Interesting thread, this one.
It's peculiar how the tradition of anonymity begun by pornographic websites has held on and become such a mainstream way of doing business.
Traditions arise from the strangest of roots...
Porn was the first industry to recognize the vast commercial potential of the Internet, and for obvious reasons "guaranteed its customers' anonymity" by allowing the use of fake names: that's the The Plain Brown Wrapper of the electronic supermarket.
Now-because "that's the way it's always been done" - everybody is behind a mask, free to say whatever they like without fear of being held responsible for their words or actions.
And many yield to the temptations naturally attached to such freedom and say things that they'd be mortified to have to admit to if they were ever called to account for them. Many people are attracted to that notion. AND it's a very good marketing tool, especially when combined with the baseless notion that the attachment of one's Name to one's Words can lead to some kind of terrible fate.
There isn't a single documented case of any harm coming to a person's self or property as a result of revealing one's actual name on the web.
Not that the facts matter. We prefer to be afraid, I guess.
I think anonymity very bad for public discourse- that is, if back-and-forth repartee between unidentifiable users can be described as such.
Anonymous content, which to this day will NOT be published by the smallest real newspaper in The United States, is the expected
"format" of forums like this one.
I suppose it doesn't matter much in FGRV's kind of a setting except for the lapses into rudeness anonymity allows. Whatever keeps folks logging on, right?
But no matter the setting, it matters a lot to me.
Francesca Keep Knowles
I'm listed in the phone book, too!