In any community, there are people who are just flat-out insane who would be better off feeding bread crumbs to ducks and capturing armadillos in order to use their shells against government brain-waves.
No more is this evident than comments you see on local blogs.
The reason? Blog hosts can choose to remain anonymous. Their posters can remain anonymous. Therefore, it gives them a license to spew whatever verbal garbage that comes out of their mouths, without worrying about being accountable for their statements.
A perfect example of this is a local blog called Flippin’ Amsterdam. It’s a site where the host refuses to disclose his identity (even thought most people around here know who you are). The host also allows users to use fake names, and in some cases, allows people to use handles that may slander real people.
Hiding behind a wall of anonymity allows people to grow muscles they wouldn’t have if they put their actual name out into the public. My thought has always been that if you truly believe in what you’re saying, then you shouldn’t be afraid to put your name behind it.
If you want a great example of what I’m arguing, check out this thread at Flippin Amsterdam. Notice that the people at least using their real first names are making serious arguments for their positions, while those who are hiding behind fake names are the ones making vicious attakcs.
UPDATE: In the spirit of fairness, the conversation on this thread has since moved on to actual issues and civil discourse. Which, as Martha Stewart says, is a good thing.