Against Outing (Most) Anonymous Bloggers

Obsidian Wings is a fine blog. As a writer, a citizen engaged in the issues facing my country, and a man who enjoys reading for leisure, I benefit from the content its contributors produce everyday for free. This isn’t to say that I agree with every post on the site. Indeed I benefit most when Obsidian Wings is forcefully stating views with which I disagree. On these matters, a desire to hash out an issue with the best of my opponents leads me to that group blog, where I can count on reasoned arguments offered in good faith.

I wish there were more blogs like Obsidian Wings — I don’t mean that I want other group blogs to mimic its particular niche when it comes to the issues of the day, but that I want other smart, eloquent folks whose day jobs are outside journalism to set up a group blog, invest their time, and participate in public discourse. In my personal life, I can think of a couple dozen friends who’d make exceptional bloggers. Some refrain from jumping into the fray for lack of time or interest. And others would blog except for the fact that for personal or professional reasons, they don’t want to express sometimes controversial views under their own byline, and they fear that were they to blog anonymously they’d eventually be outed.

It is rash, uncharitable actions like the outing of Publius by Ed Whalen that prevents us all from enjoying the thoughts of countless folks who don’t blog because anonymity is prone to leak. This isn’t to say that anonymous blogging hasn’t any downsides, or that outing is wrong in all circumstances. In this case, however, the cost Mr. Whalen imposed on us all seems to come without any benefit to anyone save himself. I hope that the next time anyone decides to out an anonymous blogger, they’ve met a far higher threshold than is the case in this instance.