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Anonymous messages in Plurk

Since I joined Plurk, the anonymous messages have always been a source of amusement to me. An anonymous message is a message sent with the whisper command of Plurk that instead of showing the person who wrote the message, says Anonymous.

I say that it is a source of amusement to me because it's interesting to see how people reply when an "anon" is published. ("Anon" is the short way of saying anonymous message in Plurk.)

I can see legitimate uses for these messages. Surveys where we want a honest opinion would be one. Whether we like it or not, Plurk, just as any other social media website, works a little like high school. You don't say what you really think unless you are ready to be ostracized, no matter the promises people tell you. You need a mask. And in anons, that mask cracks open, showing the inner us. That's why a survey, for example, is a legit use of anons. People say what they really think about things, and I've seen cases of surveys that were useful thanks to this.

In my book, expressing a controversial opinion while hoping for a debate, is another legitimate use of anons. Sadly, we're living times where it's not the government, but the people, who are exerting censorship over others, and some opinions are better kept private even if you don't share them or, if you want to discuss them, you do that... in an anon.

The problem is that things tend to derail quickly in those kind of anons. Some people don't seem ready to discuss opinions even under the veil of anonymity, which makes their narrowness more interesting, more authentic. It makes me wonder who they are.

We can also find anons just to skin someone alive. What can I say, I'm not a fan of pitchforks and I'm not a fan of seeing someone insulting another under a mask. Do as others do, and insult face to face, so the insulted person knows what to do with you. Fist fight, don't backstab. (Now it's when someone takes this out of context, doesn't understand the metaphor, and says "and she says to be against violence?")

Are anon writers intrinsically cowards?

I don't think that's true in all cases. When it's a case of insulting someone else, or throwing shade, insinuations... Yes, I think that person is a coward. Just like the one in the office that throws a rumor and next we know is that someone else's reputation is ruined. Cowards.

But when we're in cases like the surveys or trying to make a debate from a controversial opinion, I don't think the person is being a coward. Rather, I'd say, cautious. If you've never seen Twitter on fire, you should, so you know what I'm talking about. Jokes have cost people their jobs, and in Plurk, an inopportune, or worse, misunderstood comment, can also turn into a shitstorm against you and your store, if you have one. People love their witch hunts and boycotts. It's always easier to hurt the small ones while they feel they're saving the world.

There's another side of anons that piques my curiosity. The typical responses from people when an anon gets nasty, and when someone needs help.

When anons get nasty, the most interesting things I see happening are:

  • The promotion of said anon by making public how offended you feel. At times I have the feeling that one does this to avoid that others think "they've said nothing, perhaps this person supports all the nasty?" (My feelings on this go to "no" and indeed, in my own case, it's rare I say anything. Silence only means silence. Minds can't be read, so you can't know why my silence unless you ask me.) The anon would die fast if people didn't make public their outrage about it, but like the song says... people are people.
  • The hunting down of the person who wrote the anon via how many friends in common. I've always found this amusing and I've collaborated by lying, saying that it was in my TL too, or not. I have the feeling that I'm not the only one who does this. What can I say? I don't like witch hunts!
  • The "delete me from your timeline" response. This is my favorite. Do you really think that someone who wrote something to provoke is going to remove you only because you ask? They won't, and they will continue pushing your buttons. Get to know better the people in your timeline, or don't read anons.

There are other anons, more worrying. Someone needing help, perhaps depressed, perhaps feeling suicidal, or perhaps just wanting to call attention. In any case, I see that when an anon like this happens, a lot of people jump saying to private message them, telling them who they are.

Honestly? I'm not sure that anything but convincing the person to seek professional help is going to do any good in here. Most of the times, I have the impression of reading a bunch of nosy people that want to know the juicy details but won't listen, except to tell them their own histories (as if the person needing help wanted to know.) Probably I'm wrong here, but that's the impression I get when I see a lot of people jumping with "PP me, I'm this person". I don't doubt of their good intention, but since we're not doctors, we shouldn't play doctor when someone comes with something worrying.

Now you may wonder, do I write anons?

I've written a few, when there are memes, and I've gotten so bored of people only being able to relate me to cheese that I don't do those memes anymore. However, this is the question you must ask yourself, always: Why should you believe my answer?

Maybe I'm one of those nasty coward people that writes anons to stir the pot and make everyone jump. Maybe I don't have time in my life for anons, not even for reading them. Maybe I'm somewhere in between. Only when you get to know me, you will know the answer.

The thing I know is, when an anon reaches to the point of bothering me, I close it.

Have a great day :-)
Posted by: Auryn Beorn on 23/07/2017 at 12:00:00 - 0 Comments

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