one is completely anonymous...but for your immediate contact on the internet you are

for example a random person who posts a video on youtube and some other random person comments on it .. they are anonymous for each other.

and that's the issue, why the need to delete that anonymity

would it really be better, or would the internet become a strange place and would ppl eventually create a new forum where they can be anonymous?

In your original post you gave readers the courtesy of using capitalization.

I was going to participate in this thread, but in your next two posts you did not.

Weird.

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I was going to participate in this thread, but in your next two posts you did not.

Looks like you just did :tu:

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In your original post you gave readers the courtesy of using capitalization.

I was going to participate in this thread, but in your next two posts you did not.

Weird.

So are you the capitalization Nazi? No thread for you. Seriously, does it matter? Can you not understand what he is saying in his post?

Oh and by the way, there are rules against complaining about others spelling and grammar!

Lighten up! There's more important things in life.....

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Following the latest suggestion of Youtube to only post comments with your real name, it seems that the big players are all pushing to destroy anoymity on the internet.

I come from a generation where posting anonymously was the obvious choice.

Since myspace and especially since facebook it seems that this is no longer the case.

I struggle with the thought that anonymity is being fought against on the internet.

On one side law enforcement urges us not to use real names for safety reasons. On the other hand big companies urge you to use your real name, with the risk of being banned from their service if you don't (which in itself sounds rather ridicolous to me, that they're portraying themselves as something official while it's just a service), for commercial reasons and so called anti-troll reasons. Even though it has been proven that using real names has no effect on trolling or name calling etc. (see: http://techcrunch.co...prove-comments/ ).

So what's everyone's take on this?

Trolls are Trolls, regardless of anonymity. That doesn't surprise me.

The main difference is that using real names will eventually have an impact on people's life due to employer's et al looking you up on Google. A lot of employer's are extremely strict about company image, and if there's a direct "paper trail" which associates your company and a viewpoint they disagree with via you - then you're going to run into a world of trouble.

It should probably also be noted that the US government already know exactly what you do on the Internet.

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Trolls are Trolls, regardless of anonymity. That doesn't surprise me.

The main difference is that using real names will eventually have an impact on people's life due to employer's et al looking you up on Google. A lot of employer's are extremely strict about company image, and if there's a direct "paper trail" which associates your company and a viewpoint they disagree with via you - then you're going to run into a world of trouble.

I'm forbidden to mention the name of my employer or allude to my employer online unless it's for personal business reasons. And as I work in Personnel, I know we employ people who's job, in part, is to surf the web looking for mention of our company name. As you say, employers take this extremely seriously. Image is more than just "important".

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Posted (edited)

Not to sure what you are getting at here Render, trolling is not just name calling. If you use YouTube regularly you will see the racist element that flares up with some videos, its disgraceful and fuelled by anonymity, most of these people would not leave the comments they do if they had to use there real names. Its a similar situation to what gets uploaded, people would think twice about uploading offensive material if they had to use their real names. Twitter is also a minefield of race based comments and trending topics. Facebook is just not as blatant or direct as people tend too use their real names.

If you look at the London Riots of last year and how people used Social Media to organising looting, another reason fro people to remove anonymity from the web. There are numerous examples of Social Media being used to promote anti social activities and bullying that leads to physical violence.

I do not necessarily agree with the steps that people want to take to control the web and remove anonymity, but there is enough cause out there for them to do so and web users have nobody to blame but ourselves.

I see what you mean about the 'flamers' will be the ones who want to keep the web anonymous, I would be in favour of anonymity and I only troll occasionally. ;)

The same argument can be levelled at Identity cards, if you have do no wrong you have nothing to hide...

I have mentioned before that I think the web will split in two at some point in the future, regulated and unregulated. I really do think this is how things will go. then people will not have to do what ISP's tell them. A bit like TV now, you can watch it legitimately or watch it illegally...

oh wow, you took it to an extreme there. I didn't even think about racist comments, haven't really seen those on youtube.

I thought of trolling and flaming being more like those "this clip is gay" comments.

Or ppl giving their wildest explanation why they don't agree with a comment or videoclip or whatever, in a non filtered way ... but it still remains funny cuz it's just meaningless.

Maybe it's because i've learned from the beginning to not take ppl on the internet to seriously. Every banter comment can be taken with a bag of salt.

But to go back to the racist remarks and just heavy attacks in general, There are already options for that with example the "report abuse" buttons.

Why isn't this enough?

they want to prevent it, okay...but then you have the risk of preventing a whole lot of funny flaming. I'd miss it.

Especially since ppl take every lil thing so personal these days. Ppl can freak about a simple comment like "this clip is gay" cuz it's not politically correct or whatever. But it just doesn't mean anything.

That's why i think somethings gotta give on both sides.

It's like we live in the "everything should be taken as a personal attack" - age. Way too many ppl are playing the victim on the internet, a lot of times over nothing.

I of course agree that heavy attacks should not be allowed, but report abuse buttons can be a big help in this. Or AI-wordsearches that automatically prevent ppl from posting very loaded racist or otherwise comments. This technology already exists, but can use some fine tuning. Why not go with that option instead of making ppl lose anonymity and expose them to different threats from their immediate readers.

Would you feel at ease if you post something on youtube with your real name and then suddenly someone looks you up on facebook to harrass you for it?

It just seems very tricky

Edited by Render
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Trolls are Trolls, regardless of anonymity. That doesn't surprise me.

The main difference is that using real names will eventually have an impact on people's life due to employer's et al looking you up on Google. A lot of employer's are extremely strict about company image, and if there's a direct "paper trail" which associates your company and a viewpoint they disagree with via you - then you're going to run into a world of trouble.

It should probably also be noted that the US government already know exactly what you do on the Internet.

yet, there's already proof that ppl don't change their behaviour when using real names. And caring about employers?

Look at the new generation posting all those overly sexy pictures of themselves, or being completely drunk ... they don't care about their future or current employers.

This seems more like a strategic move for commercial reasons, rather than to protect ppl from themselves.

As far as trolling, racism, hate and bullying etc. Then it isn't a bad thing. We need to filter the **** out of the system.

It's only when it starts filtering opinions and important informaiton out it becomes a breach of our freedom.

i agree, we could filter the system.

And as i've posted in above comments, i don't think a real name basis is necessary for this.

and with your second comment i completely agree. Tricky tricky.

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Posted (edited)

oh wow, you took it to an extreme there. I didn't even think about racist comments, haven't really seen those on youtube.

I thought of trolling and flaming being more like those "this clip is gay" comments.

Or ppl giving their wildest explanation why they don't agree with a comment or videoclip or whatever, in a non filtered way ... but it still remains funny cuz it's just meaningless.

Maybe it's because i've learned from the beginning to not take ppl on the internet to seriously. Every banter comment can be taken with a bag of salt.

But to go back to the racist remarks and just heavy attacks in general, There are already options for that with example the "report abuse" buttons.

Why isn't this enough?

they want to prevent it, okay...but then you have the risk of preventing a whole lot of funny flaming. I'd miss it.

Especially since ppl take every lil thing so personal these days. Ppl can freak about a simple comment like "this clip is gay" cuz it's not politically correct or whatever. But it just doesn't mean anything.

That's why i think somethings gotta give on both sides.

It's like we live in the "everything should be taken as a personal attack" - age. Way too many ppl are playing the victim on the internet, a lot of times over nothing.

I of course agree that heavy attacks should not be allowed, but report abuse buttons can be a big help in this. Or AI-wordsearches that automatically prevent ppl from posting very loaded racist or otherwise comments. This technology already exists, but can use some fine tuning. Why not go with that option instead of making ppl lose anonymity and expose them to different threats from their immediate readers.

Would you feel at ease if you post something on youtube with your real name and then suddenly someone looks you up on facebook to harrass you for it?

It just seems very tricky

Sorry about the extremity :blush: but trolling has all types of levels, from what you mention, to what I mention. Maybe we watch different videos, it made me stop using YouTube for a while, hopefully things have improved in regards to the techniques you mentioned. Also what people class a offensive varies wildly. It is very tricky indeed.

The trouble with the report button is that we (I) don't use it enough, I admit I don't even though I see comments that deserve it.

Losing humurous flaming would definitely be a loss (50% of my posts probably). In fact I agree with all of your post. Anonymity is an important part of how the web works, I am not in favour of losing this.

My point was, 'the powers that be' will impose a lot more control over the internet but what they need are excuses to take this control. Too many internet users give them these excuses and we will probably see the results of this in the long run.

Edited by Junior Chubb

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A little turn-around point has been reached:

Google decided to allow anonymous profiles on Google+:

"'It's important to use your common name,' Google explains in its Google+ ground rules, 'so that the people you want to connect with can find you.' Using a 'secondary online identity,' the search giant adds, is a big Google+ no-no. 'There are lots of places where you can be anonymous online,' Betanews' Joe Wilcox notes. 'Google+ isn't one of them.' Got it. But if online anonymity is so evil, then what's the deal with Google's newly-awarded patent for Social Computing Personas for Protecting Identity in Online Social Interactions? 'When users reveal their identities on the internet,' Google explained to the USPTO in its patent application, 'it leaves them more vulnerable to stalking, identity theft and harassment.' So what's Google's solution? Providing anonymity to social networking users via an 'alter ego' and/or 'anonymous identity.' So does Google now believe that there's a genuine 'risk of disclosing a user's real identity'? Or is this just a case of Google's left hand not knowing what its right hand is patenting?"

http://tech.slashdot...le-patenting-it

Maybe they are finally starting to get it.

Edited by Render

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What if it became mandatory to make a facebook or such with all your real info.

I agree that trolls wont go away from using their real names.

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What if it became mandatory to make a facebook or such with all your real info.

I agree that trolls wont go away from using their real names.

I am glad I am not in the least interested in things like Facebook, Hi5, Friendster (gone), MySpace, and so on.

But how would Facebook know I am using my real name? Do they also do passport checks??

,

Edited by Abramelin
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Maybe they are finally starting to get it.

Maybe they realize they are losing customers.

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Sorry about the extremity :blush: but trolling has all types of levels, from what you mention, to what I mention. Maybe we watch different videos, it made me stop using YouTube for a while, hopefully things have improved in regards to the techniques you mentioned. Also what people class a offensive varies wildly. It is very tricky indeed.

As you may know, I started a thread in the "Alternative History" forum about an African tribe called the Serer.

So yeah, I many times ended up on YouTube where someone from (West) African descent had posted a video,

If such a person showed any kind of "African pride", you would not believe what comments he got.

You'd think you were eavesdropping on a secret KKK meeting or something.

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As you may know, I started a thread in the "Alternative History" forum about an African tribe called the Serer.

So yeah, I many times ended up on YouTube where someone from (West) African descent had posted a video,

If such a person showed any kind of "African pride", you would not believe what comments he got.

You'd think you were eavesdropping on a secret KKK meeting or something.

This is exactly what I found, YouTube does seem to have dark racial based undertones, is it a side effect of anonymity or a reflection of society in general? Either way it has lessened my use of YouTube. I feel they should do better at controlling such content, or at least keep comments hidden until you sign up.

I stopped using Twitter a while ago as it seemed every time I logged on many of the 'trending topics' were racially based...

#WhiteFolksLike or #BlackFolksLike etc. Although most of the Tweets using these hash-tags are of a comical nature anyone of any sense knows they are just reinforcing stereotypes and causing division. I also wonder what starts these 'trending topics' in the first place, innocent attempts at humour or disguised calculated attacks. Having said that though, I set up a Twitter account for a client today and was pleased to see no 'racially based' trending topics, maybe Twitter is getting on top of things.

It does leave the question though, should Twitter clean things up or just let the users get on with using it how they want to?

Edited by Junior Chubb

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But how would Facebook know I am using my real name? Do they also do passport checks??

Facebook cannot 'force' you to use your real credentials online, but because of the way you are linked with friends and family it is a lot easier to trace who you are or who you could be through association, location, photo tagging. Of course all of this is avoidable, but I would say the average Facebook user is easier to track down than the average YouTube user.

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I'm forbidden to mention the name of my employer or allude to my employer online unless it's for personal business reasons. And as I work in Personnel, I know we employ people who's job, in part, is to surf the web looking for mention of our company name. As you say, employers take this extremely seriously. Image is more than just "important".

I hope they don't spend too much time "searching". Just go to Google Alerts and get it for free. Every mention of your company name on the internet will be sent to the registrant by email.

You can even put your own name into it and find out how many times it appears.

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