The ethics of anonymous online commenting:
I’m not a lawyer. Those with expertise can inform me. Do we really have to take the Shelby County Commission’s subpoena seriously when it will not or cannot articulate the purpose of the subpoena? In the absence of their own justification, what are we to imagine is their interest in the identities and addresses of those submitting online comments to the Commercial Appeal? What is it that demands that we not laugh in the face of a legal move to force others to surrender their anonymity that is mounted by a group that shrouds the intent of its maneuver in silence?
The line is not a legal border, but perhaps the line of propriety between rights and responsibilities with regard to contributing to public discourse lies between wanting to protect one’s identity and wanting to prevent everyone from discovering how little there is to one’s identity.