To the editor:
I want to add to the discussion of the choice of and protection for anonymity in what appears on the TImes' online comment board.
When I send an online version of my pieces to a couple of friends, they always exclaim over the comments that seem to accompany them.
"They're so nasty," they say. "Why do people treat you like that?"
I can't respond because I don't read the comments. My son does and tells me about their tone. Pointy-headed liberals — run for those sand piles and bury yourselves in them. In contrast, don't do that and stand by your words, sign your name to them and own who you are.
What can fuel the fire contained in some anonymous comments? Longstanding smouldering of hurt feelings and, following that, abandonment of standards set for civil, compassionate exchanges.
I'm a strong believer in nonviolent communication as described so well by Marshall Rosenberg. He says that "connecting with another's needs and feelings is to connect with what's alive in him or her." He lists needs experienced by all of us and bringing those forth and dealing with them is the pathway to uncontentious relationships. Making snide, anonymous remarks doesn't figure in.
On the other hand, anonymity is a candidate for high praise. Consider the healing that takes place through Alcoholics or Overeaters Anonymous and other like-minded organizations.
Think of whistleblowers and journalists who are setting the stage for much-deserved exposes. Include, too, poets and musicians celebrating individuals or groups who work to accomplish the goals of social justice behind the scenes.
The DVD titled "I Am" points to the fact that we are more interconnected than we realize.
Isn't it time to use anonymity for its social and psychological advantages — and refuse it if scolding or growling are foremost?
Chapel Street, Gloucester