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Question of the day

Friday, Apr 29, 2005

Very busy day ahead of me today. Need to change my drivers license, have phone and cable installed in the new house, check my storage locker, pick up the moving truck and drive north. So, I doubt I’ll be posting anything.

I’ve been getting this question a lot this week, so I’ll post it here. Should I require that people choose a nom de plume when they post comments to eliminate all of the posts from “anonymous”? People could still keep their true identities secret, but requiring user names would allow us to more easily follow a conversation thread.

I’d especially like to hear from the people who post as “anonynmous.”

UPDATE: SBC showed up early, but I’m still waiting on the cable guy. So, I killed a little time by reading your comments on this post.

The debate has already produced one result. I’ve added timestamps to the comments, so people can now refer to, for instance, “anonymous 8:30am.” The change should make it easier to follow the thread. I’m still undecided about requiring user names, however.

UPDATE 2: I’ve decided to continue to allow anonymous posting for now. But I strongly encourage everyone to pick a screen name. It’s no big deal and very easy to do.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Hubert - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 8:47 am:


  2. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 8:50 am:

    It depends on whether you wish to inhibit comments. I read the blog regularly, but post irregularly. If I had to arrange for a blogger account with another username and password in order to comment I probably won’t continue to comment. I already have more than enough user IDs and password to remember. In addition, I have to work with knuckleheads in the administration, (I’m not on the state payroll) so I’m not going to do anything that increases the possibility, however remote, of someone connecting up my occasional comments to me. - If that occurs, my livelihood is affected.

  3. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 8:50 am:

    Absolutely. As long as there is no way of being able to trace a nom de plume back to a real person. I think a lot of people post anonymously because of their job - I’m one of them.

  4. - ArchPundit - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 9:16 am:

    You mean, wait for the cable company to not install your cable today and spend a couple hours on the phone while everyone wonders why you are upset they didn’t show, don’t you?

  5. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 9:21 am:

    Rich, I feel it will really inhibit comments. Many of us have ALOT to lose if our identities are revealed and I know I am not willing to take that chance…no matter how secure people think it may be.

    Just keep the “Posse” on their toes for the real jerks, but ANON posts help keep alive some of the “lively” debates that make this place so fun to visit.

  6. - Decatur Democrat - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 9:25 am:

    I’m in agreement with keeping anoymous post an option, once you cut back on those comments go down quick. For whatever reason people who regulary comment just won’t register.

  7. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 9:27 am:

    Why are you required to register in order to attach a name to your post?

    I am not going to register because there is no need to. If you had to ‘register’ to use each and every web site on the net, things would grind to a halt. We’d be buried in a mountain of passwords and logins! Think of the drag that would have on the economy. Of course, we can all just blame the Blago because that’s what all the cool kids do these days.

    Some blog sites allow you to attach a name (confer: Gaper’s Block) with out having to register. I’d go for that.

    And I’d pick the name ‘Hercules Rockefeller’, unless someone else took it first.

  8. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 9:28 am:


    Due to my position, I would prefer to be as anonymous as possible. I visit your site daily, but post infrequently. From what I have seen, most contributors post in a responsible manner, and I appreciate the candor in many of the comments posted here. I believe that candor can be attributed to the option of posting as “anonymous.”

    It is your site, and I respect your right to set policy. I hope you will continue to allow us the option to post anonymous contributions.

  9. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 9:28 am:

    Keep ‘Anonymous.’ Yeah, it’s frustrating, but there *are* folks posting anonymously that do have tidbits to contribute.

    Moreover, once you force users to choose names, you’ll still have *other* users claiming that so-so registered twice under different names — and that user X is *also* posting as User Y. And then — once the fuss is big enough — you’ll get vigilantes threatening to unveil identities, etc. etc. It’s a mess. And it happens on a lot of other blogs.

    The blanket “Anonymous” user helps keep the playing field level. Part of what you have to decide — and this is a philosopical approach you’ll have to take — is what is more important (a) indvidual users or (b) the information provided by users. My vote goes to “information”. The fact that so-and-so is posting the information is of no importance.

  10. - Tom Joad - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 9:32 am:

    You should either stop the anonymous blogs or have a number added after the word like anonymous46 for those who just can’t think up a fake name. How hard is that to remember?

  11. - So-Called Austin Mayor - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 9:40 am:


    If anonymous posters used a time stamp the first time they post on a conversation thread, it would permit people to follow the conversation in the comment thread and allow them to continue posting without any uniquely identifying name.

    All they would have to do is put “9:38″ in their post and then folks would be able to say “Anon 9:38 has a good point but…” or “Anon 9:38, have you ever been to Springfield?”

    If the person that posted at 9:38 chose to rebut the follow up comments he could post a reply using the original time stamp identifier, e.g. “9:38″, so that the conversation would have continuity.

    I think that this would address the conversation continuity issue that you raise, and maintain anonymity.

    P.S. I prefer to think of my name as a nom de guerre.

  12. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 9:48 am:

    This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

  13. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 9:50 am:

    If ther are ANY identifying trademarks to a post, even a theoretically anonymous nom de plume, then a profile can be developed on the person posting. Even though the possibility would still be remote (depending on the person’s discretion), it would exponentially increase the possibility of being outed with each additional post. As someone said earlier, people’s livlihoods could be affected and that would have a grossly negative effect on the number, and candor, of the comments.

  14. - Shelbyville - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 10:01 am:

    I went ahead and registered the last time you mentioned it. There was nothing to it. I use the same password most of the time and if I can’t remember where I was born, I am out of touch.

  15. - BuckTurgidson - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 10:20 am:

    No more Mr. Michigan Ave?

    I guess I’d rather people pick a name — it can still remain anonymous - and one need not register with blogger to use a handle.

    But if people feel strongly about keeping the anon tags — they should probably be allowed to do so (though still, any identifying handle…GuyWhoLikesToast…OxygenBreather…can still be anonymous).

  16. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 10:23 am:

    So Called Austin Mayor proposes the best solution. Post a time at the close of a message. This will encourage ad hominem attacks among your posters which will keep both you and the vigilante squad busy. The Anon poster who suggested you focus on the Fax has it right. Those of us who butter your bread are beginning to tire of the typos,goof-ups, and thin content. The bloggers are not newsmakers or sources. Leave the peanut gallery and get back in the circus. 10:20am.

  17. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 10:23 am:

    I would love “nom de plume” Can I have Nellie Fox?

  18. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 11:06 am:

    Anonymous posters contribute a lot.

    Keep it.

  19. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 11:08 am:

    I post as anonymous only because I’ve never gotten around to registering. It’s just easier to hit the anonymous button rather than register or sign in. Is that lazy or what? LOL

  20. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 11:17 am:

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t comment any more if I had to register. Because I’d probably just register at a new account every time I posted to prevent people from trying to guess who I was, and that would be a pain.

  21. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 11:18 am:

    don’t do it!

  22. - Nellie Fox - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 11:26 am:

    Nellie Fox is taken.

    (Just kidding.)

  23. - jimmy james - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 11:39 am:

    get rid of the anonymous…don’t make people register though as alot of these people will run for the hills.

  24. - Gov. Blagojevich - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 11:43 am:

    Eliminating anonyomous postings would improve state government efficiency by 45%.

    Get back to work all you slackers. Floggings will continue until morale improves…

  25. - Disgruntled State Worker - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 11:50 am:

    Please, sir, can I have some more?

  26. - At First I Thought... - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 11:50 am:

    …registration was good.

  27. - But then I - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 11:51 am:

    …this could really be annoying even if you changed your handle every time. SO keep ANON and be done with it. But add time stamp.

  28. - Recent Appointee - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 11:55 am:

    Work is good.

    The governor is good.

    The state is good.

    All hail the state!

    Boo to Ryan. Boo to Edgar. Boo to Thompson.

    That is all.

  29. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 12:30 pm:

    I believe the Inside Dope requires a blogger account and that site rarely has comments, especially when compared with this site.

  30. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 12:39 pm:

    Can I have Mitch Riller?

  31. - Mitch Riller - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 12:43 pm:


  32. - Mitch Riller - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 12:49 pm:

    Wait, I thought I was Mitch Riller.

  33. - Mitch Riller - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 1:19 pm:

    You are. We just posted those comments, don’t you remember?

  34. - Mitch Riller - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 1:25 pm:

    Yes, I remember. Thank you.

  35. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 2:00 pm:

    You guys are cracking me up. Here’s my opinion: as A State Employee, I’d be afraid my registration could be traced. Call me paranoid, but hey — I can’t risk it. The Anonymous option lets me post without fear. However, if I could attach a name without registering, I would. And guess what? I work for … no, I can’t do it! *cluck-cluck-cluck*

  36. - Mitch Riller's Mother - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 2:18 pm:

    Actually, the “Mitch Riller” posts above served to show the advantages and disadvantages of posting using the “Other” feature. Plus: You don’t have to register, you just make your comment and choose “Other” and only fill-in the username and not the password. Minus: Anybody can do the same thing and “pretend” to be you.

    I think it’s just easier to post as Anonymous and forgetthe whole thing.

  37. - Mil Richler - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 2:22 pm:

    I don’t think handles will work on this blog - anons are worth keeping.

  38. - Cynic - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 2:28 pm:

    I think the time stamp idea is good. But I also think people need to be aware that they can post as ‘other’ without registering - they can just pick something other than anonymous.

    Isn’t it sad that the fear of being traced and thus losing your job is what makes so many stay anonymous? And frankly, I think if someone took the time to really review all the anonymous comments with their insights into how state government works, it would make for a fascinating read. It is obvious that there are commenters from a wide array of state agencies - and I’m guessing that like me, they see and hear a lot - but need their paychecks and thus won’t risk jeopardizing it.

  39. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 2:30 pm:

    As a “dedicated” Human Services employee who should be dealing with welfare cases instead of blog reading, all I can say is anonymity is great! Keep it up Richie!

  40. - Hizzoner - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 2:47 pm:

    RE 2:30
    Daley or Miller?

  41. - Shelbyville - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 3:07 pm:

    Just how anonymous are we anyway? I think people have a false sense of security on here.

  42. - dominica longo - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 3:52 pm:

    there aint nothing wrong with anonymous postings…badabing badaboom.

  43. - the Other Anonymous - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 3:54 pm:

    Like a lot of commenters, I do not always agree with the people who butter my bread. Since I am not posting on their behalf, the option of not revealing my identity allows me to comment honestly.

    I like the option of using a nom de guerre without registering on blogger. It does make the threads easier to follow, but time-stamping works almost as well. Time stamping, however, does not make it easier to follow commenters from one thread to another.

  44. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 6:58 pm:

    Blago spy says

    At first I thought it best to have us choose a handle. But, if there might just possibly be a way to gather the info there would be a lot more unemployed state employees. This group “in charge” is a savage group of infants. If they can find a way to kick an old timer in the teeth they will. Besides they could issue a no-bid contract to a donator, I mean supporter, to search the web for dirt.

    BTW fellow posters. A lot is spelled a lot, two words, not alot being one word. Sorry, my Mom made me put that in.

  45. - DazedGovernor - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 7:07 pm:

    I saw a headline in the Tribune this morning stating the Blagozo is “unfazed by the audit”. I nominate him for the Alfred E. Nueman “What? Me worry?” award.

    Boy o boy… he dumb!

  46. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 29, 05 @ 10:08 pm:

    I have started a lot of interesting debates on this site using Anonymous. That will stop if I have to pick a name.

  47. - Roger Parker - Saturday, Apr 30, 05 @ 6:09 am:

    All the state employees who use this blog and make comments at work should be fired.

    Can the Anons, let’s see who these blithering cowards really are!

  48. - Lessons Learned on Southren Illinois Farm - Saturday, Apr 30, 05 @ 10:19 am:

    When I first read your question I was opposed to getting rid of anonymous but after reading some of the comments I have changed my mind.

    When I was a kid growing up on a farm we raised hogs. On occasion my brothers and I would go out in the hog lot where we fed the hogs and turn over the hog trough that the hogs fed from. Underneath were always a bunch of rats hiding out. When the rats were exposed to the daylight they scatterd and ran to look for another dark place to hide.

    Mr. Miller if you get rid of anonymous it will be like turning over the hog trough.

  49. - Anonymous - Saturday, Apr 30, 05 @ 11:32 am:

    “All the state employees who use this blog and make comments at work should be fired.”

    I couldn’t access this blog, much less make comments from it, at work. If nothing else, the IT people at my agency (who now work for CMS, IIRC) are good at internet filtering. Sometimes TOO good, as I often get blocked on work-related sites.

  50. - John Booger - Saturday, Apr 30, 05 @ 10:45 pm:

    Rich, did you get the Playboy channel or Spice channel package ?

  51. - Tessa - Sunday, May 1, 05 @ 8:57 am:

    I debated whether or not to create an identity. I decided to. I figured, for me 1) what I post here is the truth and 2) my opinion when I’m just commenting back on things. If I thought what I was posting or commenting would get me fired, I wouldn’t. Several times I’ve had to back off from what I was going to write, but it hasn’t stopped me.

    Like the person who responded to Roger Parker (who apparently has no clue how the majority of state employees work), I don’t have access to the Internet at work and I don’t have time to post at work because I’m……working. Fire me for just cause. If I were unethical (tee hee) or not doing what I’m hired to do - and I love what I do or I wouldn’t still be there, so that ain’t gonna happen. Don’t say “Fire state employees who post” just because you think they do it on state time, because we can’t.

    Let people comment however they want to, identity or not. I like the added time feature.

  52. - Louis G. Atsaves - Sunday, May 1, 05 @ 2:25 pm:

    Real names please. I always use mine. Stand up and be counted. Voices coming from the shadows do not always have the same integrity. For every “whistleblower” in the shadows of anonymity, there are 20 who have other agendas in mind.

    Louis G. Atsaves

  53. - Anonymous - Sunday, May 1, 05 @ 3:44 pm:

    Really Rich it comes down to what you want this site to be.

    Do you envision capitolfax blog as a message board where faceless nameless state employees, lobbyists, legislators and their staffs can comment on things they see and hear relating to state government without any fear of recourse (aside from the comment posse zapping their words) — where the information is more sought after than the source?

    Or do you want to require a name or a profile so you can match up the comments with a name like you would a letter to an editor in any publication?

    If that’s the case, you’ll get a lot less posts and the site will be a lot more boring and less informative. And not just because I will stop posting.

    The difficulty that some folks were having following anonymous-dominated conversations should be alleviated with the timestamp, so it really just comes down to whether you think anonymouses serve a purpose here.

  54. - Mongo - Sunday, May 1, 05 @ 7:30 pm:

    I used to post anonymously but chose a name after becoming comfortable with posting…Rich, don’t require it, the timestamps will help identify comments anyway

  55. - Anonymous - Sunday, May 1, 05 @ 9:40 pm:

    i post anonymous simply because ive already got too many passwords and names to remember for this computer. i will also say that i respect those who select names and identify themselves.

    i work in government and i support the governor. sometimes reading the messages causes me to feel defeated, as if nothing that this admin has done has been worthwhile. then i realize that 98% of those posting on this site do so from monday to friday, 9am to 5pm. all state employees. the opinions expressed on this message board may be a good window into the mind of state employees waiting for the next election and hoping that blago loses, but it is not reflective of the common voter in this state. for those who insult the governor and the administration with anonymity, just as i turn the kool aid away to find out what real people think of this governor, i urge you to turn away your own governor hating, kool aid drinking cabal. this guy has done a lot of good for a lot of people. your wheaties will forever be taintd by the taste of piss if he gets reelected in 2006.

    i will work hard to see that he does.

  56. - Tessa - Monday, May 2, 05 @ 7:21 am:

    “i work in government and i support the governor. sometimes reading the messages causes me to feel defeated, as if nothing that this admin has done has been worthwhile. then i realize that 98% of those posting on this site do so from monday to friday, 9am to 5pm. all state employees. the opinions expressed on this message board may be a good window into the mind of state employees waiting for the next election and hoping that blago loses, but it is not reflective of the common voter in this state. for those who insult the governor and the administration with anonymity, just as i turn the kool aid away to find out what real people think of this governor, i urge you to turn away your own governor hating, kool aid drinking cabal. this guy has done a lot of good for a lot of people. your wheaties will forever be taintd by the taste of piss if he gets reelected in 2006.”

    Hmm, if you work in state government then you know not all state employees work 9-5. I’ll get the obvious out of the way. And for every state employee, there’s an ex-state employee, and a private sector employee who posts. It’s certainly not 98% state employees here.

    Sure, a few good things have happened, but when you look at the overall picture and you see what frontline staff have to do, what they face on a daily basis, the good gets negated. You don’t have to wait an extended time to get your Public Aid card to see a dr. or card to buy food.

    Be real. I supported Rod when he ran because he had a good message and I believed in him. He’s let me, my son, my constituents down. I find it hard to believe anything he says, especially when I’m supposed to maintain high standards at my workplace and I see those in high places not doing the same. I want a real leader.

    And I use a Blogger name. I don’t feel the need to hide behind anonymity when I want to stand up for what I believe in.

  57. - Anonymous - Monday, May 2, 05 @ 9:45 am:

    i can’t believe we pay $300 for this tripe!

  58. - Rich Miller - Monday, May 2, 05 @ 10:13 am:

    Then, by all means, please cancel. If you don’t want it, I don’t want you. And it’s $350, not $300.

  59. - Anonymous - Monday, May 2, 05 @ 11:17 am:

    Hey Rich-

    After you’ve changed your drivers license and gotten phone and cable hooked up, don’t forget to move your voter registration, too! There’s an election coming up next year and you might want to participate in it.

  60. - Anonymous - Monday, May 2, 05 @ 11:55 am:

    boy, somebody woke up in the wrong bed today!

  61. - Anonymous - Monday, May 2, 05 @ 12:38 pm:

    Just for the record, there was nothing snarky about my suggestion that Rich move his voter registration. I didn’t see it on the to-do list, and didn’t want Rich to forget. Isn’t there room for sincerity on this blog?

  62. - Rich Miller - Monday, May 2, 05 @ 1:22 pm:

    I’ll get the voter registration changed soon. Promise.

  63. - anonymouse - Tuesday, May 3, 05 @ 1:12 pm:

    This post has been removed by the author.

  64. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 3, 05 @ 5:00 pm:

    SBC sucks, high prices, bad service trying to ace out competition

    Jesse White’s office is so poorly managed it is unbelievable

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* Drews becomes IAR president; logo celebrates IAR’s 100 years
* The hashtag winner for the 100th Anniversary contest; start using it now
* Letter: Will County communities should curb impact fees to spur growth
* Morning Minute: REALTORS® expect moderate price growth in the months ahead
* Local associations can get ‘covered’ on IAR’s 100th anniversary
* Learn about Crosby’s service award in Illinois REALTOR®
* Name change sanctioned by IAR board at Fall Business Meetings
* MRED becomes Centennial Sponsor for IAR’s 100th Anniversary
* ICYMI: Top 4 Stories on the IARbuzz Blog
* Morning Minute: 15 home maintenance projects for this fall

* Board’s New Rules Will Reduce Risk of Tire Fires and Disease-Carrying Mosquitos
* Illinois Hosts Inaugural Interstate Medical Licensure Compact - Aims to increase health care access through multi-state physician licensure program
* IEMA Announces Elgin Community College Attains ‘Ready to Respond Campus’ Designation - Elgin one of five Illinois campuses to receive distinction
* New Mortgage Loan Interface Increases Efficiency, Compliance
* State Fire Marshal Ushers In Fire Prevention Week - “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep!”

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