Online Anonymity Take Two – Policy Shift on The Cornwall Free News – Cornwall Ontario – October 27, 2010

Cornwall ON – Wow what a difference a few words can make.   George Carlin and Lenny Bruce can only be looking from wherever their great spirits reside (if you believe in spirits) and only shake their heads and laugh at us all.

We’re a tiny media outlet.  We are proud of our 30,000 + viewers per month here on The Cornwall Free News, but sometimes even I can put my own beliefs out of perspective.

I’ve chatted with a lot of people since my first editorial and have decided on a new policy.    Starting as of today we will still allow our beloved Viewers to post using Pseudonyms, but their identies will have to be confirmed via email, phone etc.  Similar to a Letter to the Editor.

Our largest concern is having an environment that can spark real dialog about issues.  Not a playground for wolf packs or simply to abuse people, even gently.

Freedom of speech is so important in this world and shrinking so rapidly.  When I look at voter turnouts here in Cornwall and in Ottawa it frankly frightens me about all of our futures.

So if you want to post please remember that courtesy costs no money no matter how annoying that other person’s statements are.   Please note that we will verify your email address so please make sure the one you use to post is active, and thank you to everyone that helps make this the hottest growing news outlet in Eastern Ontario!

You can post your comments below.  Just take the specimen jar and go behind the curtain…..

Jamie Gilcig – Editor

The Cornwall Free News and

Do you support online anonymity?

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  1. If you believe in freedom of speech, as I do, surely you should have the courage to pen your name, and not hide behind the curtain of attacking individuals because you have anominity.

  2. Joe, your logic may be flawed.
    It’s what others believe that can cause problems.
    If I were to say something bad (that is true mind you) about a bad individual, a company, or government agency for example…well, they may not cherish free speech quite as you do.
    And Kevin also suggested we speak our minds, but surely an Orwell fan must know what became of the animals that spoke openly (even by invitation).

  3. Shades of 1984.

  4. How is this policy any different then what the site has been requiring for months now? I am not sure there is freedom of speech on this site. How many have had posts removed? I haven’t tried purposefully to attack anyone in any of my posts but can never be sure if “admin” will approve it. Hey! Who is “admin” anyway?

  5. If you believe in any form of freedom, don’t vote for these cons! Slowly they are sucking away all our freedoms!

  6. If the poster is indeed attacking individuals or associations or whatever, I believe that they should be using full names. As in a court of law, the defendant has the right to know their accuser. That being said I post occassionally using a couple of pseudonyms, usually for comedic reasons (which I think most people miss, but I digress).

    What I like about this site is that it does create some interesting threads, and it saddens me to see them degenerate into silliness and occasionally religion.

  7. Rodney
    I think you are misquoting ” As in a court of law, the defendant has the right to know their accuser”
    “They have the right to face their accuser “but may never truly know them

  8. I think it makes sense Jamie, constructive criticism is great, name calling is just simply rude.

  9. That’s hilarious coming from Tammy. Accusing anyone who has different views from hers of being a lefty or Liberal is “name-calling” in my opinion.

  10. I have what I think is an interesting twist on this. As a regulated health professional, there are certain topics that I may have a personal opinion on that I believe would contribute to the conversation, yet I am not allowed to respond to as a doctor. While my comments on this site are delivered personally and not professionally, many readers recognize my unique first name and immediately associate me as a chiropractor and may read my post as that of an authority. So, there is definitely a fine line.

    My feeling is that in most cases individuals should hold themselves accountable by posting their name. I do like the option of a verifiable pen name when faced with a topic I would like to personally comment on without misleading the readers by the letters after my name.

  11. Tammy Hart: Congratulations on your election. Good luck to you and all of your constituents, whatever their political leanings.

  12. Take a look, everybody, at today’s Globe and Mail, where conversation on the pros and cons of this very topic is under way..

  13. Author

    Hi PJR,

    I just looked at the G&M and for the life of me I’d swear that it’s two or three people posting with different user id’s to make a sly point…..

  14. I remember reading a microfiche of a German newspaper from the 1760’s. In it there was a proclamation from the King about a new law. “…anyone caught talking about ‘democracy’ would be hung…” There were similar laws in England as well. While studying Quaker history, I was reminded of the extreme punishments for Abolitionists in the American South, who circulated ideas against the black slave trade. During the occupation of France, in world war two, Jacques Ellul and his cohorts in the French Resistance circulated ideas and poison pen posters against the wolf at the door. And certainly much of the American revolution is covered with anon pen names dissing King George and his tax collectors. There is a long, honoured, respected and I think, sane decision to hide behind a name in order to attack or promote an idea whose time has come but with risk. It’s funny, the greatest fear of the powers that be is a bottle of ink.

  15. Author

    …especially if that bottle of ink belongs to a hairy azzed lawyer who is a threatening your livelyhood…..

  16. PJR Thank you, much appreciated.

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