Wednesday, December 26, 2007

# Posted 12:22 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

TWO KINDS OF ANONYMITY: The purpose of this post is to announce a policy change on OxBlog. From this point onward, readers will need a Blogger/Gmail or similar account in order to leave comments on one of our posts. In other words, no more "anonymous" posts will be allowed.

Before laying out the rationale for this decision, I would just like to point out that there are two kinds of anonymity in the comment section. One is the ability to post as "anonymous", indistinguishable from any other anonymous reader. Yet even if you have a login, no one else has access to any information about your true identity, place of residence, or other personal information (unless you choose to share it). That is a kind of anonymity we value and are not asking any of our readers to compromise.

Up to this point, an overwhelming majority of posts left by "anonymous" have contributed to a vigorous debate in the comments section, mostly civil and mostly substantive. However, a very small number of individuals have abused their anonymity by launching repeated ad hominem attacks against one of the authors on this site or even trying to intimidate one of the authors in a personal manner. We think you will agree that this is completely unacceptable.

In addition, we regret that many of those who post anonymously in a responsible manner will have to go to the trouble of establishing a login in order to comment further. However, given that logins are cost free and require minimal effort to establish, we believe that this is a reasonable request to make in exchange for the right to post.

Finally, we would like to express our belief that requiring a login will in no way restrict the substance of debate on this site. For quite some time now, named commenters have argued for positions that range all the way across the political spectrum. (Well, maybe a little further to the right.) In addition, named commenters have vigorously, but fairly, attacked the positions advocated by this blog's authors, again from both the left and the right. If you don't already have one, we hope you'll get yourself a nom de plume or nom de guerre and continue commenting on this site.
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I'm an infrequent commenter, but a frequent reader. I'm happy to do anything to reduce comment spam.
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