… discusses the recent exposure of an anonymous blogger’s identity.

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6 Responses to “A New UD Post at Inside Higher Ed…”

  1. Dance Says:

    UD, as someone who cares for language, do you not value the distinction between anonymous and pseudonymous?

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    It doesn’t seem that huge a difference to me, I guess. Both are about hiding your identity. But I’m happy to be corrected on this.

  3. Dance Says:

    It’s largely significant in that many of the attacks made on anonymity—no accountability, don’t know who’s speaking—do not apply to pseudonymous writers who build a reputation and a stance over time and can be called to account in that persona. I would also argue that building such a persona is about more than hiding one’s identity.

    Previous conversation:
    http://www.margaretsoltan.com/?p=3749

  4. dance Says:

    Well. I hadn’t read your full post when I commented previously. The description of the relationship that you cite:

    The proximity is palpable, the moment human—whatever authority a blogger has is derived not from the institution he works for but from the humanness he conveys. This is writing with emotion not just under but always breaking through the surface. It renders a writer and a reader not just connected but linked in a visceral, personal way. The only term that really describes this is friendship. And it is a relatively new thing to write for thousands and thousands of friends.

    has nothing to do with knowing a legal name. Pseudonymity carries all of that power. You think that description didn’t apply to the recently outed publius? I have been reading your blog for years, sent you links, engaged in back-and-forths in the comments upon occasion. We are not friends. Whatever relationship has been created here is SOLELY with the presentation upon your blog. You admit this, when you talk about yourself as UD in the post. I refer to you as UD, because that is the persona under which I know you. That Margaret Soltan is a lit prof at GW as opposed to a unnamed lit prof at a big, rich, city university, really doesn’t make much of a difference to me. Bethesda, which IS geographically identifying, means nothing to me, born on the west coast—you could as easily describe it without a name and communicate the same amount.

    By failing to recognize that the power of writing you laud has very little to do with the legal name behind it, your analysis of this issue is made incomplete, and your own argument sabotaged.

    Sigh. I would actually like to read a REAL attack on pseudonymity, one that doesn’t entirely miss the point, one that doesn’t conflate it with anonymity, that engages the reality of how identities work on the web, and yet still manages to remain hostile.

  5. Margaret Soltan Says:

    I take your point, Dance, and can only say that I’m guilty of not really having thought about this enough. I’ll do so.

  6. dance Says:

    Thank you. Appreciate you listening.

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