Yours truly, Anonymous


Zach Plahn

Anonymous comments are beginning to invade the internet. Credit: Michael Morales/The Foothill Dragon Press
Anonymous comments are beginning to invade the internet. Credit: Michael Morales/The Foothill Dragon Press

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could express the way you really feel to others around you without other people knowing who you really are?

There is a way. It’s called the comment section, and you’ll find one right below this article.

The comment section has replaced the traditional way a reader responds to an author’s product. Instead of writing a letter, buying a postage stamp, shipping the letter, and waiting for a possible response, readers can now simply scroll down to the bottom of an article and post anything they want about it. People can post that the article is awesome, insightful, intelligent, inspiring, or boring. 

However, there are those individuals, who, for whatever reason, will make it their point to humiliate the article itself, or the author. These people will say whatever they want, however they want, no matter how disgusting, horrible, or downright mortifying their comments are.

They can make these comments because of one word: anonymous.

Back before we had the internet, people wrote letters to complain or express the offense they felt towards the article. Letters sent by mail have to have an address, a name, a form of identification. There is no way of avoiding this type of identification. It is required that you put your name and address on your letter, or else your letter won’t be sent. Nowadays, the comment section takes away this accountability from the readers.

Yes, readers are required to give themselves a name when they post their comments, but that name is normally not the real one. Often, readers identify themselves under an alias such as: “Skaterboy,” or “Soccergirl,” or “Anonymous.” When given the opportunity, people will choose not to identify themselves online, and if nobody knows who you really are, no one will think of you badly, will they? Sure, they might not like your alias, but no one will find out who you really are. 

People who post anonymous comments are afraid of associating themselves with their opinion. Maybe that’s because those opinions are so insulting, so mean, so hateful, that it would actually be embarrassing for the reader to be associated with that comment.

Some people aren’t this way. Some people who identify themselves as “Anonymous” make very intelligent, logical arguments. Maybe they’re insecure, maybe they’re internet shy, if that’s a thing. Whatever the case is, the anonymous title is well, anonymous. It’s from nobody, an invalid source. If the “Anonymous” comment does make a valid argument, it still can’t be taken seriously. It’s like turning in a paper to your English teacher, and when your teacher asks for the sources you used, you say they’re anonymous sources. Your teacher isn’t going to give you credit. Those sources aren’t legitimate.

As a writer, I have had several people comment on my article under an anonymous. Sometimes, these comments make legitimate arguments, and sometimes these comments are hurtful. At first, I took offense, and was hurt by these comments, but then I realized, hey, if these people can’t put their name on a paragraph that degrades me and my work personally, while I post 700 word articles that are edited, re-edited, re-edited again, submitted, and uploaded, then those comments, those people, those opinions are totally invalid and honestly, I laugh at those comments now, especially the ones that are particularly hateful.

So please, identify yourself. Don’t be that person behind your computer, hating on everybody, or just being mean. At least give your first name. if you’re going to be straight up honest about your opinion, you might as well be straight up honest with your identity.  

What do you think?