by AMY BERG
In today's age of the online newspaper and anonymous postings, it is easy to say anything, regardless if it is appropriate, and not have to put a name to it. University of Minnesota Duluth Professor John Hatcher thinks that this should not be allowed and that it just feeds the fire for ignorance.
When writing into a newspaper, names and contact information is a must. The letters to the editor will not be published unless they have a name of a person who wrote them. Then why do online newspapers allow anonymous postings?
All of the comments or opinions that people are too embarrassed to put their name by, are being said in online newspaper postings. If these people are embarrassed, then it should not be posted. If they claim to not be embarrassed, then why not put your name on it.
Hatcher cites an incident in the fall of 2009 when a UMD trainer was accused of sexual harassment. The majority of the anonymous postings were insulting and defamatory.
Supporters of anonymous postings may say that it is a part of free speech. But a main idea of free speech is accountability. If an anonymous person wants to be able to speak their mind, how are the readers supposed to know whose mind they are reading.
Another very valid point that Hatcher makes is the fact that people read things differently considering the background or circumstances of the writer. This is so true. Think about all the times you read something and then needed to know if the author's life experiences make them credible.
Opinions are obviously subjective, so everyone has their own. Anonymous postings can be thought of like the old adage; "If you can't say nothing nice, don't say anything at all." The modern take: "If you can't post with your name, don't post at all."