Sunday, June 12, 2005

Other outings of the anonymous - rumored, attempted, actual

June 30: I'd forgotten that blogger (and talk show radio 'personality') Hugh Hewitt outed PressThink commenter 'Ben Franklin' last winter. I guess blogging doesn't magically instill ethics.

Mon. June 20 update: South Knox Bubba outs himself, in response to the local paper's publisher's threat to do it; the formerly anonymous Atrios weighs in.

Start of a collection. (do you know of any others, and their circumstances?)
There may be plenty that we'll never know of, or shouldn't publicize, since the natural inclination would be not to draw attention to it, to minimize the harm. And the harm can be substantial: as one correspondent pointed out, if you're a woman who's escaped a violent ex-husband - or you're another victim of violence - whether or not your name gets printed can be a matter of life and death.

I asked the writer of Medpundit about the publishing of her name in an article some years ago; here's her account*:
The AMA didn't out me. I gave them permission to use my real name.

Although I haven't been interviewed by a lot of reporters, those who have spoken to me have always made a point of asking me how I wanted to be identified. My local paper did an article about Medpundit and the reporter took care not to mention who I was, although I gave her my name and phone number so she could make sure I was really a doctor.

P.S. I can't think of anyone off-hand who has been outed. The only ones I can think of are people who made their names known themselves, like Atrios (who revealed himself as Duncan Black, about a year ago; Luskin had tried to out him earlier) and "Jane Galt".

There have been cases where people were outed for cause, having posted under false or misleading circumstances:
Libertarian 'Girl' (see here), and Buckhead/Harry MacDougald and "Mike" (info).

Also, The One True b!X (of the Portland Communique) recently outed an anonymous commenter with relevant undisclosed connections - excellent work.

(mine, from May 31)

1 comment:

Russ Steele said...


EFF has released some legal advice for Blogger. Link on NC Media Watch