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  4. Anonymous comments are not being allowed for the same reason as questions.

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  4. Anonymous questions or comments will not be answered and will be deleted. The reason for this is below.
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Please remember anonymous questions will not be answered.
 

 

Why don’t you allow anonymous questions or comments?

I remember when the internet first was getting big and people thought that being anonymous on the internet would allow people to aid each other and be open and honest in a positive way.  I think we now see that yes, anonymity helps people be their real selves more publicly.  But the problem is what is our real selves?  For most people, having to face up to their own comments keeps them from saying things they know to be offensive, hurtful, racist, sexist, etc.  In this case, anonymity does help bring out the inner character, the problem is that the inner character is full of sin. We see this in online comments on youtube.  It doesn’t even seem to matter anymore what the content is, within a dozen comments conversation descends to vitriol, name-calling, ignorance, and insensitivity. 

A good example of this is in this podcast: 

In fact I used to use ask.fm to field these questions and I allowed for anonymity in hopes that it would help people ask questions they wouldn’t have otherwise asked.  And while that happened a handful of questions, it exponentially more allowed for people to spew hate, condescension, and verbal attacks.  And even in the cases where someone could ask a more meaningful question, the problem was that they were asking in about 400 characters and there was no way that I could know the full context of their question or have a meaningful counseling session with them.

I do believe anonymity can have positive power.  And it’s mainly when having to oppose forces that are attempting to squash free speech.  The power of twitter in the Arab Spring.  The power of the press in Eastern Germany during communist occupation.  But even in those cases, you know what is more powerful?  When people say truth AND put their name on it.  The signers of the declaration of independence.  The men and women who are willing to face prison or persecution for speaking the truth.

And so I think about what this forum is for.  We’re not toppling a totalitarian regime. We’re discussing the Bible in our lives.  So why do we need anonymity on all sides?  I can keep your identity secret from the public, but if you want to keep your identity secret from me, then why?  I can’t think of a reason that is ultimately good.  Why not instead put your name on it so that if it’s important I can clarify the question, so that I can make sure my answer is what you were asking, so that other people can engage in the same discussion with you. 

If you have a genuine personal issue, then know that anonymity isn’t going to help you.  You think it protects you but really it imprisons you.  It keeps in darkness what needs lights.  If you have a deep personal issue please seek counseling but seek counseling that will actually help and heal you, the kind that needs to be done in the light. 

If you really feel you want to remain anonymous about a non personal issue, then please examine your heart and ask why?  Is it because you know that what you are asking is not being asked in courtesy, politeness, and respect.  Is it because you know that issue you are asking about isn’t something that can be answered in a few paragraphs and needs something more?  Whatever the reason, I hope that you find that God has not given you a spirit of fear and timidity, but one of power, love, and self-control.

Another great story on this is at: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/545/if-you-dont-have-anything-nice-to-say-say-it-in-all-caps?act=1