I was informed last night that almost a year ago someone sharing the same IP address as I have sometimes used has anonymously written comments on the blog Confessions of a Chicago Theatre Addict. Because of the shared IP addresses, the writer of the blog, Robert Bullen, had been led to believe that I was posing as someone else in order to criticize his writing.
While there are multiple possibilities as to why someone might share the same IP address as the one that appeared when I commented, that is not the point of this post. The point is that I am deeply hurt that people would think I would stoop to such a low level as to hide behind anonymous commenting in order to criticize individuals, to draw attention to myself, or to start arguments with myself. I find anonymous commenting, particularly when using comments as a form of criticizing a writer, to be one of the greatest forms of cowardice and deeply unprofessional. After my own experiences with anonymous commenters, I am in favor of requiring people to connect their comments to Facebook or Twitter accounts in order to hold them more accountable for their actions. I would never hide behind an alias in order to attack someone or criticize them and would rather send them an email or discuss a matter over coffee. I am saddened people would jump to such a conclusion about me as a writer and a journalist because that does affect my credibility and integrity. If there is anyone else that has been led to believe I have attacked them anonymously, I am immensely sorry that you were led to believe this since it is something I would not do.
That being said, this is the second time in less than a month I have written on this blog about anonymous commenters on theater-related blogs. I am tired of writing about this topic because anonymous comments as a form of attacking a writer is something I deeply despise after my own experiences on this blog. I would like to think that the theater portion of the blogosphere is not as filled with vitriol as it tends to be, particularly in comments, but the past month has shown to me this is not the case.
As a result of my disdain for those who comment anonymously, I have decided to implement a new commenting policy for Fragments. Starting immediately, I will no longer approve comments in which a person does not use their full first and last name, unless their comment is linked to a WordPress blog. This applies to everyone, even members of my family and close friends. I have decided that if I am really annoyed by this, I should try to do something.
That is all. I will return to blogging about non-theater related topics next week because I’m in the middle of finals right now.