Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is allowed, but discouraged. Unless you have a very good reason not to sign your posts, please sign them with your real name. For the purpose of this policy, your real name means your full name, as it would typically appear on your driver's license, passport, credit card, or personalized checks.

Signing your posts with your real name means you stand behind your words. It means others on the list are more likely to take you seriously. And it means you are willing to be held accountable for what you say. In order for the list to be a good place to conduct civil discussion of important town issues, the large majority of posters must sign their real name.

At the same time, some people cannot post on certain topics under their real name without fear of losing their job, or jeopardizing their personal safety, or other reasons of a similar nature. So it is understood that allowing anonymous posting can be valuable, and we allow it for this reason.

It is all too easy, however, for the privilege of anonymous posting to be abused by someone who wants to vent their spleen without being held accountable. This behavior is not permitted.

Opinion on the list about anonymous posting is split. I get about equal amounts of mail saying that anonymous posting should be banned as that it should be allowed. So the compromise is as follows:

You are allowed to post anonymously if you have a good reason for it, and if you take care in your messages to avoid stirring things up. Anonymous postings that are argumentative, controversial, or uncivil will result in the poster's future postings being moderated (that is, individually approved by me). Messages from such a poster will be subject to being summarily rejected without notice.

This policy will generally only be enforced when it appears that the poster is abusing the privilege of anonymous posting. It will not usually be enforced when it is obvious that the message is only inadvertantly anonymous, for example when the poster forgets to sign a perfectly civil message.

By the way, if you sign your message with a false name, there is probably no way for me to know. However, there are over a thousand people on the Arlington list, so your friends and neighbors probably will know, unless you take care to use a different email address, and never give away any identifying details about yourself, and so on. In my experience this degree of deceit is unusual, and not worth worrying about for the purposes of the Arlington list. Grownups with integrity don't do it.