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The internet is the perfect mask

Anonymous: the easiest name to use for any comment you want to make on the internet.

Whether on a message board, a news article or a blog post, anonymous comments allow anyone to say whatever he or she wants without attaching any part of his or her personal identity to it. This ability to shirk away any responsibility for how we treat others is at its strongest on the internet. It has produced the kind of freedom that both unites total strangers and causes enough cyber bullying to gain media attention.

To use a cliché, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Online anonymity essentially gives you all the power in the world. You have no reservations and no regrets for whatever you post: Nobody can prove it was actually you.

Some people will use that as an ample opportunity to make idle threats, but others use it to find common ground with people they might never see offline, thus creating a strong sense of community.

The potential is great for both situations, but the tendency is often to lean toward the mean side. When you break the internet down to its basic components, the people on the other end aren’t people at all. They’re just text that you either agree with or not.

It’s almost impossible to hear vocal inflections when talking to someone online and unless you’re video chatting, you can’t see the changes in his or her facial expressions. If your name is the only thing you have when interacting with others on the internet, then taking that away and substituting it for “Anonymous” allows you to act however you want.

As much as I love the internet, I don’t think it’s a far stretch to say that it reflects human nature at its core. That is, it’s pretty brutal. If you beg for attention in real life, you’ll just come across as annoying and be ignored.

If you do it online, you’re more likely to receive anonymous hate comments, and if you’re obnoxious enough, everything from your email to your Facebook account can be hacked for personal information.

This kind of reaction to someone who bothers you online is, in my opinion, uncalled for and a waste of time that could be spent doing better things.

I think it’s best to avoid posting anonymously at all (of course, everyone’s done so at some point, including myself), and if you do, then don’t do it just for the sake of flaming someone.

If you have something hateful to say to someone you don’t like on the internet, why waste your time talking to them at all?

The web makes it easy to pick fights, but the difference is that you can’t see your opponent. There’s no sense in potentially getting yourself into serious trouble just from something you posted on the internet.

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