Anonymous

On our drive back from dinner at a nice little Italian restaurant today, my Dad - for reasons only known to himself - decided to go on a mad rant about anonymity on the Internet and how it's such a bad, dangerous thing. People, he argued, should be willing to stand up for their opinions, put a face and a location behind it. Like that guy from the famous photograph in Tiananmen Square, he said. He took a stand for what he believed in and he didn't fear the consequences - except nobody now knows who he was and it's widely believed he was executed by the Chinese secret police. But hey, he took a stand right?

My sister, my boyfriend and I were in the back seat and all three of us were very definitely opposed to this argument. As children of the age of Youtube and 4chan, we value our anonymity online. We see the value of having places to think and talk and exchange ideas without having to put names and faces to our arguments and beliefs. We know the dangers of speaking out against the powers that be; whether it's complaining about corrupt moderators on a private forum somewhere or airing the horrible truths behind the institution of Scientology.

The argument went back and forth without making much headway; neither side were willing to budge on our opinion of the matter. I'm not sure what sparked that argument, but it makes me uncomfortable to know that my Dad believes that the only people who value anonymity online are trolls and would-be terrorists.

I've noticed that people have a tendency to use the adjective form of this word instead of the noun in most situations.

You are much more likely to hear someone say "I value being anonymous," over "I value anonymity."

It's just one of those funny little things I notice.

The word spontaneous is the same way.

View Thinker #49a4f7's profile

that's cause everyone is scared they'll pronounce it funny...

View Thinker #277dd3's profile

Ooh! I know this one etymologically! It's hard to go from N to M to T, which is basically a modified N. Our mouths want to make it "anonynity" because it's easier to pronounce. This is a process called assimilation. As for "spontaneity," I'm at a loss.

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As far as I can tell, everyone on here knows at least a few other people IRL. This makes sense since this appears to be the brainchild of only a few people, and since Ether doesn't advertise, it spread by word of mouth through scensters, and then their friends. Now it's old enough and big enough it seems to be growing outside of Muncie. I know one poster on here is in MA, she found the link through a post I made on a forum. Anyway, my point is, I only know one person on here IRL. Well, I probably know more, but I don't know what color they are on here, so it doesn't mess with the anonymity. The person I know I've never had a problem with reading my stuff or telling my thoughts (probably to the point where they see a post of mine and go "Oh crap, it's her. I'm not reading that.") and the other people I've communicated with I don't know. So I get total anonymity as far as I'm concerned. But I don't think it's that way for everyone, and that seems unfortunate. Has knowing someone you know will read your stuff affected anyone's posting habits? I'm curious.

View Thinker #418656's profile

Yea, some times it makes it awkward to know some of the other people by their squares. it makes me wonder if they'll judge me by what i've written despite the fact that we are such good friends. Then, other times, i look forward to them looking at my thoughts. I don't know how I feel over all about it though. I'm glad you made this thought though.

View Thinker #000000's profile

You could always register a few different colors and post to them all.

View Thinker #5f1f0a's profile

Sometimes I worry about what they'll think about me, but generally I don't really care. There's kind of a rule that we don't judge each other on anything that's written on here. However, if there is something that I have to be secret then I sign on to my other account. It's a good system really.

View Thinker #1f6774's profile

I don't know anyone from here IRL. I do know a few outside of the ether, but none IRL.

There's also people that I wish I could show the ether to, but fear they'd be too adept at finding out which thoughts are mine - people I don't want to know my darkest inner demons. Alas.

View Thinker #adb9f2's profile

I hide nothing, if you ask me I tell you, I put my thoughts down on just about any and every surface or platform I can just to get them out of my head in order to function in every day life. I'm not very unique none of us are really most of our thoughts and feelings have belonged to someone else at some point in time so I don't let any of it bother me if they feel the need to judge me or think differently of me because of what it is I think or feel thats totally their problem not mine.

View Thinker #f5253f's profile

I know quite a few people on the ether IRL, and by color. Some of them know that I know their color, some of them don't.

I know some people know me as well.

That makes me sort of nervous.

I've admitted things about myself here that even my best friends don't know, or wouldn't know.

View Thinker #fefefe's profile

that's what I thought too. on my old account I knew people and I was very obvious about who I was offline because I didn't mind sharing with strangers like that. I knew people and I wrote thoughts knowing they would read them.

things have changed and I have lost faith in internet people now.

so I made a new login that's as anonymous as I can get without using an internet café or a proxy to scramble my originating IP, because that would just be silly.

View Thinker #77406d's profile

Thank you everybody, for your comments. And Albino, why did you ever have faith in internet people?

View Thinker #fefefe's profile

I was young and naive, now I am old and bitter.

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