Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Should Anonymity Remain?

Posted by auroracitizen on June 10, 2009

Well the vote is in and it seems people prefer anonymity on this blog (well most people do) — at least for themselves.

We asked the question a couple weeks ago and over 75% wanted to maintain anonymity on the site — although slightly better than half voted that people be required to use a pseudonym.

Should Anonymous Comments be posted?

  • 35% said; Yes, leave things as they are
  • 41% said; No, require people to use an anonymous online persona
  • 22% said; No, require people to sign their names

So we have decided to leave things unchanged and simply ask that people honour the request and chose a nom de plume for the benefit of responding to comments.

We won’t enforce the policy, but it will be interesting to see the commentators who choose a name and those who continue to remain anonymous.

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7 Responses to “Should Anonymity Remain?”

  1. Heather said

    "Only those with a link are identifiable (like Evelyn Buck above)."

    AND if you were really looking to remain anonymous while posting WITH a Google id (like mine, or Evelyn's) there's no reason you couldn't create a google id that says you're John Doe with an email address of

    Google does not require you to provide a secondary email account in order to verify your setup.

  2. Aurora Citizen said

    Fair question Richard. The blog moderators are unable to determine who anyone is that posts as anonymous or even uses a name. Only those with a link are identifiable (like Evelyn Buck above). Even a user name such as yours can be faked.

    So members of Council have the ability to comment anonymously if they choose. We certainly know that some are regular readers because CAO Garbe demanded that a specific comment be removed and only a regular reader would even see a comment that was one of a long list on that particular post.

    In fact, some commentators have stated that because of the tone and information of some comments they appeared to be from a member of Council.

    You will have to review the tone and manner of the comments to decide where they might originate from.

    You make a good point about credibility.

  3. Richard Johnson said

    I'd like to ask the moderator of this blog a question: Given that you are aware of who makes the submissions this site, I would like to know if it is fair to assume that some members of council make postings anonymously.

    I would find it more than a bit ironic if elected officials were attempting to defend themselves or their allies in a public debate about transparency, accountability and integrity while doing so from behind the screen of anonymity.

    I also can't help but think that some of the postings on this site are written by our co-mayors in particular, which would obviously shatter any shred of credibility they may still have.

  4. A concerned resident said

    Someone had asked for a repost of the information on an investigation of a closed meeting of Council. So here it is.

    "Any person who thinks that a council held a closed or in camera meeting when they shouldn't have (or under improper grounds) can request an investigation now under the provincial legislation. I note that I could find nothing posted on Aurora's website about how one could go about it. Nevertheless, the "person" may have to file a fee and indicate what "closed" meeting needs investigation and an independent investigator does their thing. Of note is the fact that we are not talking about the Integrity Commissioner; this is an investigator separate and apart – it could the Ontario Ombudsman or a independent one. In checking the Ombudsman's site, Aurora appointed LAS (Local Authority Services Ltd) as their meeting investigator. So if there is a person out there who wants to question any particular closed meeting, the process to do so is there."

    I agree with Evelyn that anonymity should be a choice and judging by the negativity heaped upon a good portion of those that share their opinions, is it any wonder that most of us choose to remain anonymous.

    Kudos though to those that post their name.

  5. Elizabeth Bishenden said

    I disagree with Evelyn. Of course, I've been mis-identified before. I'm never ashamed when someone thinks I'm thinner or smarter than I really am, but being identified as a Conservative is really a bit much.

    However, I know some people like anonymity. I can understand that. It's just that "Anonymous" has become ubiquitous on this blog.

    For those of you who don't want to use your real name, please choose a username so that the threads can be unravelled by readers.

  6. Evelyn Buck said

    I think anonymity should be a choice.

    Gossip is a social function but political gossip is fraught with tension.

    People should be able to hold forth without risking friendships or good neighbourly relations.

    It's a good thing.

  7. Mario Andretti or maybe Elizabeth Regina said

    Good idea, but if you don't lock in your username – anybody can masquerade as you.

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