While reading a post on another subject, I noted this interesting passage about the differences be Pseudonymity and Anonymity that I thought was worth pulling out.
I know that StAllio! has attempted to explain this to Gary Welsh at Advance Indiana in the past with mixed results.
You know what? Someone who mistakes pseudonymity for anonymity is missing just a few critical things about blogging that go right to the core of its importance. Pseudonymity is the maintenance of a consistent identity, one to which credibility–or lack thereof–attaches just like it does to the name Bob Cox or Marcy Wheeler. Anonymity is something different, one that doesn’t exist in any fully formed blog.
I’m sure you and I would disagree about this. But frankly, pseudonymity is one of the most important aspects to retaining the vitality of the blogosphere. Pseudonymity guarantees that citizens whose jobs or other life circumstances would not permit them to speak politically, to do so, using a consistent identity, but one that does not endanger their livelihood. This country was built on the importance of citizen speech–built by a bunch of guys writing as Publius. In this day and age, that critical aspect of our democracy is getting harder and harder to sustain. Blogging has brought it back, to a degree. And I, for one, don’t want to belong to any organization that discards such an important tool of democratic speech without even understanding the difference between pseudonymity and anonymity.
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I’d say StAllio! has it precisely right: a pseudonym earns its credibility, and is entitled to it. Did Atrios, to pick an example not entirely at random, gain any substantial credibility when his “real” name became public knowledge? Not really; he’d already spent years building his reputation, and the connection of a name to the pseudonym didn’t change anything. It’s the willingness to stand by your stuff, not the ability to find you in the phone book, that creates credibility – a brand name, if you will.