Thursday, June 16, 2011

"Own your words! Anonymity is cowardice, and cowards aren’t known for their wisdom."

I've never met the person who wrote those words (Peter Friedman, Associate Professor, Legal Analysis & Writing Case Western Reserve University School of Law), but I think he is an insightful man, probably because I agree with him. I believe people who hide behind user names and monikers want to be anonymous so they don't have to take responsibility for their words. My real name is Terri and these are MY real words.

That said, as you might have already seen on the post I published yesterday, I received a pretty nasty "Anonymous" response. Given the self righteous, sanctimonious tone of the "Anonymous" comment, my response to it and the propensity for aggressive and abusive behavior of other family members, I changed my blog settings in order prevent further comments from posting automatically, which allows me to decide which comments to publish and which to delete. And, since I've made that change, I have received four subsequent comments. Two more from my sister and two more from my nephew "J." How do I know who they are?

Let me back up just a little bit so I can give you some information about the statistics/hit counter and tracker that I use. Like most hit counters, the information I can view is multi-layered. Mostly what I find interesting is a reader's location in the world, but in this particular case I have found it extremely useful to be able to determine the date, time of day, the browser used, operating system, the specific post a visitor has viewed, the number of pages viewed, their location, host and IP address. In addition, for each individual visit from a specific IP address, I can get the specific address of the host.

So, back to those "Anonymous" comments I've received. How the hell did I specifically identify two of them as being from my sister and the other from my nephew? Easy. In the past, I've consistently had two separate visitors from two specific IP addresses from the same host (, one reader in one city and one in another city. Coincidentally, my sister lives in one of those cities and a niece lives in the other city. But how do I know it's really them? Simple. My niece has left comments on my blog in the past. Her comments are time-stamped and originate from one of those IP addresses, so I have labeled her IP address with her name so I know who she is when I view my stats. I love that about my stat counter....I can put a name to an IP address so I'm not just looking at numbers. Anyway, I did the same thing for my sister. I cross-referenced a comment she left in the past with the time-stamp, exit page (which was the comment box), city, host and IP address. Now her name appears along with all the other information so I know when she visits my blog.

Yesterday, I was able to identify my nephew "J" as another commenter. How? This one was sooooo simple. Using the date, time-stamp, host and IP address associated with the two comments, it could only be my nephew because the host for the IP address is the USAISC - United States Army Information Systems Command - my nephew's employer!! (I wonder if his boss knows he's using his work time to read and comment on blogs).

I allowed several comments to be published yesterday. The following is what transpired since I published Monday's blog post:

  • Early Monday evening, I received the first anonymous comment to my blog post. I attributed that comment to my sister by location, IP address, time-stamp of the comment and the exit link (the pop-up comment window) in the navigation path.
  • I responded to that comment and changed my settings in order prevent comments from posting automatically and allow me to moderate any further comments.
  • The next morning (Tuesday), after my comment identifying the anonymous commenter as my sister, I received another anonymous comment (which I did not publish) implying that he (the commenter) was the previous anonymous commenter and informing me that I was incorrect in what he later called my "assumption". That comment was, in fact, NOT from the same IP address as my sister (the previous anonymous commenter), but using the time, date, military IP address and exit link (the pop-up comment window), I was able to attribute this subsequent comment to my nephew "J".
  • Later in the day, another anonymous comment (again not published), again from my sister informing me in her ever so scripturally (a word??) nice way that I would probably experience a "tragic end" i.e. most likely be going to hell.
  • Then, just before he left work yesterday, "J" posted yet another comment which I also chose not publish - a lengthy sanctimonious, self-righteous tirade laced with bible quotes since I am, as noted above, going to hell - also stating, in part, that my "assumption" that the identity of the original anonymous commenter was my sister (his mother) was incorrect, that communication is two-way street and then went on to attempt to justify his previous abusive, bullying behavior (which, of course, is never justifiable in any circumstance) of my sister, Karen, referring to this post. In his last comment, he signed his name with his initial, validating my determination of his identity in his previously anonymous post. Whoop-see
  • And finally one last (so far) unpublished anonymous comment left last evening by my sister which simply said, "Fail".....Original and clever, don'cha think? My guess is she wants me to anguish over the meaning and settle for worst case scenario. But that's just a guess.

I have NOT, in fact, deleted the aforementioned "Anonymous" comments. They are still sitting in my "in basket" for...well, you know, just in case.

Amazingly, in addition to their four comments, the two of them racked up 66 hits on my blog from Monday at 1:11pm to yesterday at 7:15pm. Can you say Extremely. Obsessive. Behavior??? It's so bizarre it's almost comical.

So, I will continue to moderate comments and withhold those posted by [**wink, wink**] "Anonymous" ... not because I have anything to hide, but because I simply refuse to allow myself and/or my blog to be monopolized, harassed, intimidated or bullied. You want a door mat? They're available in array of designs and colors on sale at Lowes starting at $12.98.

1 comment:

gina said...

Ha. I love this. You're awesome. And, one smart cookie, too!