Note to newbies: We are not Anonymous

Here’s an interesting article I stumbled upon. It was written 3.5 years ago but I found it quite enlightening. While reading the article I started thinking about some of the threads and discussions I’ve seen on Dope boards and speculating that perhaps some of our relatively new thread contributors might have come from anon-type venues.

And so I thought it might be worthwhile to point to that article and emphasize This Is NOT an Anonymous Image Board.

No, this is, as the article mentions, a more traditional Internet forum. We have our nom de plumes, our alter identities, our handles, as the term was borrowed from CB Radio slang in the early days of Bulletin Board Systems and On-Line Chat Rooms. We might not be cyber-foolish enough to provide our real names, but we do return to our Dope personae time and again in order to create original threads, post responses in existing threads, and engage in lively debate as those discussion threads evolve. [Some of us even dredge up zombie-threads to contribute comments that may or may not be relevant.]

Most importantly (and in stark contrast to the anon boards), we [I’d hazard to say most of us] return again and again to these boards and our personae in order to build and enjoy our reputations – as well as to fight ignorance and have our own moments of ignorance fought. And because our collective goal (and the purpose of The Straight Dope venue) is the whittling-away of ignorance, certain practices in anon culture are basically unacceptable here. Personal attacks and harrassment top the list, of course, and (apparently unlike anon venues) we have moderators who are actively reading the threads and issuing warnings (and even expulsions) to participants who run afoul of the rules of civil discourse.

In light of the following…

…I feel it’s important to note that on the Straight Dope boards it appears to be considered bad form to barrage people with nonsense, to nit-pick on typographical errors in a contributor’s legal argument or complain about the dates of a historical event being cited a day or two off, to engage in that host of faulty arguments (e.g. straw man, hasty generalization, et cetera) that we know are cheap distractions (including, for that matter, red herrings) – in short, to act as if the Straight Dope was an anon venue.

This, by the way, is why CITE? is such a quick and effective contribution to a discussion, for it stands in direct contrast to the anon culture’s ranking of consensus as more desirable than factual correctness. After all, the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster was rooted in a consensus of opinion*! If we are seeking knowledge – or at least trying to reduce ignorance, then it is more important to get the facts straight than to get everyone to agree they like them.

I think we should be proud of this board and its accomplishments toward the stated mission. We seem to do a pretty good job of sharing facts and debating points with civility, mostly without piling on as if numerical strength is a sufficient proxy for a good argument or devolving into juvenile insult-fests.

Good job peoples!

  • While “group think” was a sociological concept well before the USA had a Space Program, the term entered mainstream discourse after analysis of the Challenger disaster was publicized.

But are we your personal army?

Do we like mudkips?

Are we going to give you up?

(Answers to all these questions and more, on this episode of Dope!)


When I read the thread title, I thought he meant that we weren’t a bunch of people who wore Guy Fawkes masks and tried to expose Scientology.

Well, we DO try to expose Scientology. But we don’t dress up for it.

I heard we did.

Are we gonna let you down?

Every single time! :smack::smiley:

What does everyone else think about this?

Speak for yourself!:smiley:

In Soviet Durpistan, Scientology doesn’t dress up when it exposes itself to YOU!

Not sure if people here really have alter identities. My “posting persona” is no different from my Actual Real-Life Self. If I give an opinion, I believe it. If I tell a story, guess what? It really happened. To moi.

One thing I like about this board is that if a poster does exaggerate or fabricate their beliefs, an opinion, or a story just to get a rise out of people, they’ll get called on it. This place is pretty good at seeing through insincere postings.