Back in the day, when one blog would go after another blog, we called it a flame war. Why we did it? Who can say. We were picked on so often by so many non-blogs, it hardly seemed productive to pick on each other. But mostly it was tied to legitimacy and eyeballs. At least that’s my recollection. I honestly don’t recall how often WLST got involved but I’m sure it was some respectable amount of time.
It took me a minute to even recall what we called that picking on a blog by another blog but this cleveland.com story, “New Ohio blog defends embattled online charter school, to which it appears to be tied,” about the conservative blog, 3rd Rail Politics, made me grin with nostalgia for the hours spent unmasking anonymous commenters and anonymous bloggers. It wasn’t that difficult but it did and does raise the question: Why? Why bother trying to hide some piece of information related to who you are and why you’re writing what you’re writing?
The whole point of blogs was to provide unmediated content, filtered only through the individual writer aka blogger. The primary scrutiny would be, should be, about that writer/blogger, whomever he or she is. This was true then and it is true now, no matter whether the blog is on a major media outlet’s platform, or WordPress.
In addition, anonymity in blogging was frowned upon and still is. If you don’t want to put your name on something, then maybe you shouldn’t be writing it in the first place. On one or two occasions over more than ten years, I came across circumstances that persuaded me about the need for anonymity. But generally speaking, anonymity works against the blogger because it can be revealed and once revealed, it illuminates why you were hiding, and what you were hiding in the first place.
Case in point, the blog scrutinized in the cleveland.com article referenced above.
If you want to champion someone or something, do it and own it. Otherwise, just like secrecy did back in the day, you leave yourself and everything you present on your blog open to being delegitimized.