Sunday, July 06, 2008

Blow to the blogosphere?

The buzz last week was the death of chikatime, a popular blog that exposed the foibles of people in high places, usually in ways that challenged the limits of ethics and the law.

I must admit that I wasn't a fan of the blog; not necessarily because I frowned on the subject matter - heck, I also love unmitigated gossip, the trashier the better - but simply because I have this thing about anonymity. I mean if people want to dish out trash, particularly on other people, they should be man enough to own up to the act. The way I see it, anyone is entitled to assert their own spaces in this world, even inflict themselves on the public should they wish to. However, I maintain that people should be able to take what they dish out. By all means, bullshit people to their faces but don't hide behind the cloak of anonymity when you do it.

I know. It's the ideas that count. People are also entitled to their own privacy. But - and this is a highly personal opinion - where's the integrity in the whole thing?

It's just plain cowardice. And the current actions of the people behind the blog - closing it arbitrarily and scampering away when their cover got blown - prove my point.

Some people allege that the NBI made some arrests. What is clear is that Jenni Epperson (google her and you will get to her multiply site) was instrumental in the whole thing with the help of another blogger who was able to track the identities of the people behind chikatime.

So point one: There's no such thing as absolute anonymity even in the blogosphere. It is easy, particularly to people with the tech savvy and the time and the determination, to track people who lurk in the internet.

Point two: There are limits to blogging. It's still a relatively freer communal space, but freedom is not absolute.

Point three: When the excrement hits the fan, you get to know who gets the lion share of it - and those who can't stand it.

1 comment:

Twin-Skies said...

Meanwhile, over in Iran, their Parliament is actually thinking of making blogging crime punishable by death.

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080707-iran-considering-banning-filthy-bloggers-from-meatspace.html

Just a (very grim) reminder that no matter how bad it gets for us, it appears that we're not as miserable as you think. Think about it - at least the NBI didn't directly make any arrests, or worse.

Call it optimistic thinking - I call it Schadenfreude.