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What is being "Anonymous?" Why is it good?

I spend a LOT of time on 4chan. I also spend a LOT of time on Hidden Services from Tor. https://www.torproject.org/

So why do I? Because I want to. Because I like reading. Because it's harmless. For other's, it's a movement. I have no agenda myself, so I'm no threat to anyone. My only goals are to do as I wish.

But, why would this be a cause worth defending? It's simply a leisure activity of mine, right?

"     "This is our world now... the world of the electron and the switch, the beauty of the baud. We make use of a service already existing without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn't run by profiteering gluttons, and you call us criminals. We explore... and you call us criminals. We seek after knowledge... and you call us criminals. We exist without skin color, without nationality, without religious bias... and you call us criminals. You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us and try to make us believe it's for our own good, yet we're the criminals."

    — The Mentor from The Hacker's Manifesto

The principles of anonymity are simple.

The basic premise of it all is that you cannot have free speech if you can be punished for what you say.

If you're able to be connected back to your speech, you could be harmed for it. If you espouse anti-racism, you could get killed by skinheads. If you're pro-X, you could get killed by an anti-X'er. It's just dangerous. No matter what protections there are, there's always a possibility someone could nuke your house. The only real protection is that they can't know who to nuke in the first place.

When you have truly free speech, people contribute ideas without fear and develop means of separating the good from the bad. Anonymity allows a fool to be a genius once, and a genius's foolery to be discarded. Anonymity judges the content, not the metadata.

An anonymous entity exists without race, color, sexual preference, gender, age, or privilege. Anonymity makes it possible for bigots to work with those they hate for their metadata or for their meatspace identities.

Names promote pride and ignorance. Once you've taken a stand behind a name, you won't give it up easily. After being behind enough good ideas or enough successful events, anything you say will be automatically elevated above anyone else's. Likewise, after a few failures, your ideas will be judged not by the content of their character, but by the color of their predecessors. This allows for fully free expression to grow as a pool of knowledge is contributed to by equal peers, who then share in the collective good they've created.
Viewed: 61 times
Added: 7 years, 1 month ago
7 years, 1 month ago
Very well put.
7 years, 1 month ago
I agree very much so.  When I was younger, I used to believe we had free speech, but my opinions made authorities of every level see me as their enemy.  Even though I would not go out of my way to break their rules, the fact that I was dissatisfied with them had me targeted.
I wonder what the constitution would look like if it was written to reflect the way society operates today?
7 years, 1 month ago
I dont think society has changed much...remember most of those people writing it would have been killed had the war gone the other way
7 years, 1 month ago
Well said~

Also, I hope that the new EU-law about the 'right to be forgotten' will be adopted soon, because nowadays it's a must...to get a sort of level of 'neutrality'. Because going anonymous requires more and more time, work and money.
7 years, 1 month ago
You seem to be forgetting the big problem with complete anonymity like that. If a person has a history of really terrible ideas, it is unlikely that they will suddenly produce brilliance. By having them identified in some way you can learn whose ideas are good and whose are bad which saves a lot of time and perhaps money and suffering. Why take a random stranger's opinion on a subject when you can go to someone who you know has a history of giving good, accurate advice?

That's not to say I don't support anonymity. I do. There are very few overlaps between Rakuen and the real me, except for those that have met me. As Rakuen I am anonymous, in my real identity being safe or reasonably safe, but I am also accountable for what I say. People can judge my past and see whether I generally tell the truth or just spout gibberish. I think that filter of accountability is vital to make real progress.
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