21 August 2009

Odious blogger exposed

Anonymity is the bane of blogging. Nothing undermines the quality of discourse in the blogosphere more than the ability of anyone with a computer to spew toxic verbiage into the web world without any accountability whatsoever. It is as surprising as it is depressing to observe what mischief even normally responsible people will get up to under a pseudonym. I believe there is a blogging law that says if a thread reaches more than ten posts someone will have been called a nazi.

Perhaps the uncivilized behaviour characteristic of so much blogging will be suppressed a little by a recent court case in New York. Model Liskula Cohen, slandered by an anonymous blogger, went to court and forced Google, whose Blogger service the culprit used, to reveal the identity of her tormentor. The case has been described as a "landmark." Ms. Cohen is now able to sue the offending blogger for slander.

Most people who abuse blogging are probably quite decent human beings who would never say the trashy things they do in their posts if they were speaking to their victims face to face. Anonymity simply brings out the worst in them. If this case curbs some of the worst, it will be a victory for responsible blogging everywhere. As a blogger myself, I thank Ms. Cohen, her lawyers and Madam Justice Joan Madden of the Supreme Court of the State of New York.

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