If a blog owner sets their settings to accept anonymous comments, then they WANT them
Most of us who write blogs like this one have encountered the occasional anonymous stalker-ish hanger-on who just seems determined to show up day after day to spew garbage all over our comment pages. I know that we've gone through various permutations of thinking about what to do about the whole phenomenon. Most recently, we've opted for a "policy" of neglect. In general, it just feels like battling to keep them out of here is more trouble than it is worth.
But, WANT these kinds of comments? Hardly. We want comments. I want comments. It is way better to have feedback and reaction and response to what I write here; much better to know what readers think about what I think -- and so I do WANT comments. I don't even mind "anonymous" comments that are civilized. You don't have to agree with me, but I am one who expects adults to mind their manners. Silly I know. In the end, because I appreciate the input of a lot of decent, intelligent, anonymous contributors, I continue to allow anonymous commenters. So, to the arrogant bully who declares that we WANT their participation here, I am sorry to disappoint, but you are allowed to be here. Nothing more.
Let me be clear. The anonymous commenter that annoys is the one that is ugly while hiding behind their anonymity. Those cowards find it easy to say anything to anyone since they don't have to be accountable for their words. They can snipe at someone elses life, history, background, intent, integrity, intelligence, or character with impunity -- after all no one is going to be able to call their invisible life into question. They contribute nothing and offer nothing. You can't engage an unknown and unknowable puff of smoke. Cowardice indeed.
The anony-mice are the internet equivalent to the playground bully. They swagger and bluster and spread misery everywhere -- all of it born of their own misery and emptiness. Bullies seem to have a lot of power, but it is really power that is granted to them by the rest of us. We can act, as a community, to disempower the bullies; to call them to account for their nonsense; to refuse to be pushed around by them -- and to refuse to allow others to be pushed around.
Of course, as demonstrated in this last exchange, sometimes anonymous commenters can be entertaining. When they get their toes stepped on, and when their ox gets gored, then they get all puffed up and huffy and bent out of shape. Then they are quick to point the finger at those who are not, in their opinion, behaving nicely. Whine!!!!!
I don't know what the rest of us ought to finally, or ultimately do about the bully types, those arrogant cowards who insist that they get to do whatever they want because, after all, we really WANT it. I just know that, for now, it works for us to not invest much energy in them, except where and as it suits us to do that. After all, this is OUR place.