Online Anonymity – Editorial by Jamie Gilcig – Cornwall Ontario – October 24, 2010

Cornwall ON – Online Anonymity.   It’s a hot topic on the internet.    In the purest sense there are privacy issues.  There are people that whistle blow.

There are people that for whatever reason have a valid purpose for not posting their names and in many cases we understand that.

The problem with anonymous posters is sometimes they are organised.  Sometimes they represent parties or companies who simply want to control the tenor of an online forum or discussion.   That changes the game.   That’s a different paradigm.   That’s why we insist that if a media person is posting they state so and why when I post on other media I always identify myself.

Furthermore contrary to popular belief if you see “Admin” posting it’s me.   I don’t use pseudonyms on this site.

There are liability laws.   Contrary to what some people think you can’t say whatever you want in this world.  Slander, libel, and there are lines that in many places while not held up immediately by a court of law very much still are crossing the line.

For example you can state things as opinion generally.  We here at The Cornwall Free News have many Letters to the Editor posted and these are signed by the poster.

However we have numerous people that think they can spill whatever crap they wish.  Unlike other papers that only have key word filters we actually will scrutinize posts before they go through.   You see it on facebook too where people say things that are insane and last forever.

The Free in the Cornwall Free News is that we will allow many facets of a position and opinions; many of course which I and many others don’t agree with.   We support a healthy exchange of opinion and dialog.  While I or others here may have their own opinions and beliefs we do offer our soapbox to others in good faith.

I am  a firm believer in “ideas”.    I like that people can share theirs and talk about them with others.  That’s the magic of the internet and when it’s done right it’s amazing and can change the world.

This election however has brought out some of the worst of people on the internet, and we’ve had to spend considerable time and resources scrutinizing many such posts.

Recently we had one prolific poster who is quite an intelligent person but they choose to push barriers.   One day I’m going to publish a magazine or site with all of the posts we haven’t allowed on the Cornwall Free News.

Well this poster started sending us all sorts of emails complaining and pointing fingers so I thought I’d write this editorial and ask you our beloved viewers what your opinion is when it comes to posting on The Cornwall Free News.

Currently as I’ve explained to this poster if they want to say certain things they simply have to drop their anonymity.  It’s that simple.  If you want to stay anonymous you don’t get to make certain type of attacks on public persons.

To me it’s simply not fair.

Please stay tuned for my blog.  I think my first article will be journalistic hyprocrasy in the Conrwall area.

So to this person and anyone that feels like them I encourage you to do exactly that.

Jamie Gilcig – Editor and Admin of The Cornwall Free News &

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of the Cornwall Free News, their staff, or sponsors.)

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  1. I completely agree with you! If someone feels the need to spew out of their mouth, they should also have the balls to announce who they are! It’ll allow the rest of us to weed out the idiots who think they know it all.

  2. Well said. Multiple points of view should always be welcome, but posters need to remember to be civil, factual and tolerant of other views. Also, prefer if someone is going to be critical of something or someone, please include what you would do differently. Hate aimless negativity when there is nothing constructive or factual behind it.

  3. Author

    One of the biggest criticisms I’ve heard of the Free Holder comments is that it’s the same people bashing each other. That chases away positive and diverse discussion. I’d like to hope that people would feel comfortable posting on The Cornwall Free News.

  4. Good piece, Jamie. Spellcheck is a good idea, too. Apropos, a person can be held liable for libel (slander in print).

  5. hmmm, though I believe in anonymity in many cases, I know this poster wasn’t myself. I have seen many a comment I have posted not get posted, so I know where you’re coming from Jamie. I’m pretty sure I know who this poster was, since I haven’t seen them post for quite a little bit now. And hey, I may post anonymously, but I like to make sure I research before I post something. And of course, you know my email address, you have most likely bumped into me many times, so if something I say goes over the top, I fully expect to hear back about it.. luckily, I haven’t yet.. must be some truth to much of what I post, I chalk it up to that! 😉

  6. This is an excellent post, Jamie. I, too have concerns with anonymous postings.

    As an occasional writer to the Cornwall Free News, I describe my views and and state my opinions on what I hope will be relevant topics for the community.

    However, it is easy to criticize and I also feel that some people are taking advantage of their anonymity by launching unnecessary and irrelevant attacks. I guess the obvious question is: why do people feel the need to be anonymous?

    Generally, if you believe in what you say and what you think, then you should be willing to sign your name to it. If you feel restrained by your employer or you become a whistleblower, the situation might be different. But there are ways to get the information out there and that’s what the Internet has done for us.

    Unfortunately, people have been educated to tow the line, avoid controversy and avoid asking tough questions. But the tough questions need to be asked and people should not be afraid to speak up.

    In fact, the majority of people ‘never’ speak up and that’s an even bigger problem, so I encourage all readers to respond to the content on this website.

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