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What about WordPress blogs too, Julia?

By Ray Dixon.

Note: I’ve reproduced this post from my blog Alpine Opinion, as it concerns a subject often discussed here*.

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It's just too easy to start up an anonymous blog.

It’s just too easy to start up an anonymous blog.

It’s certainly good news that Prime Minister Julia Gillard has struck an agreement with several major websites to help deal with the problem of online bullying, but she’s obviously unaware of one of the worst culprits, being the US-based blog host WordPress (the one I and countless others use), who seem to have a blind-eye policy on people using their services to establish anonymous blogs for defamation, stalking & harassment of real individuals:

The agreement with Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo! and Google – which owns YouTube – sets out guidelines for what is acceptable online behaviour and introduces protocols for how to deal with problems. Importantly for law enforcement agencies, it also requires a single point of contact for the Government to deal with each company. Ms Gillard says the impacts of online bullying can be significant because of the potentially large size of the audience and the anonymous way in which things can be said.

“It’s true, I think, and part of human nature that people will say things that are sharper and harder under the cover of anonymity than they would say to someone’s face,” she said. “And we see that in the online environment every day.”

In response to the Coalition’s online safety policy released last year, the Government said it had already established “cooperative relationships” with social networking sites, including Facebook, and that Twitter had agreed to work with the Australian Federal Police to identify so-called trolls. But Ms Gillard is pressuring Twitter to sign up to the new agreement announced today.

“We need to see Twitter also agreeing to use these protocols and guidelines, because it is on Twitter that so much of the damage has been done by trolls,” she said. “And I do call on Twitter to replicate what has been done by other major social media companies and embrace these guidelines.”

As part of the new protocols, social media sites will be required to act on complaints promptly and provide users with an indication of how complaints are typically dealt with. Representatives from each company will meet with the Government every six months to talk about emerging issues and trends in social networking sites.

Comment:

It’s at least a recognition that something needs to be done about the scumbag cowards who anonymously denigrate and harass others online, although I still don’t think it goes far enough. My concerns are:

1. There’s no mention of straight out banning users from establishing a website without giving the provider some identification and, thereby, a much easier means of the offenders actually being found and dealt with. Why not include that in the ‘protocols’? It’s not hard and makes sense – I can’t see why anyone should be allowed to start a blog or Facebook page without first proving who they are and, thereby, being effectively registered. It wouldn’t require them to disclose their identity on the blog itself, but just knowing that the host will have to hand it over to authorities if they offend would be a huge deterrent to those who set out to deliberately do damage to others.

2. Following on from this, without requiring the hosts to properly identify (and register) their Blog/Facebook page owners, the government is still simply leaving it up to the host company’s discretion as to what actions they will take and what constitutes ‘online bullying’ behaviour. But, if the government were to pass legislation that made it compulsory for Blog/Facebook page owners to provide identification then the hosts would definitely comply and hand those details over to authorities – because it’s a law. Eventually, this is what will have to happen, in my opinion.

3. I wouldn’t be so worried about Twitter not signing on yet. I mean, what is said on Twitter is utter gibberish and fleeting – it’s here this moment, gone the next. Twitter is hardly causing online problems to the same magnitude that WordPress, Google & Facebook are.

4. And, as I said above, someone needs to tell Julia Gillard about WordPress. It just shows you how out of touch with reality our politicians are. Facebook may be the hate-medium of choice for Gen Y, but there are plenty of anonymously-authored WordPress blogs out there that are arguably just as bad … or worse … when it comes to serious defamation, stalking & harassment on the Internet.

At least we’re heading in the right direction, albeit at a snail’s pace.

(* I still stand by my contention that if you are opposed to blog or Facebook owners having to provide [in confidence] identification before they start up, then you’re effectively condoning the continuation of online abuse and stalking)

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30 Comments

  1. Brian says:

    At the risk of repeating myself and reigniting an old argument, I’d say that all sounds fine in theory but is unlikely to work. For these reasons:

    1. As almost two decades of internet use has shown, where trolls, muppets and pedophiles are booted or banned from one corner of the internet, they will migrate to another. Which is not a reason NOT to ban them, of course, simply an acknowledgement that it won’t solve the problem.

    2. Forcing blog owners to register won’t necessarily stem the flow of vitriol or slander. If blog owners want to run an open comment policy, those kinds of comments will still be made. Of course they may not last as long as they do now, but they can still be made nonetheless.

    3. Defamation and harassment on Twitter IS just as much a problem as on other mediums. There have been some interesting cases in the UK of late, where people have racially abused and defamed others on Twitter then been held accountable before the law. Just because you don’t take Twitter seriously doesn’t mean others think the same.

    I still stand by my contention that if you are opposed to blog or Facebook owners having to provide [in confidence] identification before they start up, then you’re effectively condoning the continuation of online abuse and stalking

    And I stand by my contention that that is just a piece of intellectual blackmail, intended to force others to accept your position. I am opposed to stalking, harassment and online abuse. I support better regulation of online use. I do not think registering blog owners is the best way to do it. That’s the top and bottom of it.

  2. Ray Dixon says:

    Brian, you’re referring to commenters, not blog owners. If blog owners allow trolling comments then it’d be the blog owner held accountable … provided he’s registered and/or identifiable.

    I dispute your claim that Twitter abuse can be anywhere near as damaging to an individuals’ long term reputation. Sure, it can inflict some short term pain but it’s not permanent, unlike a blog.

    And exactly what sort of “better regulation of online use” do you suggest? If you haven’t a better idea (and it seems you don’t) don’t criticise mine.

  3. Craig says:

    Nanny state much…Eh, the more nanny state people push the more likely a dark net or separate Intranet will evolve. Eventually sapping the all seeing eyes intel and economic power. So mote it be.

    No wonder the left right paradigm is eventually bankrupting Western civilisation.

  4. Brian says:

    If blog owners allow trolling comments then it’d be the blog owner held accountable … provided he’s registered and/or identifiable.

    Therein lies the problem – I don’t think the blog owner should be held accountable for something posted by a third party. What happens if someone posts on my blog that you are a pedophile, and the comment remains visible for 12 or 24 hours? Should I be held responsible for that?

    I dispute your claim that Twitter abuse can be anywhere near as damaging to an individuals’ long term reputation.

    Do you seriously think a defamatory tweet by someone with 5,000 followers is going to do less damage than a defamatory post on a blog read by 50 people, simply because the medium is different?

    And exactly what sort of “better regulation of online use” do you suggest?

    I’ve already put forward ideas in the other post about this. The US-based social media companies must be more pro-active about deleting offensive material and surrendering up email addresses, IP logs, etc. I suspect this can only be done with legislation.

  5. Ray Dixon says:

    the more nanny state people push the more likely a dark net or separate Intranet will evolve

    Oh really? And who gives a f*ck about that? Look, we live in the real world and cyberbulling is a real world problem. I suggest you try to get out out of your, um, haze, Craig.

  6. Ray Dixon says:

    Brian, you’re putting up strawman arguments. A blog owner IS responsible for 3rd party comments, as Iain is, as I am. Are you suggesting people should be able to avoid that responsibility by blogging anonymously?

    As for Twitter, well, put Twitter aside then. I don’t give a shit about it, but if you think it matters then regulate that too. Okay?

    The US-based social media companies must be more pro-active about deleting offensive material and surrendering up email addresses, IP logs, etc. I suspect this can only be done with legislation

    Glad to see you agree with me then. But you haven’t put that forward before.

  7. Brian says:

    Brian, you’re putting up strawman arguments.

    No, they are hypotheticals, as indeed are yours.

    A blog owner IS responsible for 3rd party comments, as Iain is, as I am. Are you suggesting people should be able to avoid that responsibility by blogging anonymously?

    I don’t use WordPress so I don’t know what its terms and conditions are. But I’d be very surprised if a court of law upheld a claim against Blogger A for a defamatory statement made by Commenter B, unless Blogger A approved and/or endorsed the statement in question. If a blog is unmoderated then in effect it is an open channel for anyone to publish anything. This is distinct from newspapers, where there is editorial oversight before anything is published.

    As an extension of that, can WordPress be sued for things published on WordPress blogs? I’d say not. But I would argue that they could be sued for failing to act on and remove illegal or defamatory material. The same should apply to individual bloggers. In my experience the best way to frustrate trolls and give them a moment of pause is to pull their nonsense as soon as it hits the web. They’ll quickly give up and find something else to do.

    But you haven’t put that forward before.

    I did actually; you must not have noticed it.

  8. Ray Dixon says:

    You’re putting up nitpicking hypothetical possible scenarios/examples to an overall concept, Brian – that’s the difference. But okay, let’s go with your “Blogger A, Commenter B” example:

    I think a court would uphold a claim of defamation if the blog owner approved of the comment in the first place (ie, a comment from a previously unauthorised commenter). However, if it were a regular commenter (already approved) who made the rogue comment, then it would depend on how expeditiously Blogger A acted to remove the offending material and whether or not he apologised for it or made some kind of covering/mitigating comment … in my opinion. You see, you are splitting straws here but the fact is that bloggers like Iain and I are already responsible for what others say on our blogs – so why do you object to anonymous bloggers being held equally liable? It’s a moot point and, as I say … you’re nitpicking the concept of blogger registration.

    As for WordPress, presently they’re protected by US laws and can’t be sued for what their users publish. But if Australia passed a law requiring bloggers to register/prove their identity before they started a blog, WordPress (being the ‘socially responsible’ company they are) would actually respect that law and comply … in my opinion. The problem is a lack of legislation and, as it stands, WordPress and the like simply don’t see why they should change their policies of ‘anything goes’.

  9. Brian says:

    You’re putting up nitpicking hypothetical possible scenarios/examples to an overall concept, Brian

    No Ray, I’m doing what legislators and law reformers always do: I’m thinking about how things would work in practice, and what loopholes and unintended consequences might emerge.

    the fact is that bloggers like Iain and I are already responsible for what others say on our blogs – so why do you object to anonymous bloggers being held equally liable?

    I don’t. But how does the state knowing the identity of a blog owner make anonymous commenters more liable? Sure, it places greater onus on blog owners to remove problem comments. But I doubt it will impact on the people who make those comments in the first place.

    But if Australia passed a law requiring bloggers to register/prove their identity before they started a blog, WordPress (being the ‘socially responsible’ company they are) would actually respect that law and comply … in my opinion.

    Well that’s certainly where I don’t agree. Firstly, the cross-national boundaries of the internet would make that a very difficult proposition. WordPress would have to operate a different platform in Australia than they do elsewhere. They’d have to put in systems to collect, process and store personal information from foreign citizens; all that would require additional labour and costs. It would not be in their corporate interests to comply, unless of course the Australian government threatened to block all access to WordPress, etc.

    The problem is a lack of legislation and, as it stands, WordPress and the like simply don’t see why they should change their policies of ‘anything goes’.

    Yes of course that’s true. The problem is that they are all American companies, and American laws are almost always written to suit corporate interests. Plus Americans are paranoid about impositions on First Amendment freedom of speech, more paranoid than they should be (though not as paranoid about challenges to the Second Amendment).

  10. Ray Dixon says:

    Brian, you’re putting forward fairly petty arguments against a system or protocol that has not been fully designed (or even thought of) yet. Okay – we/they will take those ‘concerns’ of yours on board but they are not dealbreakers to enforcing a stricter control over the establishment of online blogs/web pages.

    The State knowing (or having access to) the identity of a blog owner would certainly make the blog owner more cautious about the comments he allowed on his blog. No, it wouldn’t make the rogue commenters change their MO but we are talking about the blog owner, remember? If a blog owner knows he’s in the shit for allowing the rogue comments (because he had to prove his identity at the outset) what do you think might happen? As it stands now though, the anonymous scumbag blog owners just let it all be said and say, “So what? I can’t be traced”.

    And I think you’ll find WordPress will comply with any new Aussie cyber laws (provided, the government realises they exist!). I reckon they could make the necessary adjustments using one cyber kid for about, oh … 2 or 3 hours? I.E. not a big cost.

  11. Ray Dixon says:

    Just as an aside too, in their earlier days WordPress did actually have a anti-defamation policy and would act on complaints. I made one over a blog (an anonymously authored blog of course) that had seriously defamed me. I had to provide WP with identification first (copy of my drivers license) which I did. They accepted that I was the person being defamed and they took the blog down. I don’t know why they stopped accepting such complaints (probably because they could) but the point I’m making is this: they clearly have the facility to accept blogger id and it’s not a difficult process – they just need to be forced to do it.

  12. […] Like Ray I find the moves  announced recently by Gillard to hold some internet platforms accountabl… to  making cyberspace somewhat more civil environment for those of us who use it, and lest face it that means just about everyone these days. While many long term users have long resigned themselves to the notion that civilising the online space is “impossible” I am rather more optimistic that civility will be enforced incrementally over time and I think that enforcement will come from the courts acting in both criminal and civil cases to demand that those running the blogging platforms provide the identifying  details of site-owners when those individuals have slandered or defamed real individuals. […]

  13. Brian says:

    Okay – we/they will take those ‘concerns’ of yours on board but they are not dealbreakers to enforcing a stricter control over the establishment of online blogs/web pages.

    You’re talking like this is a fait accompli, Ray, and that parliament will be legislating it very soon. But I’ve yet to see this proposal for “registering blogs” discussed anywhere but here.

    No, it wouldn’t make the rogue commenters change their MO but we are talking about the blog owner, remember?

    Well are you. But I’m not sure I like this heavy onus on people who operate blogs. Most of the sniping and vitriol and harassment on the internet comes from transient commenters, not blog owners. I can foresee instances of blog owners being caught in the middle, or being accused of involvement in criminal activity that they have neither encouraged or facilitated. It’s a bit like criminalising graffiti then telling people who own walls that they have a responsibility to stop it.

    I reckon they could make the necessary adjustments using one cyber kid for about, oh … 2 or 3 hours?

    I very much doubt that.

    Just as an aside too, in their earlier days WordPress did actually have a anti-defamation policy and would act on complaints.

    That’s an interesting story and I would suggest that’s how they should behave. If they were more proactive in removing nonsense, it would be less likely to appear in the first place.

    Another possibility might be to actually charge to use the WordPress service. Not much, say $20 a year or $2 a month or something. That way WordPress would have the credit card details of all users. And I suspect that having to pay to abuse others would scare off most of the trolls (who are probably students or jobless bums anyway.)

  14. I agree with Craig, it’s taking the nanny state just another step too far!

    As far as I am aware, your IP address is as good as any identification in most cases. Therefore, an aggrieved individual can go through the channels accessible now.

    Take it to the next level. Leaving aside the potential for legally suspect comments, anonymous or otherwise, any one of us who runs a blog and particularly one of a political nature, then any one of us critical of the government of the day could be open to legal action. That’s censorship. Deprivation of free speech. I won’t wear that.

    I was active in helping to drive Senator ‘Censorship’ Conroy to drop his ridiculous Mandatory Internet Filter proposal, because it would not be a simple matter of limiting filtration to paedophile activity I will be just as active to prevent further intrusion into internet freedom that threatens free speech because I think that will logically be the next step if measures in the form of legislation are taken to mandate identification of anyone wishing to create a blog, message board or any other forum.

    Iain and Ray, do you believe political or news blog owners should be required to join the Press Council or some news media council that may replace the Press Council regardless of the number of page hits? Please keep in mind the reasons why the Gillard Government conjured up reasons for an enquiry into the media which gave birth to the Finkelstein Report. And we anxiously await the fallout from that should it happen before the next election.

    It may seem I have gone off tack a bit, but in my opinion, it’s all relevant, including knowledge that the UN has been yapping about taking over control of the Internet recently.

    Be careful what you wish for.

  15. Iain Hall says:

    Fiona
    Both Ray and I are big fans of “Free speech” however when people speaking in their own names can be denigrated by an endless line of anonymous suck-holes is speech really that free? That is my point, the producers of content have to be accountable and without that accountability it’s the nutters and belligerent haters who hold the upper hand.Which does no one any favours.

  16. Ray Dixon says:

    Brian,

    “I’ve yet to see this proposal for “registering blogs” discussed anywhere but here”
    Most people have no idea of how it all works and how easy it is to start a blog in total anonymity and use methods to avoid detection (and that’s what the serious scumbags do, believe me). Take Gillard – she doesn’t even seem to know about WordPress’ existence, let alone how it’s used by anonymous authors to conduct vicious hate campaigns. So just because my suggestion is not also being discussed on however many blogs it is you frequent, doesn’t diminish it as a worthwhile idea. As I said, it’s just my opinion that registration/proof of identity will eventually become mandatory. I might be wrong but I’ve got a distinct hunch I’m not. Initially, motorists were not required to be licensed or have their cars registered. And mandatory seat belts only became law in the 1970s. Yeah, yeah, apples & oranges, but the point is it takes time for the legislators to catch up (and catch on).

    “I’m not sure I like this heavy onus on people who operate blogs. Most of the sniping and vitriol and harassment on the internet comes from transient commenters, not blog owners … It’s a bit like criminalising graffiti then telling people who own walls that they have a responsibility to stop it.”

    The onus has always been on people who operate blogs to avoid allowing defamatory or harassing commentary. If Iain ran this site like the anonymous author of the (now deleted) infamous Stalk Watch blog he would not only have had his arse sued off many times over, he’d have also been charged for various online/carriage service/stalking offences. He’d be in jail. No blog owner who does the right thing would be caught out by this, penalised or infringed upon in any way – only the very few who deserve to be caught would be affected. And, as I said earlier, it’ll encourage them to stop and give up. And your wall-owner example is sheer nonsense – the blog owner IS contributing to the problem if he/she lets it happen, unlike a home-owner who is an innocent victim of the grafitti vandal.

    Once again, you’re just nitpicking for the sake of it. It beats me why you oppose the idea so vehemently – you haven’t actually detailed how it would infringe on anyone’s rights, liberties or personal freedoms. Nothing changes on that score, except the ‘rights’ of people to set up a blog for anonymous abuse & harassment. It’s a no-brainer.

    Fiona, you’re taking your worries about it too far. Think of it as just having to register your car before you can drive it. It’s not like anyone is proposing to curtail your freedoms, in fact the less anonymous abuse there is on the Internet the more freedom you’d have to continue what you do – you could even remain anonymous (to the rest of the world, that is).

  17. Brian says:

    And your wall-owner example is sheer nonsense – the blog owner IS contributing to the problem if he/she lets it happen, unlike a home-owner who is an innocent victim of the grafitti vandal.

    It’s far from nonsense, it’s a close analogy of the problem. Most wall owners don’t sit around waiting to spot graffiti, they just deal with it – after the fact. A blog owner doesn’t “allow” malicious comments, he/she can only remove them – after the fact. That doesn’t solve or prevent the problem, it only cleans it up – after the fact. Sure, it might deter some idiots, but that’s all.

    My son used to run an online forum when he was university. Since it was part of the uni site, the university had oversight but he was deemed responsible for its content. But since it was an open forum, it attracted the kind of personal abuse and malicious gossip you expect in student politics. In the end he gave it up, because he either had to check the site every 20-30 minutes, or put up with several phone calls each week asking him to remove offensive comments. Do you think that the university knowing his identity stopped the dingbats and trolls from abusing the site?

    Once again, you’re just nitpicking for the sake of it. It beats me why you oppose the idea so vehemently – you haven’t actually detailed how it would infringe on anyone’s rights, liberties or personal freedoms.

    As I’ve already said, my opposition is based on the fact it wouldn’t work. If it was going to work then my guess is that someone else would have already thought of and implemented it. I simply think there are more expeditious means of dealing with ratbags.

  18. Ray Dixon says:

    Brian, a home owner whose wall gets grafittied is not analgous to a blog owner having rogue commenters. If anything he/she is analgous to the host, the blog format provider or service provider (like Google, WPress or even Telstra). Your example sucks because a blog owner is the publisher and, as publisher, he/she has responsibilities … and control. Sorry about your son’s experience but the owner of that forum was clearly registered. It’d be the Uni or the SRC or the like, and anyone aggrieved could take action against them. Hardly anonymous and I don’t believe it would be allowed to continue out of control – it’d be in the news and on TV if it did.

    my opposition is based on the fact it wouldn’t work. If it was going to work then my guess is that someone else would have already thought of and implemented it.

    It’s not a FACT that it wouldn’t work – it’s only your opinion that it wouldn’t. And I’d suggest the main reason that tighter controls (ie registration/id of blog owners) haven’t been implemented or widely called for yet is simply because Internet abuse is still a fairly recent phenomenon. These things take time – I apologise for having more vision than others but I can clearly see it happening at some stage. It’s inevitable, in some form.

    I simply think there are more expeditious means of dealing with ratbags

    Yeah, right, like what? Look, we’re going in circles. To summarise: I oppose anyone being allowed to set up anonymous hate blogs at will without fear of detection. And you …..? (I wouldn’t want to “ascribe” any views on you).

  19. Brian says:

    Your example sucks because a blog owner is the publisher and, as publisher, he/she has responsibilities … and control.

    But not complete control, not unless every comment is moderated. Blog owners aren’t publishers; they are intermediaries between companies like WordPress and Blogger and the general public. And most blogs are unmoderated, so there is scope for any idiot to make defamatory comments that might stay online for one, two, 12 or 24 hours, depending on how often the blogger checks his/her site. Exactly how much legal responsibility and liability do you expect hobby bloggers to have?

    It’s not a FACT that it wouldn’t work – it’s only your opinion that it wouldn’t.

    I never said it was a fact; actually I said it was “my guess”. And while it’s only my opinion that it wouldn’t work, it’s only yours that it would. Or is your opinion somehow worth more than someone else’s?

    These things take time – I apologise for having more vision than others but I can clearly see it happening at some stage. It’s inevitable, in some form.

    Oh well I agree with that. There will be attempts to regulate at some point in the future. We’ve already seen significant changes in the way some social media sites have tightened their registration process. Blogging and running websites, however, is a bigger paddock that is harder to plough. It will require a more considered approach.

  20. Ray Dixon says:

    Brian, Bloggers are not “intermediaries between companies like WordPress and Blogger and the general public”. You make it sound like Bloggers are nothing more than mere go-betweens or agents and are innocent victims of what WordPress etc put out, when the reality is WordPress etc are simply providing the means by which a blogger publishes, with very generous terms of service.

    And it is up to each blogger to decide how they moderate their blogs. It is entirely under their control as to what gets published or what remains published. Eg: Most sensible and responsible bloggers set comments to “must have a previously approved” comment, which means all comments from new visitors (or even old visitors using a different name or email address) are held in moderation. Thereafter, their comments go up automatically, however they can be easily placed on permanent moderation if they offend. It’s up to the blog owner to be vigilant enough to check the comments regularly and several times a day in case a previously approved commenter turns rogue. If a blogger knows he’s not going to be able to do that for a day or more it’s a simple process to set ALL comments to moderation temporarily. We have already discussed this and, once again, you are nitpicking. And wrong. A blog owner is a publisher in every legal sense of the word. And it is easy to control the comments. Look at Iain & I – blogging for 8 and 7 years respectively without being sued and without breaching any laws despite some comments getting through but then removed. Mountain – molehill, Brian.

    I never said it was a fact; actually I said it was “my guess”.

    Hang on, Brian, this is what you said: “my opposition is based on the fact it wouldn’t work”. Maybe you meant to say it was your “guess” it wouldn’t work (or your opinion) but you called it a FACT. And i haven’t said or implied my opinion is worth more than other’s, but when people put up strawman and clearly invalid arguments against my notion as you’ve done, it tends to add weight to my opinion.

  21. Brian says:

    I’m done on the issue Ray. We look at this issue from different perspectives and we have different opinions about how it should be addressed. But you just seem obsessed with being right and haranguing those who happen to have views that don’t align with yours. And to be honest, your aggressive tone is becoming boring. There’s other things I’d rather do than listen to you stomp your feet, tell me I’m wrong and accuse me of supporting anonymous trolls.

  22. Ray Dixon says:

    Brian, I effectively said yesterday that we’d done it to death and I gave you the opportunity to summarise and leave it at that:

    https://iainhall.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/what-about-wordpress-blogs-too-julia/#comment-78785

    Look, we’re going in circles. To summarise: I oppose anyone being allowed to set up anonymous hate blogs at will without fear of detection. And you …..? (I wouldn’t want to “ascribe” any views on you).

    But instead, you came back with your repeated (and disproved) claims that a blogger is not a publisher and cannot adequately control what others might say on his/her blog. I’m sorry to say you were “wrong” about that but you clearly were. Likewise you were wrong about denying you said it was a “fact” that blogger id/registration wouldn’t work.

    And I’ve hardly “harrangued” you – I’ve simply responded to your responses to my post. Have you ever heard of the saying ‘don’t criticise someone else’s suggestion if you don’t have a better one yourself’?

  23. Brian says:

    I’ve put forward several ideas, including phone activation and credit card fees for WordPress blogs. Both would give WordPress access to personal information about the blog owner, which is what you’re demanding. You just haven’t noticed (probably because you’re too fixated with winning the argument instead of listening to other points of view.)

  24. Ray Dixon says:

    I’m not “demanding” anything, I’m suggesting/putting forward what I believe to be a realistic, workable and (ultimately) inevitable solution – namely that the only way to stop the easy anonymity of getting and running a blog for malicious purposes is to require (by law) all blog owners to provide identification to the blog provider. Your ‘suggestions’ (which I DID notice) are not suggestions or a solution per se – they only go to the mechanics of how it might work if (and only if) bloggers are first required to provide id. If it’s not made compulsory by law then the likes of WordPress & Google simply won’t collect that information – because there’s no law saying they have to. Ergo, you haven’t made a real alternative suggestion.

  25. Craig says:

    I agree with Fiona, great name that to.

    It seems baby bummer’s want to bring the 1950’s to the internet. 😉

    Like the Gutenberg Press, you can’t stop the “Internet Reformation”. Many politicians and the few corporations are attempting to pull up the information flow on the net. It’s being played out in politics for more then just bullying, defamation and copyright.

    IMO, on this subject Ray and Iain are what the political manipulators of mass opinion of the plebs call, “Useful idiots”.

    Ray if it’s cyber bulling you’re worried about, perhaps an educational course at school’s and Tafe for those less safe with their identity on internet use would be a more productive course.

    Other than that I think there will always be a place for annon and real name use on the internet. As people will always find a route around an activity deemed illegal by the state.

  26. Ray Dixon says:

    I’d respond to that, Craig, if it made any sense.

  27. Craig says:

    To set in your ways, like the saying goes, “Can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”.

  28. Ray Dixon says:

    “To set”? Can’t teach Gen Y to spell.

    And I know how to use the Internet – what on earth has your comment got to do with the topic?

  29. Craig says:

    Well at least you’ll make a great year 2 teacher, Ray.

    Perhaps if you were more inquisitive, and used google more often, there would be no need of your question.

  30. Ray Dixon says:

    Craig, when you can actually contribute something to the debate, I’ll respond to it. You’re just talking in riddles and nonsense.

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