There have been heated moments during online chat and debates when I have disagreed with other people and wished I could reach through the computer and wring their necks.
I am willing to wager that most of us have had our moments of anger online with people who sit anonymously and safely in their homes and offices while directly bashing our beliefs and ideas.
I feel there are times when being completely anonymous is warranted. For instance, I would never use my real name on Newsvine and I limit the amount of personal information I am willing to divulge about myself. Some of the conversations here get very heated and some of the readers are certain to be emotionally unstable.
There are other times that being more transparent is warranted. For instance, if I am on a chat forum for travel that attracts travel agents I do not want them to be completely anonymous. I want them to be honest about the company they represent, I don't need to know the agents name but I don't want him posting false comments in an attempt to sell me a vacation either. This activity cheapens the forum in my opinion.
Some people bare all online, literally. I will argue that there are times when this is appropriate. It depends on the circumstances. Are you looking for a date or online friends or sex? So how much information we are willing to share really depends on our own comfort level as adults, safety is certainly a consideration.
When does TMI become Too much?
Most extremely popular forums have moderators that are required to maintain online anonymity. They are not allowed to post online information about the company they represent on personal websites, they are not allowed to expose personal information in discussions online, they are not allowed to do or say anything that would place them or the forum they represent in danger.
So my questions to you are as follows:
- Is it appropriate for a forum moderator for a highly visible and public website that has hundreds of thousands of visitors each day to expose their true identity?
- Would you use your real name on a public forum?
- Is a forum legally responsible for the personal safety of it's moderators / employees?
Please take the poll to the right and explain your answers below. Thanks!