Harassment, bullying, abuse. Unfortunately, we didn’t escape these horrible things as we created online spaces. Some people simply aren’t very considerate of others. And because the internet is a communication medium, we see these vile behaviors more frequently since many messages are broadcast to a wide audience.
It makes sense that designers would look for answers to this problem. Since issues like harassment, bullying, and abuse seem to be less frequent in the offline world, people look for ways to make online more like offline One frequent proposal is to remove online anonymity, since this is a feature easily available online but much harder to do offline. The reasoning is that if people can’t hide behind anonymity, they would behave better.
I’m going to take the controversial perspective that anonymity, and it’s related cousin privacy, are too valuable to give up in the futile pursuit of eliminating bad behavior online. This is a series of blog posts that will look into anonymity and privacy in online spaces.