Isn’t it time to remove the cloak of anonymity from Forum contributions? The Forum is now used by a number of contributors often to express their anger, directing it against those who have been elected to office, and often in ad hominem attacks. I wonder whether the level and tone of criticism expressed would remain the same, were the identity of those who express it to be known to the community. We own and are responsible for our words. And if we have the courage of our convictions, why should we wish to hide behind anonymity to express them?
There is nothing inherently wrong with expressing one’s anger or being critical, and at times it may well be perfectly justified. But let’s own up to it, let’s know who is angry. After the anonymous personal attacks on Cllr McKerlich during the Council elections, I find it unsurprising that he is no longer willing to engage with unattributed comments on the Forum. Besides, as our representative on Cardiff Council, he has well-advertised contact details on the R & M website. I use his RMcKerlich@cardiff.gov.uk address whenever I need to raise some issue with him.
So, in a first gesture towards openness, and to obviate any accusation of hypocrisy or of being a political apologist for Rod McKerlich, my name is Gordon Tucker, I live on Heol Isaf, and I’m currently secretary of the local branch of the Labour Party.
Your web team has discussed whether or not this Forum should allow users to remain anonymous on a number of occasions during recent years. This issue arises whenever the postings become difficult to moderate – not so much when they clearly break the rules, but when ‘offenders’ try to push ever closer to the boundaries of the Code.
Among the changes introduced when the Forum replaced the former Soapbox was an active encouragement in the Code for participants to identify themselves. Some have chosen to do so.
In our discussions we always find ourselves coming back to the point that without requiring verifiable personal details from all concerned, we cannot be sure that people who register have actually done so in their real names. We understand Gordon’s view, and it’s no secret that some representatives on the web team would agree with him completely. Our professional advisor supports our majority view, however, that a change of policy would only lead to a different set of problems. We are happy to re-visit this matter at our next meeting.
Moderators: Colin Johnson (web team chair), Nick Hawkins (secretary), David Silver