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March 31, 2007

Re: impersonating other bloggers in comments

Don't do it, unless you make it absolutely clear that it's a parody. Also, if you're going to spoof someone, leave your real email address.

This morning I deleted a spoof comment purporting to be from Althouse because I felt it crossed the line.


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That same comment was on many, many blogs today. I find Althouse to be awful, but essentially spamming a bunch of blogs w/ the same comment is dumb and obnoxious.

The trouble with attributing your identity to a comment is that it gets ripped off, taken out of context, turned into something it's not or mimicked.

People start accusing you of all sorts of heinousness which is both unfair and untrue. I personally will never post anonymously and I've stopped accepting anonymous messages on my own blog, but in light of recent events, I can see why people are choosing to do so.

I am being mimicked on a site which has spent months posting untrue, damaging and defamatory material about me and now about my friends. The best recourse is to ignore them. Of course, that's old old old advice which my mother gave me when I was in pre-school.

One would think Kathy Sierra would be well versed in that logic.

heh. indeed.

One would think Kathy Sierra would be well versed in that logic.

One would think that one's mother would explain the difference between taunting and death threats. They are, believe it or not, not quite the same thing.

I'm really mystified by people dissing Kathy Sierra, but I'm generally mystified by complete failures of empathy. How hard is it to think, "how would I feel if that was my wife/daughter/sister/mother?"

Why not delete comments by trolls -- at least, those who are not professional philosophers or can't say what they mean -- as well? They contribute nothing to the discussion, and detract from others' enjoyment of it.

Props to you for putting a stop to it on your blog.

Even little old mudkitty gets impersonated over at rightwing blogs, where I hang out a lot.

"I'm really mystified by people dissing Kathy Sierra..."

Me too. But then, I've noticed that whenever the issue of gender-based violence comes up there's likely to be a swarm of male commenters informing us (often in the most pompous terms) how its really no big deal, that the victim is stupid or overly emotional, and so forth.

Just a thought about the kneejerk deletion of anonymous comments.

Sometimes the comments people leave and the psuedonyms they use give clues to their actual identity. I think that if you had a mind to, and had the aptitude, and with a comprehensive hitcounter, you could prove circumstantially the identity of a commenter. This could be valuable if you have to defend yourself with a 'knew or should have known' motion to dismiss challenge based on the statute of limitations to, say, a lawsuit for defamation of character by libel published on the internet.

So, maybe if you decide to delete anonymous comments or comments by trolls you might leave the comments up for a day or so, or save them off line. This time could give your mind time to work on the probable identity of the commenter.

i'm not utica

I think a smart comment policy would forbid impersonation, limit editorial involvement to deleting the offending comment, and handle disruptive commenters by simple banning.

We all realize that there are plenty of circumstances where impersonation is apparently harmless, but the comment may be taken out of context several years down the line and have serious negative consequences for the person being impersonated. Ditto bloggers editing comments.

A policy that places fairly minimal constraints on commenters while outright forbidding behavior that has the potential for real long time harm is a good thing. Clear, bright lines between OK and not OK are good things.

The first - and last - time I posted a comment here with my real name, someone else started impersonating me within a day. I normally don't use my name for posting comments, but, I saw that a lot of others here were, and the blog is published under the blogger's real name, so I felt like taking the plunge.

If I am to lose a job opportunity, say, because someone googles my name and turns up some repulsive screed, I would at least prefer that it was actually by me!

My name is common enough that that's probably not going to happen, but it still bothers me.

Good call, Lindsay. I suppose being impersonated on blog comments really comes with the territory, my being POTUS and all, and it's not really a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but I still appreciate your commitment to honesty and truth in your blog comments.

bow down in frail fealty
take a 2nd mortgage on your realty
vote republican to legislate other's morality
'cus i'm a freelance journalist, whose name is lindsay

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