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October 15, 2006


I'm not totally convinced the upsides of anonymous reviews outweigh the negatives. A negative review, no matter how honest and accurate, from an anonymous source is suspect in my book.

It's like a person who will smile at you and say how great you are to your face, and then, once your back is turned, start badmouthing you to everyone who will listen. If you spent good money to go to a conference you should make it clear that you were disappointed: to the conference organizers and, especially, the speaker. It's known as being honest.

While I obviously defer to your advanced age ;-) I do not share your pessimism about the perils of anonymity - maybe said another way - we already deal with childish behavior (e.g. Blackboard), graffiti, porn and spam - but without all the great honest assessments.

Going back again to the point you made though - I would vote for Ryann as our Chief Anonymizer or Czar of Anonymity or Priest Confessor - the person who would know the identity of Deep Throat but who would nopt reveal that identity for decades.....

The anonymous review on Learning Circuits is a work of art. However, one example does not make the rule. I've been on the net since the last Ice Age. What I've observed is that anonymous posting leads to chaos and malicious mischief. If we promoted anonymity, we'd enjoy more insider screeds. Unfortunately it would come at the price of childish behavior, graffiti, porn, and spam. The only way to avoid the dark side would be to require a trusted sponsor to vet and stand by what is posted, the role Ryann played in this instance.

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Quoth she/he...

  • "The hallmark of revolution is that the goals of the revolutionaries cannot be contained by the institutional structure of the society they live in. As a result, either the revolutionaries are put down, or some of those institutions are transmogrified, replaced, or simply destroyed. We are plainly witnessing a restructuring of the music and newspaper businesses, but their suffering isn’t unique, it’s prophetic." --Clay Shirky

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