One of the features of the internet that many like the most is the ability to become anonymous. There’s something extremely appealing about being able to erase your identity. In many occasions, this can be a blessing while in others, it’s a definite curse.
Anonymity in comments has many benefits. First, it gives the writer the ability to express their opinions on things free from judgment or accountability. It’s very freeing to have the ability to say your unpopular opinion on any given popular topic without fear of people being able to attack you directly for doing so. I can tell you from experience that being able to say how much you dislike One Direction without the fans of One Direction knowing who you are is a very nice experience. However despite this freeing aspect, anonymous commenting has many obvious drawbacks.
The ability to speak anonymously on the internet gives people power. While some can act civilized with this power, others find themselves overwhelmed and abuse it. Anonymous commenting has lead to the harassment of many individuals throughout its existence. In this article from the New York Times, the topic of anonymous commenting in news sites is discussed as more and more news sites consider eliminating anonymous commenting all together. This is due to people abusing the power anonymity gives them. Anonymous people can say anything they want without consequence as long as they don’t show who they are. They can tell someone to kill themselves over their opinion on a certain entertainer or politician if they want to. And what happens when someone takes this advice to heart?
But many argue that removing anonymous commenting completely takes away our right as Americans to free speech. This is a valid point to consider. Anonymous commenting, when not abused, is a wonderful privilege we have today. It’s an issue that will be forever debated as long as people continue to abuse it. For now, I saw we just take what anonymous people on the internet say with a grain of salt and a stiff upper lip. We mustn’t let those who abuse the anonymity of the internet win.