Sonoran Alliance Discovers Anonymity Not Always So Great, After All


The one non-anonymous writer at the popular political blog Sonoran Alliance laments in a recent post that anonymity "provokes a temptation" in authors to insult people and lie.

Those are two good reasons why New Times has busted the blog repeatedly on our site for allowing such liberal use of nameless authors. We'd add political bias as one other reason why anonymous posts (or comments) -- while occasionally interesting, truthful or useful -- must be read with a boulder of salt. Even if an article contains true "facts," the bias and potential for distortion could be considered if you know who wrote it.

Shane Wikfors, who goes by the handle of "DSW" on the blog site, wrote his article becaues he was concerned about the "ugly" things being written about the Arizona Republican Chairmans race by anonymous authors. It's humorous to watch Wikfors do the mental gymnastics required to justify his blog's use of pseudonyms, while simultaneously dissing the anonymous writings that offend him:

True, the majority of our writers post anonymous because they fear political repercussions to their livelihood.

But at the same time, writing under a pseudonym provokes a temptation to lose all civility when posting something related to a political opponent/competitor. Even worse, is the temptation to promulgate incorrect or false information.

And then there are the anonymous/pseudonym comments.

For several prominent bloggers here in Arizona, the problem has become that writing behind a pseudonym is ruining the political discourse because it allows a passive aggressive lack of civility to occur.

Funny, we don't recall anyone at Sonoran Alliance bitching about the lack of civility on a now-defunct anti-Tim Nelson Web site that was apparently written by people who work for Nelson's opponent. Back in October, the androgynous "Pat" lauded the site for doing a "great job" exposing Nelsons "lies."

But were they "lies," or was "Pat" merely succumbing to an anonymous writers' "temptation to promulgate incorrect or false information?"

(Also, since nobody at SA figured it out: The cigar-chomping hombre wearing a black mask in our Photoshopped mock logo is Subcommandante Marcos. We figure the site employs at least one militant ultra-leftist for balance).

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.