Friday, April 25, 2008

Asheville Blog Gets International Attention

From The Guardian:

This week, the ethics of anonymity. A debate has arisen on the North American blogosphere about whether or not people should be able to post reviews of shows without making it clear who they are. It all started over on Asheville Reviews - a blog dedicated to reviewing theatre in the town of Asheville, North Carolina. After a disgruntled and unnamed critic posted a very negative review of a show called The Tempest Project, Dr Scott Walters of the University of North Carolina responded by saying: "how dare you post a slam like this without the courage to use your own name. If there is 'arrogance, disrespect, and incompetence', it is in your review."

Walters' anger has prompted a fair degree of soul-searching on behalf of the blog itself. And while some consider anonymous posting cowardly, others argue that it can give people room to be far more honest than they might otherwise be. In a comment on Walters' own blog about the subject Ben argues that: "As an actor, I can't post a review that is even a little bit negative without risking the black ball effect. People want to work with those they like, and they might not like me if I write a poor review of their work. It's too risky to not do this anonymously." And of course, this principle that anonymity equals honesty is not confined to blogging. After all, would William Mark Felt Sr have been as candid back in 1972 if he had not been able to hide behind what is possibly the most famous pseudonym in history: Deep Throat?

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