The Downside of Internet Anonymity for Women
The Internet is a fascinating place primarily because of its commitment to anonymity. We simply wouldn’t have the web without it. Trolls, spam, scams, controversial Wikipedia edits, WikiLeaks, basic user safety, all are dependent on having a hidden identity. User anonymity is fundamental and inseparable.
But ever since the great RealID debacle of 2010, I’ve been thinking about how this same anonymity is a contributing factor to why women and racial/cultural minorities struggle to find acceptance in open anonymous communities like forums, social news communities, and especially online gaming, and whether it’s possible to do anything about that.
What are the disadvantages of staying anonymous? Well, it starts with the simple assumptions we make about those around us, and in particular what we assume about the concept “human being” when we have no other input.