Self-Censorship and Anonymity

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Icon for censorship (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One thing that has always been great about the internet is the ability to be anonymous.  It allows us to be ourselves, sharing the most intimate moments of ourselves, both the good and the bad parts.  Some people were willing to share life enriching advice and share experiences with complete strangers because they were anonymous, while others decided to let their true, dark colors shine through by being a jerk to others, hiding behind anonymity.

Lately there has been a big push online trying to force you to use your real names when you post.  This is good and bad.  If people are forced to reveal who they are, then they may watch what they say more.  But that is also the problem.

If you are a business professional, or even just someone who has a job, any job, what you say online affects how people perceive you.  If you are a member of the wrong political party or religion, or if you have personal views that are not consistent with other people you have to deal with, then you can potentially be discriminated against.

This leads to self-censorship, which means less political discussions, less religious discussions, and less dissenting views.

People should have a choice on whether they post under their own real name or not, and there should always be venues where people can post under pseudo names and pen names for privacy and security reasons.

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