Three notes on blogging

On praying for General Convention

I have neglected to mention that the assiduous Karen B. of Lent & Beyond is maintaining a special series of blogger contributions again, this time in the countdown to General Convention. Readers should check it out—our world may be a very different place a little more than a month from now.

On Continuing Anglicanism

Recently, a new blog was created for Continuing Anglicans, i.e., those who are in the “Continuing” movment begun in 1977 after the passage of legislation by General Convention authorizing the “ordination” of women. Make a visit to The Continuum. Obviously, I do not entirely agree with the blog owners (Fathers Matthew Kirby, Robert Hart and someone called Albion), since I am (at least for now) still a member of an ECUSA parish, albeit a very conservative one. However, I am sympathetic, and some of their posts have been quite interesting and informative.

On pseudonymity

Just the other day, Kendal Harmon of titusonenine put up a post entitled “An Open Thread on a Proposed Comment Policy Change.” “Open” it certainly is—as of now it has had 252 comments. That might seem like a lot to wade through if you are concerned about your time, but I would recommend it. The post raises in a serious way several issues relating not just to titusonenine in particular, but to blogging and commenting in general. Most especially, the principal concern of those commenting in that particular thread was about people who choose to comment anonymously by using an obvious pseudonym. The discussion even got a bit heated, which I suppose is the very reason Canon Harmon brought it up in the first place, i.e., how to control discussion while maintaining both openness and civility.

There is a genuine moral issue here. When is internet pseudonymity just a lighthearted gag? When is it cowardice, an unwillingness to take responsibility for what one writes, a failure to stand up for what one believes is the truth? When is it an abuse, a chance to pretend you are someone else or an opportunity to see how many people you can piss off without suffering any consequences? When is it a necessary shield to protect the writer from any sort of retribution and help the free flow of discussion that might otherwise be stifled by requiring identification? This is the Age of Google, after all. Put your real name out there and trust me, folks will find you. I just Googled myself using my real name and came across nothing that bothered me, but certainly created a trail for anyone who wanted, for example, to use my address at work, including my working e-mail address, for either good or ill. I also found archived contributions I had made to e-mail list-servs from ten years ago or more. What happens in cyberspace, stays in cyberspace.

If you go to the thread, you can read my own contributions at #’s 74 and 159. I made a few other comments, but those two contain the main substance of why I do not put my real name in the “Name” box for comments on other blogs or advertise it here. There are advantages to semi-anonymity (I’ll explain the “semi” below), but also disadvantages. I’ve never been “memed” or “tagged” by another blogger (sniff!), perhaps out of respect for my desire for privacy, and no one has ever invited me to speak at some gathering or conference or whatever of distraught Anglicans. More importantly, some people resent what seems to them to be a case of hiding in the shadows.

So how do I take responsibility for what I publish on the internet here? My own policy remains as follows: I do not, in fact, intend to remain in hiding. Anyone who wants to know my name has but to click on the e-mail connection to the right and send me a request. That allows me to own up to anything I write here while minimizing my Google profile, so to speak. So anyone—clergy or lay, friend or foe, delighted or aggrieved—who is curious or interested or outraged can ask, and I’ll tell. That is actually more exposure than many others are willing to risk. Warning: if you do ask, you will almost certainly be disappointed. I can just about guarantee that you have never heard of me. Meanwhile, I don’t care if you use your real name or call yourself Paris Hilton when you post a comment here. Things can always change, of course, but I’ve never had the kind of traffic that Kendall Harmon gets and I doubt I ever will. In the two plus years I’ve had this blog, I think I have deliberately deleted exactly one comment that wasn’t spam or a duplicate, and even that one wasn’t really offensive, it just touched on something that I thought shouldn’t be brought up, for reasons I explained to the commenter.

Now, back to lamenting last night’s 14 to 3 Yankee loss to the Sox . . .

Wednesday night update: Yanks 7, Boston 3!

Thursday night update: Boston 5, Yanks 3. At least there’s the weekend to look forward to . . .

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One Response to “Three notes on blogging”

  1. Harris Litts Says:

    Good description. I enjoy make out the print IMDB

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