O texto que segue é a continuação, quiçá final de minha parte, de uma conversa no Twitter com @AmbrosiaX. Por isso em ingles. E que certamente não vai interessar a mais ninguém, podendo ser ignorado.
This is the follow up of a conversation with @AmbrosiaX on Twitter
I hope you don’t mind that I’m outrageously breaking the 140 characters limit, and also forgive me for bringing this chat off Twitter to my own little blog. It happens that I really find this kind of back and forth on Twitter quite annoying, unproductive, messy, and exausting, so here I am. The paragraph above in portuguese is just a warning to the few regular readers I may have about this unusual post.
Obvioulsy you may reply here or anywhere you want, let me just warn you that I may not follow you. Specially on Twitter. And specially if you have nothing more substantial to say than what you already have.
I decided to write this, though I think that there’s not much more to be said, just to be sure that nothing was left behind and to be clear about where we stand each of us.
Please keep with me.
1) If “AmbrosiaX” is not your real name, and by ‘real name’ I mean the name in your birth certificate, in your passaport, your driver’s licence, or any other legal identity document you may have, then “AmbrosiaX” is an alias, a pseudonym. And anytime you do anything online (and offline BTW) under a pseudonym, you are doing it ANONIMOUSLY. By definition.
It doesn’t matter if your avatar is an actual photo of you. It doesn’t matter if you’ve told somebody what your real name is. It wouldn’t matter if you’ve even told me. It doesn’t matter if you’ve appeared on videos. Unless there is a public aknowledged connection between “AmbrosiaX” and you (let’s say for the sake of argument ‘Maria Dolores’), then anytime ‘Maria Dolores’ is online through the handler AmbrosiaX, she is anonymous. Period.
From the alias “AmbrosiaX” itself, it’s impossible to know anything about who’s behind it: gender, sexual orientation, nationality, ethnicity, native language, nothing, zero, nada. As far as there is no a public aknowledged connection between ‘Maria Dolores’ and ‘AmbrosiaX’ nothing that is said about ‘AmbrosiaX’ will have any impact in ‘Maria Dolores’ life. ‘AmbrosiaX’ could have the worst possible reputation online, it wouldn’t matter, as nobody who matters to ‘Maria Dolores’ would know anything about it. Her parents wouldn’t know it, neither her relatives, co-workers, bosses, prospective employers, nobody. One could even issue threats of violence against ‘AmbrosiaX’ and it wouldn’t affect ‘Maria Dolores’ in the slightest. So it’s very easy to dismiss even threats when one is anonymous.
That’s all that I was talking about, the only point I was making and that seems to have pissed you off so much. That’s all that I’ve agreed with. And still am.
In a word ‘Maria Dolores’ would be, are, unaccountable for the actions of ‘AmbrosiaX’. This is what to be anonymous is for by the way. That’s undisputable. But you’ve challenged it repeatedly nonetheless, what is absolutelly baffling.
You cannot eat and keep the cake at the same time. Either you keep your anonymity with it’s pros and cons or you come out in the open also with it’s pros and cons.
One of the cons of anonymity is that all else equal, yes, an anonymous do have less credibility than a known, meant non-anonymouys, person. The protection of anonymity doesn’t come cheap. There is a way though to overcome this problem. It is to have a substantive evidence based argument. I’ll come to this in a moment.
2) Now, to be very clear, there is no problem with anonymity per se. Anonymity is part of the INTERNET culture indeed and there’re many good and legitimate reasons for someone to have some or all of her online presence anonymous: an atheist who don’t want that her very religious boss/family/neighbors know about her atheism, a government employee may want to criticize the government itself without fear for his job, etc.
As well there are also illegitimate reasons for anonymity with a huge amount of misuse of it. Trolling, sockpuppeting, bullying, harassment. Things that would be, if not impossible, very very difficult to do without anonymity. And I’m not even talking about plain criminal activity…
Now the reasons you’ve given for anonymity (your own I presume) though not clearly illegitimate still sound petty, childish, and incoherent, I’m afraid.
Let me try to explain why anonymity is reasonable for non-public figures. It is fair for anyone to critique a public figure. The public figure has chosen to be in a position where she gives up anonymity, but has platforms to reach many more people than the average person. If I critique that public person, she can counter my claims and deliver her message to her audience. If I am required to then give my name, that would give her the ability to criticize me, perhaps unfairly, and I cannot counter her claim to the same audience that she delivered her message to.
First, I don’t know what do you mean by “public figure”. Maybe by “public figure” you mean simply somebody-using-his/her-own-name-and-not-an-alias. Or else maybe “public figure” means somebody-with-a-bigger-”audience”-than-me. Or simply somebody-I-do-not-like. It’s not clear what you mean. By the first “definition” I am a “public figure” and you’re not, but by the second you are a “public figure” and I’m not. None of them make much sense.
Second, it’s truly bizarre that you at one time give reasons (no matter how misguided) for anonymity and at the other you outright deny that you’re even anonymous at all.
Third, you also seem to be more focused in criticize the person and not his/her ideas/opinions/claims/beliefs, what I found very problematic in itself, and very un-skeptic I must say. If your’re criticizing ideas either you have a point supported by evidence based arguments or you don’t. The size of the supposed “audience” have nothing to do with this. And your anonymity wouldn’t make any difference whatsoever. You wouldn’t, and you don’t have more access to the “audience” by been anonymous, and your anonymity has no bearing on the validity of your opinions.
And fourth, to be able to criticize a “public figure” is not a compeling reason to be anonymous. One don’t need to be anonymous to criticize anyone, unless such a “public figure” is a figure of Power, with Power, and I mean Real Power. The power to screw somebody’s life for good. That is, politicians, government authorities, organized crime, etc. People known basicaly by their blogging activity simply don’t have such power by the fact that they blog, no matter how known and read their blogs are.
3) Besides the point about anonymity you’ve kept making assertions about a previous “history” I should know about before I could say something about anything. You’ve said things like: “those tweets alone did not tell the full story”, that I “don’t know anything about the story”, that “there is a history of exchanges”, “Obviously there was more than what you saw”. Nowhere in the more than 60 twits you send my way though you’ve clarified what the hell such “history”, or “story” is all about, and why it should matter to the point I was making. In fact you’ve explicitly reffused to offer any clarification or evidence for any of your assertions: “I can show you a dozen links..” you’ve said, but you provide none, zero. A behavior I’ve been told is not very ‘skeptic’. In fact I’ve seen this pattern of behaviour before in creationists, and religious apologists. “Read the Bible” they say.
By contrast the only time you’ve asked me for evidence “What is it that my friends and I are doing?” I gave it to you. And you simply refused to engage with the evidence I’ve provided dismissing it right away stubbornly insisting with even more assertions, more criptic references to a past, a “story”, a “history”, what she “wrote about me”, etc. In a word: gossip. Instead of straight answers, facts and substantive claims supported by evidence based arguments, all I had was demands to check your “ TL to see what I actually said”. Well I actually did that. I’ve checked your TL to see what you “actually said” and found no more substance than that which you’ve spontaneously gave me. Just lots of gossipy talk.
After more than 60 twits I’m no more close to understand what pissed you off so much than when we started this conversation. It’s cristal clear that you’ve made the most uncharitable reading possible to my comment. And maybe that’s also why you was unable so far to be straightforward about said “story”, “history”, of the past you’ve talked about. Maybe because there is none. Maybe there never was.