That EU blog suggestion

Dippy MEP suggests that bloggers should reveal who they are and also reveal whether they\’ve got any connections or interests to the subject(s) under discussion. Marcel Berlins seems to think this is a good idea.

It is that anonymity that\’s at the hub of a debate and vote that takes place in the European Parliament tomorrow. An Estonian MEP, Marianne Mikko, is worried that a growing number of blogs are written with "malicious intentions or hidden agendas". She proposes that bloggers identify themselves and declare any interests they have in the issue they\’re writing about. Her concerns should be taken seriously. We, the readers of blogs, do not, and normally cannot, know who lurks behind the funny nickname. We need more information about the writers so that we can decide how seriously to take their opinions. Has she a personal stake in whatever it is under discussion? Does he belong to a dodgy or extreme campaigning body? Is she the sister of the owner of the restaurant she\’s recommending? Does he bear a personal grudge? We don\’t know.

Hmmm. Just thinking about this a little. Will Hutton has been screaming his head off about how the government should be spending billions upon billions to stave off the collapse of the housing market. You have to dig around quite a lot to discover that Mrs. Hutton is a buy to let property developer. Should this information not be appended to every Will Hutton column?

Or is what we do for free in our own time to be regulated more fiercely than what journalists do for pay?

Mmm?

23 thoughts on “That EU blog suggestion”

  1. Hmm. Let’s start with members of House of Lords who receive EU pensions disclosing it before each debate, and MPs who want to throw taxpayer’s money shoring up house prices disclose how many properties they own, and we’ll see where we go from there.

  2. Since I saw this idea, I have seriously thought of starting blogging again. Anonymously of course.

    This is just part of the left’s consistent wish to discredit people rather than engage in discussions.

    If I make a comment as an anonymous blogger, then readers can place as much, or as little credibility with my comment as they like. If I have an agenda, after a while, in a blog it will be obvious.

  3. I have never understood why bloggers use nom-de-blogs in the first place. Some of it seems to stem from the same urge that led CB radio freaks to aggrandise themselves with names like “Stud Muffin” &” King of the Road” etc.
    Most of the e-mails are hardly actionable and I have never succeeded in getting anything even mildly abusive onto popular sites, though sorely provoked.
    People should put their names to their own opinions,as, for instance, Mark Wadsworth does.There is too much running off at the mouth under the cover of anonymity on some sites from people who don’t want to be held to account for what they say or the bad spelling and atrocious syntax they use in saying them.

  4. I have never understood why bloggers use nom-de-blogs in the first place.

    I would suggest there are multiple reasons but here’s one.

    Most bloggers are doing it in their spare time. What they do may conflict with the interests of their employers. eg. Police blogs, NHS blogs etc

    Others blog at work and don’t want to create a conflict of interest. I’m thinking here of people like JohnB (Shot By Both Sides) who was traced at work.

    And sure there is some factor in choosing a silly name: eg devils kitchen.

  5. I would go further: when you have nothing else to go on, you have to engage with the actual argument being put forward.

    No wonder people are uncomfortable about it…

  6. Of course, some of us just take note of the number of people who think people who express opinions should be ‘held to account’…

  7. @DJ Not the best turn of phrase” held to account”,but I do think you should stand by what you say to the extent of putting your name to it.Otherwise it s like kids on bikes hurling abuse and then pedalling frantically off or, in your case ,issuing vague threats anonymously. You have to give quite a lot of personal information when writing letters to the press and the situations are pretty comparable.
    The point about people e-mailing sites when they’re supposed to be working (for somebody else) is something that occurred to me after despatching the first e-mail and is doubtless correct.(Though if working-class people were wasting a firm’s resources,there would be less toleration,I would suggest .)
    In particular some tireless contributors appear to be working in the public-sector while barely controlling primitive right-wing impulses.
    As for the point that anonymity causes engagement with ideas only…what arguments?Misspelt tirades,rants, mad American derived opinions that all taxes are bad,the public-sector is a drain on wealth -producers, are the substance of too many sites.

  8. “In particular some tireless contributors appear to be working in the public-sector while barely controlling primitive right-wing impulses.”

    How dare they hold the wrong views! Don’t they realise when they sign onto a job in the public sector, their thoughts and lives become subordinate to the collective will..?

  9. “Misspelt tirades,rants, mad American derived opinions that all taxes are bad,the public-sector is a drain on wealth -producers, are the substance of too many sites.”

    What would be an acceptable number of sites for these things then?

  10. “You have to give quite a lot of personal information when writing letters to the press and the situations are pretty comparable.”

    No, they are not. I am the publisher of my blog, not the Times or the Telegraph. I know who I am. My choice to write pseudonymously is no one’s concern but mine. When you read what I write, you make a conclusion about its veracity – you do not need to know my name to do this and there is no reason why I should be compelled to provide it. Nom-de-plumes have a long tradition, it’s not something new and it’s not something confined to blogs.

    Bottom line? My blog, my rules. Don’t like it? Don’t read it. Or is that all just too simple?

  11. “Misspelt tirades,rants, mad American derived opinions that all taxes are bad,the public-sector is a drain on wealth -producers, are the substance of too many sites.”

    Oh, my, heaven forfend. Don’t read them, then.

  12. DBC is a prime example of why 25% of people would support such legislation – they are ideological leftists who traduce every principle of fairness and justice in the name of the utopia to come. Think about the fact that he is serious. He actually just justified impeding our rights to express ourselves on the grounds that some of us are right wing. And he did the same thing in the name of fairness. The tragedy is that these bastards, this malignant minority, have been in power for the last ten years. And they are in permanent power in Brussels, because if the EU was a democracy it would have been dissolved before it even existed. And he’s an idiot who can’t express himself in proper sentences.

  13. Pingback: Shades of Grey » Blogging & the EUSSR

  14. This is all getting a bit fraught,as always on liberty-loving sites.
    I do not believe in this Estonian woman’s proposal to enforce publication of bloggers’ real names and backgrounds. This is ridiculous and unenforceable to boot.
    I do believe as a matter of form that you should put your name to your opinions as,indeed, our host, Mr Worstall, does.(IMO The most interesting blogs have names attached to them:Tim Worstall, GeorgeGalloway, Mark Wadsworth, Neil Clark, John Redwood).All too often anonymity reinforces the culture of ranting and name-calling. ( Talking of which,despite the CB radio monicker Longrider ,I did look up his blog.Given the strength of his opinions ,this gentleman is advised not to put his real name in plain view on the cover of his book advertisment or to give the name of his employers in the course of his fulminations; neither detail, for reasons of form ,will I repeat. )
    Julia M’s straight blast about public sector workers’ opinions might not pass the test of reversal: she would not like it if a dedicated trade unionist/ leftie kept publishing details of the alleged shortcomings of private companies.All later collected into a book.Funny we don’t get many of those, despite the free-market ,bonus culture and all,going to extremes that appear to have paralysed the capitalist system.Heigh ho! This is nothing compared with the public sector robbing the wealth producers by demands for living wages.
    In any case , it is obvious that people blowing the whistle on work-specific blogs, deserve full anonymity. I just wish there were more work-specific blogs about the private sector. Recent history does not show them to be unblemished.

  15. Sigh…

    I post psudononymously – not anonymously. There is a difference. A fairly obvious one, I’d have thought. Clearly I thought wrong. I don’t make any attempt to hide my real name as I’ve mentioned before in various discussions. I choose to post under a pseudonym, nothing more (and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the silly CB craze of the nineteen eighties). It’s no different to, say, William Hickey or Edith Pargeter… it’s a nom-de-plume. Get over it.

    I don’t give a toss for what you find “interesting” or not – I don’t write for you, I write for me. My name to my writing makes no difference to it whatsoever. It stands or falls on its own merits. You like it or you don’t – read it or not as the case may be; your choice.

    And, for the record, what part of “I work for myself” do you not understand? Given your inability to follow plain English, I’ll take your advice with the pinch of salt it deserves.

  16. ” This is ridiculous and unenforceable to boot.”

    Possibly, but they will try to enforce it nonetheless. Don’t you think – even for a second – that the very fact that they are considering such a ridiculous thing ought to be cause for very significant concern.

    You really need to address the fundamental issue posed earlier: “some of us just take note of the number of people who think people who express opinions should be ‘held to account'”

    What part of that is not absolutely terrifying?

  17. Damn, it sure is complicated. I post comments (and do business) under my own name. That way, I won’t forget who I am. Or what the name of my company is. That’s what I’ve told people jokingly for nearly 40 years. But now it’s no joke.

  18. The MSM has a long, and quite venerable, tradition of pseudonymous regular contributors. Some have been members of the professions, (especially law and medicine), who did not wish to appear to be advertising their pre-eminence.

    Others, such as Beachcomber, have been a syndicate, or succession of writers maintaining a tradition or style.

    Why should people be allowed to have books published pseudonymously, if they can’t do the same with websites?

  19. Mr Reed,

    I suspect the reasons many bloggers choose a nom de blog are legion. For some it’s out of fear of repercussions, for others it’s a desire to have a colourful identifying brand. You may find that some people choose a “handle” because they have some deep seated psychological need to create an interesting alter ego; and others may simply be following in the noble tradition of the 18th and 19th Century pamphleteers. There are probably as many reasons for people choosing wierd blogging names as there are bloggers.

    But, let’s be honest here, the wide variety of strange/imaginative/downright wierd names chosen by bloggers does make life a little more entertaining. Blogroll lists packed with names like Longrider, Satan’s Aardark, The Little Fat Bloke, Recess Monkey and so on are way more interesting than lists that look like extracts from the telephone book. Rather than decry such imagination and diversity we should embrace it.

    As for the poor syntax, grammar abuse and bad spelling evident in some blogs, I happen to think that’s just part of the charm of a mass publication medium. But, if it does offend people, why do they keep reading? Nobody’s holding a gun to their heads, after all.

    deMontfort Remittance

    ps I echo Mr Potarto’s comment: What does DBC stand for?

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