Individual accountability and anonymous behavior / by kevin murray

There are plenty of people that love costume parties, such as one would wear at a Halloween party or any party allowing the participants to dress up in a manner that obscures who they are.  The reason that so many people enjoy putting on a disguise is that they are able to believe, rightly or wrongly, that because they are disguised, that they are no longer as directly accountable for their behavior.  That is to say, people that deliberately wear costumes for events, often spend an inordinate amount of time deciding what costume to wear, and believe that by becoming something that they are not, are therefore able to behave in a manner that most people would not identify them as, or hold them accountable to in real life.


The thing about anonymity in regards to the internet or other places of interest, and in the utilization of pseudonyms and so forth, is that those that do so believe that they have added a layer of protection from being identified, therefore meaning that they are no longer seen as an individual person but are instead, simply anonymous.  On the positive side, believing that one is anonymous, allows that person to express themselves more freely, which some people believe is necessary, especially when they are involved in their normal life with individuals and organizations that are narrow-minded and too restrictive, thereby precluding them from freely expressing themselves. The downside of that anonymity is that those that feel that they will not be exposed or ever personally identified, can buy into the attitude, that they therefore can be especially scathing and uncivil in what they say and how they behave, because they believe, that since they cannot be identified, that they are therefore personally safe from any retribution or consequences.


This signifies that some of those that are anonymous in their online persona or elsewhere view themselves as no longer having individual accountability as to what they are saying, and who they are saying this to.  This type of attitude, has a strong tendency to create situations in which anonymous people can be especially ugly and hurtful towards others, of which, the only sure way to mitigate such, is to thereby have exposed the true identity of that anonymous person, for once that anonymous person is exposed, they are therefore subject to their opponents having a fair chance to retaliate in what has been an unfair fight.


This means that in any group situation or online forum populated with anonymous people, the very best way to address a situation that has become toxic, is to identify that person or persons as to who they really are, which thereby creates a situation in which that formerly anonymous identity is now exposed, and therefore that person will in the natural course of events quickly find that they are subsequently taking on the personal cloak of responsibility for their actions and are no longer able to hide behind an identity that has now been successfully compromised.


While there is something positive to be said about costumes, anonymity, and pseudonyms; there is also something wholesome and refreshing to be said about the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.