I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Anonymous posting on the Internet

In our sick Internet culture, arbitrary censorship of comments and commenters and blocking of IP addresses are considered perfectly acceptable but anonymous posting -- also called "sockpuppetry," using "multiple names," etc. -- is frowned upon. And many of those who condemn others for anonymous posting post anonymously themselves! For example, cybervandal "FeloniousMonk," a Wikipedia administrator, censored comments on the discussion page of the Wikipedia article on the Discovery Institute and left the message, "Comments from sock puppet of indef banned user avoiding ban removed." In fact, there are lots of Wikipedia administrators that use pseudonyms. BTW, these deletions violate the Wikipedia rule against "discussion page vandalism."

And it is more than a little stupid to expect someone who has been banned from a website to continue commenting there under his original name. And there are often attempts to guess the identity of anonymous commenters; in some cases, such guessing can amount to libel because of false attribution of statements to particular people.

Charges of "sockpuppetry," using multiple names, etc. are ad hominem attacks. Ad hominem attacks are made by people who can't rebut the message so they attack the messenger.

Two New York Times articles condemning "sockpuppets" are here and here. The website of the Scientific American magazine also has an article attacking anonymous posting on the Internet.

However, the Electronic Frontier Foundation says that there is nothing wrong with anonymous posting on the Internet:

Anonymous communications have an important place in our political and social discourse. The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that the right to anonymous free speech is protected by the First Amendment. A much-cited 1995 Supreme Court ruling in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission reads:

Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical, minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.

The tradition of anonymous speech is older than the United States. Founders Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay wrote the Federalist Papers under the pseudonym "Publius," and "the Federal Farmer" spoke up in rebuttal. The US Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized rights to speak anonymously derived from the First Amendment.

The right to anonymous speech is also protected well beyond the printed page. Thus, in 2002, the Supreme Court struck down a law requiring proselytizers to register their true names with the Mayor's office before going door-to-door.

BTW, the correct term for sockpuppetry is "Charlie McCarthyism." Edgar Bergen and his puppet Charlie McCarthy conversed with each other on a long-running radio program.
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3 Comments:

Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

Translation: Larry got busted yet again posting anonymously where he has been banned.

Sunday, September 02, 2007 7:42:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Wrong, dunghill, I just happened to notice these news articles now. I have been aware for a long time that the EFF supports anonymity on the Internet, so I threw that in too.

Hypocritical Kevin continues to ridicule my opposition to Internet censorship while taking advantage of my no-censorship policy.

Sunday, September 02, 2007 8:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> And it is more than a little stupid to expect someone who has been banned from a website to continue commenting there under his original name. <

Not as stupid as it is for that person to attempt to get around the ban by changing their name. Especially when their posts are so obvious.

> And there are often attempts to guess the identity of anonymous commenters <

In the case of your pseudonyms, this has been highly successful.

> in some cases, such guessing can amount to libel because of false attribution of statements to particular people. <

Again you show your ignorance of legal terms.

> Ad hominem attacks are made by people who can't rebut the message so they attack the messenger. <

You should then give up your ad hominem attacks.

> Hypocritical Kevin continues to ridicule my opposition to Internet censorship while taking advantage of my no-censorship policy. <

You have censored in the past and have admitted doing it. What "no-censorship" policy?

P.S. Why did you ban VIW?

Monday, September 03, 2007 10:23:00 AM  

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