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Passport Please

Documenting online users

Recently I had a discussion with the folks at Patch over my concerns how anonymous individuals hide behind their made up names and say irresponsible things.  My concern is what that is doing to our community as well as communities all over this country on Patch.com.  Those who use anonymous names feel empowered to say almost anything they want with out fear of any real retribution.  This, even within a policy of Terms of Service.  But they certainly wouldn't say those things if they were face to face with someone.

Coincidently, I just came across today a news item about some Facebook and Instagram users having had their accounts pulled from them until they provide a copy of government issued identification such as a U.S. Issued Passport, State Drivers License or other recognized form of identification. 

I personally believe this is a good step in making people act online like they would in person.  I share this here so not only the community can be informed of this but also the management at Patch as well, if they weren't aware already.  It is time we not let slide the irresponsible and in some cases slanderous ways of some people.  Having a policy which does away with the concept of anonymous or fake users would, in my opinion, help us create a more inviting online community.

I have heard some people say they use fake names for safety reasons.  My response is if you do not say irresponsible things you will not need to fear from people.  It is when you make threats or get people really upset that some might react with violence or the treat of violence.  Treat people like you would like to be treated and that problem goes away.

To document the Facebook and Instagram Terms of Service Policy change, I share the following article:

http://idealab.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/01/instagram-asking-for-users-government-issued-photo-ids-now-too.php

I hope Patch takes this example seriously with the new roll out of Patch 2.0 which has been talked about being released sometime in 2013.

Cheers

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Heather in Caledonia February 03, 2013 at 03:55 AM
Mind you, I mentioned the article, but I do not endorse the person's opinion. It surprised me to sit down and open a magazine to the exact topic we were discussion, though. :)
Rees Roberts February 03, 2013 at 12:42 PM
Jaron Lanier said he "saw anonymity as a poison seed. The way it didn’t hide, but, in fact, brandished the ugliness of human nature beneath the anonymous screen-name masks. An enabling and foreshadowing of mob rule, not a growth of democracy, but an accretion of tribalism." It's that last part that I fear. Generally speaking we all agree that taking someone to a tree to lynch by hanging is grossly wrong. But in our past, that occurred by mob rule. I did a careful dictionary lookup: accretion: growth in size or extent. tribalism: a strong loyalty to one's own tribe, party, or group. party? group? Look at what we have in todays politics. Given the actions of our elected legislators as entrenched each political party has become amongst ourselves, it is no wonder people feel fear from retribution. Is that the country we want looking forward? Do we want fear as the basis to how we react? Is that the "United" States of America you want for your children? Is it? Maybe now you can see why I have created this blog. There is a real connection between how we talk amongst ourselves and what actions we ultimately could take part in. If we continue down the current path of fear, the real possibility of lynch mob mentality could come back. We would only then be a step away from seeing it for real. That would certainly be something to fear. I, for one, believe we are all better than that.
Carbon Bigfuut February 03, 2013 at 03:25 PM
In most blog posts, it seems obvious to me which posters are using anonymity to post as "trolls", just to stir the pot and contribute nothing, vs. those using handles to post intelligent substance. I just disregard the troll posts. Some blogs have "twit filters", used by each reader to filter out those posters who they feel never post anything useful.
mau February 03, 2013 at 06:29 PM
I am not anonymous on Facebook. I opened my account for a reason, so people can find me. Kind of ironic you have a group of people who think people are being disenfranchised because they can't provide ID to vote yet think online social groups like Facebook should do this. What if grandma wants to get on FB to interact with her grandchildren and can't provide the proper ID.
mau February 03, 2013 at 06:32 PM
Mine is not an alias, it is an acronym. No one is anonymous on the internet. So who cares what name you go by. I could make up any name and use it here. If The Patch doesn't know who you really are then they better get rid of themselves. Facebook knows who you are and will willingly provide that information to law enforcement, other government agencies and anyone else they want to so they can make money off of you.

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