Keep the comments coming, even if anonymous

Alicia Knadler
Indian Valley Editor


Anonymity. I can’t say it’s surprising what some people will say or write when they know their names will never be used, when their identities will remain secret.

So it was little surprise when I read online at the snide comments about the county auditor last week. I’d heard the grumbles before, even way over here on the other side of Mount Hough.

So it will be with interest I hear about the maneuvers and job changes at the county level. I’ll have to put my long ears on again, but eh, it’s good to shake the dust off ’em once in a while.

I’ll definitely enjoy reading about the changes, as well. Opportunities to add comments about online news articles are great, but the bullying spirit and ignorance in some of the comments aren’t so great.

Folks can even anonymously add a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down to the comments. I, for one, clicked on some of those thumbs by mistake, and then couldn’t undo them like on Facebook.

I’ve got to talk to a coworker about fixing that — or else I’d better be more careful.

Even though I work for Feather Publishing, I still subscribe to our news via, and I’ve started double- and triple-checking the news to look for the comments.

There aren’t too many yet, but the three that I see received a large number of comments recently related to an opinion piece about the California Highway Patrol, and news articles titled “Public Health Director Hall withdraws resignation,” and “Harris to resign as superintendent” — in that order.

One would think the Harris thing would receive the most comments, as worked up as each community is over the mess of layoffs and bumping going on.

But then, one must have Facebook and friends who add their friends to groups — so in this way I see how the loops of conversations and comments intertwine.

Sometimes I like to guess who might be writing comments from their flair for rhetoric, the phrases they turn.

It’s an interesting pastime, but I don’t think I’m all that great of a guesser, so please keep the comments coming, even though you writers are afraid to identify yourselves for one reason or another.

Maybe one person fears for his or her job, or maybe it’s fear of retaliation, embarrassment or rebuttal.

Are these the same reasons some people cover their faces when they are protesting, especially those involved in violent foreign demonstrations?

Maybe they are scared for their families, as well.

When people hide their faces during protests here in the U.S., I wonder where they are from. Not here, surely?

All this anonymity just makes me uncomfortable, yet I can definitely understand why some commenters would rather remain unknown.

“Shoot, shovel and shut up,” wrote Roger Jensen when commenting on one of several mountain lion articles I wrote recently. The three S’s, he called them. I wonder if this is his real name?

“Remember the lions were here first,” wrote Ruth, no last name given.

“They came to this land at around the same time as man,” wrote Steve, another with no surname. He included some interesting historical information about origins with his comments.

It’s been quite enlightening and educational reading all of these online.

But I appreciate even more the folks who take the time to send letters to the editor with their names, phone numbers and hometowns on them — it’s almost like receiving a hand-written card from someone when I read those.

Sam Catalano’s letter, in March I think, was especially nice, though I’m not so sure I know the community’s heart and soul, like he thinks I do. Though he might be interested that one objective given me in training many years ago was to have a finger on the pulse of the community.

The other was to be a watchdog, not a pit bull. I must admit that every once in a while I lock my jaw on something, but I don’t think I’ve ever mangled anyone. Some people self-mutilate just fine on their own.

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