Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Gutless Anonymous Posters - GAPs

"GAPs"
Returning from a long weekend out of town I scanned the accumulated comments on the Daily Pilot blog for signs of wisdom. It was a tough search, since most of the comments posted continue to be entered by writers I'll refer to as "GAPs" - Gutless Anonymous Posters.

THE EXAMPLE
I've been critical of anonymous posters for a long time. The opportunity provided by the Daily Pilot to hold a meaningful debate on important issues is diminished by those cowards who won't identify themselves. One of these is a guy who frequently signs his messages as "Ron", but who uses many other pen names on the P
ilot blog, sometimes having conversations with himself. After you read a recent post, I'll bet you can guess his identity. Here's what he had to say yesterday evening in defense of his gutless anonymous postings:

"Ron
wrote on Sep 3, 2007 6:07 PM:
Complaints that some don't use their real names here miss the point that what is written should stand or fall on its own merits and not depend upon the name/reputation of the person who wrote it. Anonymity avoids a fallacious appeal to prestige. For example, suppose a poster has a genius level I.Q. and you know it. Would you give his message more weight beause of who he is? Some of us would like to avoid that, at least in this type of forum. We believe a simpe appeal to reason is best. "

I reproduced his comment as it appeared, typos and all.

THE REBUTTAL
His position, that it's the comment that counts, not the author, is bogus. For example, does it not mean more to you to read a comment attributed to Mayor Mansoor or Mayor Pro Tem Bever than the same comment signed anonymously? Of course it does! When you assess the things you read in most news articles you consider the source of the information. An article in the liberal-leaning Los Angeles Times, for example, may be viewed differently than an article on the same subject in the Orange County Register or the Wall Street Journal. Anonymous Ron complains, under one of his numerous other names, that the Daily Pilot editors publish their editorials "anonymously", yet lacks the courage of his own convictions.

GENIUS OR JACKASS?
And, sure, I'd like to know if the author of an opinion "has a genius level I.Q.", just as I would like to know if the author is an overt racist who publishes his vile stuff all over the internet and has published at least three books to spread his gospel. Yeah, I'd like to know that. I'd like to know that it's the same guy who exercised influence over our City Council - wouldn't you? Of course you would!

LIKE IT OR LUMP IT
When you read the stuff I post on the Daily Pilot blog, or the commentaries that occasionally appear on the print pages, you know those opinions come from a guy who has lived half his life in this city, cares about it's future, pays attention to what's going on and is willing to suffer the abuse that regularly comes following the publication of my views. You don't have to agree with my views - or even read them. They are my views and, if you don't like them, such is life.

COURAGE OF CONVICTIONS
In my humble opinion, it takes much more fortitude to post a comment for the world to read using your true identity than to post the same comment anonymously. If you use your true identity you must be willing to accept the criticism that might follow or, in my case, is sure to follow. You must be willing to have the cowards who post anonymously denigrate and mischaracterize your opinions and to be the subject of comments usually seen on bathroom walls. That's why, even though I don't agree with some of them, I think those people willing to sign their names to their comments demonstrate tremendous courage. They are willing to accept the abuse that is sure to follow.

GAPS = GRAFFITI
Those GAPs who post what amounts to graffiti on the Daily Pilot blog are probably not actually from Costa Mesa - they are likely kooks from other areas like Rancho Cucamonga, Upland or Ontario, trying to influence things in our city with their cowardly comments. I'll continue to refer to them as such until they identify themselves.

FRUSTRATED "GENIUS"
Of course, there are those comments posted by Mar..., er, "Ron" under his many aliases that take up so much space. My guess is that's the only he can get his views in the Daily Pilot these days.

INVITATION TO DEBATE
Those of you without the courage to stand behind your comments are just a bunch of school yard bullies, hiding behind the big guys and yelling epithets like a bunch of yapping hyenas. I invite each of you GAPs to begin posting your views using your true identity. Some of you obviously have passion about the subjects discussed on the Daily Pilot blog. Instead of engaging in a spitting match, why don't you try to use your intellect to frame your views so you can influence opinion in a positive way? Instead of derailing the debate of the issue at hand with your infantile jibes and taunts, why don't you attempt an adult conversation on the issue instead, for a change? If you guys are as smart as you think you are, you should have no trouble at all presenting your views without the petty pontifications.

HUMMING THE JEOPARDY! THEME, WAITING...
I'll look forward to those discussions.

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