Saturday, October 11, 2008

Anonymity peeve

I don't know how much this ties in with esoterica, except that a lot of people in this field seem to do this, and it's really getting to me. Okay, here goes:

My pet peeve this week is people who post unpleasant comments about other people, researchers, authors, what have you, on various blogs, and who hide behind nicknames, user names, and avatars that don't reveal themselves.

In all my years on the internet, I have always used my own name. (I think -- it's been a long time.) And when I've commented on someone else's work, I've tried to be respectful when I felt it necessary to explain how I disagreed with their conclusions or their viewpoint. But over the past few years, I've seen a lot of negative comments about a lot of people, not just myself, that are posted in places where the person being discussed won't necessarily see them. To me, this is the same as talking about someone behind their back. And it's worse, to me, when the one making the comments won't even do so under their own, real name.

I understand that many people have good reasons for not wanting to make their identity public in this field. That's fine, I can respect that. But please don't use that as a mask to hide behind, in order to attack people. A great many people use nicknames, user names and avatars to protect their privacy and are very careful to be as respectful to others online as they are in person.

Let me state right here and now that if someone disagrees with me on any point, I'd much prefer to get a polite e-mail at, raising the matter for discussion. I will be happy to respond in a respectful way, and to answer your questions and concerns as best I can. However, I do want to know whom I'm dealing with, so please identify yourself by more than a clever user name.

I've seen some really vicious comments about myself and about other researchers I know.This is not helpful. Disagreements and discussions are great -- I welcome them! But name-calling and personal attacks are not only unhelpful, but immature as well, and do nothing to advance our work in these fields of ufology, paranormal research, etc.

I know I can't please everyone, and I don't try to. I try to live in a way that will allow me to hold my head up each day, and not wince when I look myself in the eye in the mirror. That's the best I can do.

I'm sure others have had this issue come up. I've been talking with several people who have, just this week. How do you, the reader of this blog, handle it? I'm very interested to hear everyone's thoughts on this. Am I being unreasonable, or naive, or childish?

Okay, getting down off my soapbox now. Thanks for listening, everyone!


Regan Lee said...

Hi Karen,

This is an important issue, and I think it's good to bring it to light every now and then. You're right that there are others out there who lie, spread rumors, insult, and attack while hiding behind screen names.

When I first started going on-line, I used screen names. There were two reasons for doing this: one, it was fun, just being creative and coming up with interesting names. Two, I wanted to protect myself. But as time went on and I became more active on line, I decided to use only one name: my own.

I did that to keep myself honest. Every time I post on line, it's me -- and I have to take responsibility for what I say.

Still, there are so many out there who have nothing better to do than play sick games online, -- some insist that Regan Lee isn't my real name! Ironically, they hide behind screen names themselves.

I don't think it's at all unreasonable or naive to expect adults to behave themselves. And it isn't childish -- the ones who are childish are the ones behaving like bullies and brats.

How do I personally handle it? For the most part, I ignore them, not responding to them. Sometimes I'll write a rant but not name names; no point in it, and after all, it's the behavior that's the issue. Well, the person doing the behavior obviously, but again, why go there.

(skeptoids and debunkers don't count; I refuse to engage with them directly.)

I've had to really hold my tongue when I've come across outright lies about me, it's been (and is) very difficult to keep quiet. But I have. For one thing, it just doesn't do any good; people who like to play in this kind of muck enjoy the attention, and they just keep on lying, etc.So, I ignore them pretty much, now and then get inspired and write "around" them, or, on rare occassions, just come out with it and will make a comment, usually in a mocking or a humorous way. It's just not worth getting "into it" with others. Even if it's fun sometimes. (evil grin) Because soon you find it really isn't "fun" and it never stops, and it's certainly non productive. And I know this will sound very corny but it isn't very spiritual or puts good vibes out there.

Karyn said...

Thanks, Regan, that's really helpful. I'm sorry you have to go through this as well, but I'm glad it's not just me! :)

I wasn't even sure it was a good idea to put this out there -- the kind of people who do this sort of thing will probably take it as a signal to go full speed ahead. Whatever. I needed to say it, now I guess I need to let it go. Thank you!

Lesley said...

I am pretty much like Regan. Sometimes I make a sarcastic reply and sometimes I just ignore it. I guess it depends what mood I am in.

There used to be a time where I actually tried explaining why my view differed from theirs and tried to communicate with those types, but it is useless. Giving trolls any real attention only makes them worse.

Regan Lee said...

Most of them are trolls, but some aren't, some should know better, do use their real names, and yet, instead of discussing UFOS or the paranormal or Bigfoot, etc. they attack others, often in the ways mentioned above. I'm always a little shocked at that. Those types I ignore as well, except sometimes I'll go off on a Church Lady rant and write something about people behaving themselves, lol. Like a den mother or something.

Kithra said...

Yes, I agree with all of you. Personally, I too ignore the trolls, kooks and shills. When I first went online, about seven years ago, I was always getting into debates with these types of people as, being such a newbie, I just didn't know any better. However, I soon learned, and now I don't have the time to take any of them on as I've far better things to do. And, as for not using my real name, well that's simply because I'm always concerned about my security.

Regan Lee said...

Kithra made a good point; for women it's even more of an issue, regarding protecting oneself. And no woman has to apologize for that.

Using a screen name isn't, in itelf, wrong -- it's the using of a screen name as some kind of barrier between one's bad behavior and everyone else.