Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The Big Change

Three years ago I disabled comments on the blog and directed people to make their comments on Facebook. It was a risk. There was a possibility that I’d lose reader responses with the change. But my motivation stemmed from a particular kind of commenter: the anonymous troll. I’d had enough.

After three years I can say it has been a success. Comments are now limited to people who are willing to “put their name on their work.” Yes, it is possible to create false identities on Facebook but in three years I haven’t been plagued too much by that. It was so much simpler for them to click “submit” when they could make their mark while still hiding in the darkness.

That’s just cowardice, and I am not obliged to enable it.

Anonymity is important for whistleblowers. And restaurant critics. On social media you should be willing to stand by what you say. If you wouldn’t want your family or employer to know you said it, that should be a big clue that it’s not appropriate to put out there in public. As far as anonymous social media accounts and blogs are concerned, I think you lose credibility by refusing to take ownership of your work. There's no law to prevent it. Just don’t expect people to trust you or what you have to say.

I put my name on my work every day and I’m grateful for all my readers who do the same by engaging via their thoughtful responses. It takes guts to stand by your word. You should be proud of that.

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