One Comment

  1. Thank you for the thought-provoking post, Karen. I wanted to clarify a key point regarding your reference to PlaceSpeak. While addressing anonymity is indeed one of the key underlying purposes of PlaceSpeak, it is not the principal differentiating factor.

    PlaceSpeak focuses on place-based consultation. Authenticating people to their residential addresses makes it possible for them to weigh in on topics affecting their neighbourhoods. It’s not just about being “real”, it’s about contextualizing your input according to where you live.

    Online engagement has generated varying degrees of responsiveness from the general public. The City of Vancouver, for example, has received considerable input in a variety of consultations. In most cases, they require 24/7 moderation to combat the trolls, (which speaks to your point about anonymity). However, the feedback is of limited value from a research perspective as the identities and locations of the respondents are unknown.

    Anonymity breeds contempt, as a rule. People are less likely to act out if they’re themselves. My personal take on it is that there are lots of ways to be anonymous on the web but if they want to be taken seriously in the context of public policy development and decision-making, then they have to be culpable.

    Posted August 5, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

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  1. By PlaceMatters Blog Roundup: August 11, 2011 on January 22, 2014 at 11:39 am

    […] countably infinite has a thoughtful post about the challenges of pseudonymity in community decision making. […]

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