To: Stephen Taylor, The Blogging Tories
Progressive Bloggers of Canada
[ADDED] Liberty Blogs
... etc etc ...
I hate to interrupt your determined efforts to ignore all of the exciting developments on Canada's political scene over the last week or so, but I have something I'd like to chat about.
Apparently, over the last several days, I have, in my own quiet way, infuriated one Mr. Patrick Ross (and, by really creepy association, his good buddy, the ego that walks like a man, Werner Patels), to the point where he has furiously promised to track me down and give me a stern spanking. Well, OK, actually, he's promised to track me down and reveal my identity on his blog to all of those misbegotten cretins who have the necessary lack of taste to read his blog.
Now, I'm well aware that neither of those two misfits is a member of the BTs, but it seemed like the perfect opportunity to at least come to an understanding on an absolutely minimal level of civility that we should be prepared to uphold in the Canadian blogosphere.
As I'm sure you know, I choose to blog anonymously. That's my choice and, regardless of what others might think of what I write, I typically expect those people to respect my privacy. Critics of mine are more than welcome to leave dissenting comments at my blog (within reason), and are just as welcome to write scathing denunciations of me on their own blogs, and more power to them. But, regardless of how heated things get, I've always considered one's bloggy anonymity to be sacred and not to be trifled with.
Consider your own BT blogroll -- it clearly has a number of anonymous bloggers and, while I've taken exception with a number of them over the lifetime of my blog, it's never occurred to me -- not for a second -- to spend any time tracking them down so I can expose their real identities. My preference is to link to what they write, use my vastly superior intellect and reason to tear it to bloody shreds, and leave it at that. Once your credibility has been taken out to the parking lot and beaten senseless, it really doesn't make any difference whether you sign your name to it or not, don't you agree? So here's my point.
While you clearly have no influence over the unprincipled douchebags that are Patrick Ross and Werner Patels, you most certainly have some power over the BT membership. So I'm going to throw out a challenge here: I'm challenging you to take a public and unambiguous stand, and denounce, in the strongest possible language, the practise or encouragement of, directly or indirectly, "outing" anonymous bloggers just because you don't like what they write. And, just to be fair and balanced, I'm making that challenge to every other political blogging collective in Canada.
Let me be clear as to what I'm talking out above. I don't just mean condemning bloggers who are actively trying to out other bloggers. I'm also including bloggers who, while they may not be engaging in that activity themselves, are clearly egging on others to do it, either on their own blogs or by way of comments on others' blogs. In short, anyone who is seen as promoting that activity in any way and in any forum should be considered just as guilty as those doing it.
(Naturally, there should be exceptions, as in the case of any anonymous someone who has gone beyond just being annoying and is into actual harassment. In cases like that, outing is simply being defensive, but that's obviously under exceptional circumstances.)
And, finally, here's the rest of the challenge: Anyone caught violating the sanctity of blogging anonymity -- either directly or indirectly as I've defined above -- will have their membership in their corresponding blogging aggregator rescinded immediately and permanently. No excuses. No exceptions. No appeal.
As I said, this will in no way affect Messrs. Ross or Patels since, as far as I know, they don't belong to any aggregator (not surprising, since I can't imagine any aggregator desperate enough to want them.) But if it can be brought to your attention that any of your BT members are cheering them on, I'm challenging you to drop those members from the BTs. And, as I said, I'm making the same challenge to every aggregator in Canada. It's only fair.
So, Stephen, what say you? You and I both know we're never going to see eye-to eye but, regardless of our differences, we should be able to agree that there are some lines that we're simply not going to cross, and we're prepared to punish those people who do.
There's the challenge. Your thoughts?
UPDATE: As RT points out, Weiner Patels is a member of Liberty Blogs, and he's made it clear he thinks the idea of outing me is a terrific idea. So, Liberty Blogs ... how's your level of principle today?
BY THE WAY, I did email Stephen Taylor directly regarding this issue; I'm not just counting on him eventually reading this blog.
IN FACT, I just received a perfectly respectable and thoughtful e-mail from Mr. Taylor, and we're going to chat further. And I want to publicly thank him for being willing to discuss this.