I will state for the record that I think this Anonymous outfit is/are scum. It, and those who comprise it, is/are no better than the NSA or the FBI or the CIA. Why? Because what it/they does/do is destructive to free speech and expression. It’s a threat. Look at its logo and motto. It’s an explicit threat to anyone it/they decide(s) to target. Those who comprise it are vindictive and spiteful and they are extremely arbitrary and subjective in who they decide to target. They’re tyrants every bit as much as those they claim to resist. In fact, I’m willing to bet that they are an offshoot, and part, of The Establishment they claim to resist just as The Jeffersons was an offshoot of All in the Family. The Establishment, as advanced as it now is, is fully capable of creating its own opposition, and I’m confident it does at this point. The Islamic State, anyone? And then Anonymous to combat it. All at The Taxpayers‘ expense. How lovely. How principled. How altruistic. How transparent.
Don’t get me wrong, I respect anonymity, obviously. The world is a dangerous place and nowhere is that more obvious than on The Net. It’s teeming with Wackos. My spam folder is testament to this very basic fact. I not only respect anonymity on The Net, I think it should be mandatory, and I believe anyone who exposes anyone on The Net who has intelligently chosen to be anonymous and respects the heretofore unspoken rules surrounding it, should be charged as a cold-blooded murderer would be charged and given the same sentence. Because those who engage in such behavior seek to crush free speech and free expression. The reason they do it is simple; they don’t like you and what you have to say so instead of ignoring you or refuting what you have to say, they seek to shut you up, and implicitly threaten you with physical harm by exposing your personal identity. Why else would they do it? There can be no other reason. It’s a threat because they don’t like you and what you stand for and so they resort to violence to shut you up. They are tyrants. Either you say what they want you to say and act how they want you to act, or they will threaten you to shut you up and shut you down. Essentially, they’re Stalinists as is/are our Government and the Too-Big-To-Fail Corporations that employ it.
As I mentioned, I respect anonymity, but there is a code, one that has never been properly articulated, when it comes to anonymity and The Net. The code of anonymity etiquette needs to be spelled out because the aforementioned individuals, in my opinion, are on a Mission from God to destroy any notion of anonymity and therefore any possibility for truly free speech and expression.
The code is as follows, and keep in mind this is a dynamic set of rules that can be adapted accordingly.
1.) One handle at a time. This means, necessarily, no sock puppetry. Sock puppetry, meaning someone having multiple screen names concomitantly, is most always, meaning 99.9% of the time, used for mischievous or nefarious purposes. It is in direct defiance to earnest, intelligent and respectful dialogue and discussion. It is a bane to free speech and free expression.
It is true that I have had various handles and/or monikers during my many years exploring this ever-expanding universe we call The Net. I liken all of them to skins that I’ve shed over the years. I was molting.
This latest skin, Cold N. Holefield, and the accompanying blog, Catcher In The Lie, are here to stay. My molting days are done. But, with a couple of rare anomalous exceptions, I stuck to one handle/moniker/avatar at a time. The only time I will ever use another moniker is if I feel I was banned from a blog without proper cause and I want to continue to freely express there as others are allowed to do. Since I’m prevented from commenting with my here-to-stay moniker Cold N. Holefield, I will use another moniker/screen name in its place and if I do, I will be consistent in its use (i.e. @ TSMB). I’m not ashamed of any of the handles and the commentary associated with each. Those who are threatening me, and like Anonymous they are legion and maybe they are Anonymous, believe that I am ashamed and that they can somehow hang that over my head like The Sword of Damocles. They’re wrong.
Here’s the list of my several molted skins from the past ten or more years. The exceptions to this were in retaliation to bullies in various comment sections who ganged up and didn’t play fair. It was always, and I mean always, me against a horde of sock puppets that had usurped various comment sections of various blogs to contain the conversation within permissible boundaries. The sock puppets were, and are, The Ministry of Truth.
Yes, I went after the sock puppets using sock puppetry on three separate occasions at three separate venues, but I haven’t engaged in such activity since and I won’t ever again. It’s not worth it. It solves nothing. The cretins don’t care and you shouldn’t lower yourself to their lowly standards and tactics to prove a point. You cannot persuade them of anything and, ultimately, you just need to walk away. And so I did and I formed my own blog where they couldn’t shut me up or down. And here I am 108 blog posts later and counting, and 500-600 views per day. But I digress. Here are my previous avatars for purposes of full disclosure and for your edification:
A. — Shrubageddon
B. — Morocco Bama
C. — Carol Newquist
D. — Cold N. Holefield
For those who research it, pay particular attention to the Carol Newquist avatar. Most of my posting under that molted skin was performed at Clusterfuck Nation, a blog run by James Howard Kunstler. It’s where I first encountered Q. Shtik who has followed me here and reads most every one of my missives, not because he’s interested in the content, but because he likes to scan my blog posts for spelling and grammar errors. He’s a longtime nemesis from that blog. He’s part of the cabal that tried to run Carol Newquist off of Clusterfuck Nation, but now they want me back because I was such fun and they miss those Halcyon Days. It was a real Gang Bang, or so they thought, and for all you women out there, it behooves you to look into some of it, because they considered me a woman because of the name, and consequently said some sadistically awful things about women in the process. That comment section is teeming with misogynists and racists and bigots of every stripe, and since I’m not one to back down, I took the fight to them.
2.) The use of difficult to distinguish monikers/avatars/screen names/aliases like “Anon” or “anon” or “Anonymous” or “anonymous” are fine so long as your intent is for earnest, intelligent and mutually respectful dialogue and discussion, but if someone is using these descriptors so they can avoid having their words attributed to them in any way and they’re using the “Anonymous” alias as a cyber sniper to pick people off or to sow discord and chaos, well, that’s disrespectful of the rules of etiquette and should be called out whenever it manifests and eliminated.
In an ideal online discussion community, there would be no identities whatsoever. There would be no way to identify anyone except for their words. It would be about the words. The words are what matter. I am The Word. You are The Word. Forget the labels. But online discussion software doesn’t facilitate that — instead, it encourages identities. The macrocosm forcing its way into the microcosm. As it is above, it will be below, or, as it is outside, it will be inside or vice versa. So many Simulacra, so much time.
3.) Have you noticed the Cake-And-Eat-It-Too-ers? These people are scumbags like any Troll is. They have revealed their real-life identities online, almost always to promote themselves in the most positive light, naturally, but they sneak behind an avatar/screen name/alias to engage in mischief at other venues. A lot of this goes on at Reddit, but at most venues it’s happening all the time. These people are the ultimate hypocrites. They want to have their cake and eat it too. They don’t want to sully their real-life reputation that they’re promoting online, so they hide behind a mask to be a fucking asshole or otherwise say things that can’t be attributed to them. They’re multiple personalities which is really just another, more nuanced, form of sock puppetry. And this goes on much more than you think. It’s a pandemic. They want all the upside and no downside. They are vermin. They are cheaters. They undermine the ideal of anonymity on The Net.
4.) Have you noticed those who prefer to remain anonymous yet hold themselves out as authorities? That’s also a breach of anonymity etiquette that only serves to undermine the True Benefits of anonymity. If you choose to be anonymous on The Net, then you cannot make appeals to your real-life authority, if you have any. If you claim to be an authority, with the intent of having your arguments taken more seriously and thus creating hierarchical status for yourself, then you can’t be anonymous. Your credentials must be validated at that point, otherwise you could be making your credentials up. If you’re anonymous on The Net, like me, you are not an authority. I grant no unverified credentials to someone who chooses to be anonymous and neither should you. Your claims to certain credentials and holding yourself out as an authority are meaningless if you are anonymous. Only The Word matters, not your so-called credentialed expertise that cannot be verified if you’re anonymous.
5.) The infamous, dreaded Catfish. For those who don’t know what this is, here‘s an article related to the online phenomenon. Catfishing isn’t just about romance, though. Provocateurs engage in this activity to lure targets for any number of reasons. No doubt intelligence organizations do it to “handle” suspected criminals or terrorists, for example. These people are duplicitous scumbags. They pretend they’re a real-life person using a convincing real-life persona, but they are not what they say they are. They are malevolent vermin who don’t belong in this existence. They should never have been born and they need to be unborn. To engage in such activity has a deleterious effect on online anonymity. It is also a bane to free speech and free expression.
6.) No one’s anonymity should ever be called into question, or attempts made to expose their real-life identity, if they are not in violation of the aforementioned rules of anonymity etiquette. However, if a particularly pernicious person is determined to be in multiple violation of the aforementioned rules of anonymity etiquette, they are henceforth fair game for public doxing, for they have forfeited the right to be anonymous because their behavior is effectively meant to undermine anonymity. This “sentence” should be used sparingly only as a last resort and only after much painstaking deliberation.
7.) These rules are in force going forward. Not that anyone will follow them or would follow them, but at least it’s a good first step to protecting the right of anonymity on The Net, because, to protect that is to protect free speech and free expression — and that’s ALWAYS A Good Thing.
It was necessary for me to create this blog post because I want it to be my final word on the topic. Too many interlopers to count keep bringing it up and I’m consistently being threatened with public exposure of my personal identity. And it is a threat. And that threat is intended to shut me up and down. And that’s Stalin. It’s Stalinism. I don’t like Stalinism. You shouldn’t either. Silence in the face of it is implicit support of it. I refuse to be silent about it, so this is my official condemnation of it. Going forward, should the issue continue to arise, and no doubt it will, I will refer to this blog post.