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Old 05-30-09, 08:12 AM   #1
UnsafeAlpine
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'Net Anonymity

I just watched a very good science series made by a youtube user. His series was so well laid out, in fact, that he was talked into making it copyright-free for possible use in schools. He is still using his youtube user name as the author of the series. This seems strange to me. I was brought up with the idea that if you have something to say, something that helps in a discussion, you should make yourself known. You shouldn't hide behind a veil.

How valid, really, is this argument, though? Is internet anonymity really that anonymous? Would it be ok for me to cite his series in a discussion?

I'll sometimes get a pamphlet about some "theory" and it's written anonymously. It's difficult for me to trust anything written because I can't verify the author. It just seems to me that this is similar.
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Old 05-30-09, 08:15 AM   #2
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I wouldn't cite it, for the same reason I wouldn't cite Wikipedia, if you're doing it in an Academic venue.
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Old 05-30-09, 08:20 AM   #3
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I wouldn't cite it, for the same reason I wouldn't cite Wikipedia, if you're doing it in an Academic venue.
The thing that really interests me is that the guy claims to be a science reporter and has been for the last 20 years or so. I'm just curious if there is a new thought process coming out about it.
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Old 05-30-09, 08:26 AM   #4
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Never thought of it from that point of view....

It'd be interesting to look at.
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Old 05-30-09, 08:37 AM   #5
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Using the web, I recently organized an event that ended up being the front page headline news story on a sunday paper, and my name definitely wasn't mentioned.
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Old 05-30-09, 08:54 AM   #6
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The thing that really interests me is that the guy claims to be a science reporter and has been for the last 20 years or so. I'm just curious if there is a new thought process coming out about it.
Now, for disclosure...

I have floated ideas under my pseudonym to stir a little real world debate in a restricted venue (P&R) to prepare to support my arguments later in real life. It's been a useful tool for me, too.
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Old 05-30-09, 09:04 AM   #7
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Now, for disclosure...

I have floated ideas under my pseudonym to stir a little real world debate in a restricted venue (P&R) to prepare to support my arguments later in real life. It's been a useful tool for me, too.

You know my views on this Tom.
Unfortunately, not on that issue, but on some other ones, having my
name in space in the venue it was, was not to my benefit at all !
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Old 05-30-09, 10:35 AM   #8
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I wouldn't cite it, for the same reason I wouldn't cite Wikipedia, if you're doing it in an Academic venue.
Yeah there's citing and then there's getting taken seriously, you can cite anything anywhere you can get away with it, but in some venues you a) can't or b) can but will get mocked. Think of a spectrum of venues ranging from anonymous usenet/web sniping through face-to-face with friends, gray literature, publication for profit, all the way out to peer-reviewed academic publications.
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Old 05-30-09, 10:46 AM   #9
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You know my views on this Tom.
Unfortunately, not on that issue, but on some other ones, having my
name in space in the venue it was, was not to my benefit at all !
Yep, that I do!
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Old 05-30-09, 11:02 AM   #10
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it seems odd that someone making a serious point in an academic or debate scenario would want to be anonimous.

anonimity is for more personal reasons for fraud prevention so only where you post personal info or talk about yourself so people can piece fragments together about you and then clone you. just putting your name to an abstract argument is ok i would think.

i saw a news report where starting from facebook info, a security expert pieced together enough to open bank accouts and obtained personal data in half an hour from multiple sources. a bit from each source and as he got more he got more convincing so then could access even more until he had enough.

i'm paranoid.
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Old 05-30-09, 11:24 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
I just watched a very good science series made by a youtube user. His series was so well laid out, in fact, that he was talked into making it copyright-free for possible use in schools. He is still using his youtube user name as the author of the series. This seems strange to me. I was brought up with the idea that if you have something to say, something that helps in a discussion, you should make yourself known. You shouldn't hide behind a veil.

How valid, really, is this argument, though? Is internet anonymity really that anonymous? Would it be ok for me to cite his series in a discussion?

I'll sometimes get a pamphlet about some "theory" and it's written anonymously. It's difficult for me to trust anything written because I can't verify the author. It just seems to me that this is similar.
Talk about off-base. (My previous post had NOTHING to do with this.)

YouTube would probably be highly frowned upon as a reference for any academic work. Seriously, would you trust a video from the same location that you find videos of monkeys flinging poop?
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Old 05-30-09, 01:03 PM   #12
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Talk about off-base. (My previous post had NOTHING to do with this.)

YouTube would probably be highly frowned upon as a reference for any academic work. Seriously, would you trust a video from the same location that you find videos of monkeys flinging poop?
Monkeys flinging poop have a better point than half of the videos on youtube.

So to add to this, the series actually sites scientific works as its basis. So, I guess I'm maybe not talking about citing, but passing on these videos. I wouldn't be inclined to pass on an anonymously written pamphlet, but would I use these videos as something to help people get what science is and what we know?
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Old 05-31-09, 09:41 AM   #13
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Sure, you can use the videos to help acquaint people into the scientific process, but I would take caution in using them as academic references.
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Old 05-31-09, 09:00 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
I was brought up with the idea that if you have something to say, something that helps in a discussion, you should make yourself known. You shouldn't hide behind a veil.

How valid, really, is this argument, though? Is internet anonymity really that anonymous? Would it be ok for me to cite his series in a discussion?
Using a handle is neither anonymous nor is it hiding. What makes someone an authority is not their legal name, but a record of contributing ideas.

If the handle is meaningless to others, that means that the idea essentially validates itself (which won't impress many academics). This is the same as would occur with any otherwise unknown author.
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