"Opponents of online anonymity often repeat the platitude that “real name” identification promotes civility. While that may be true, it is often at the expense of free expression. Not only does anonymity enable dissidents in oppressive regimes, but it also helps the small-town kid experimenting with his sexuality or the abuse survivor starting a new life.
Internet intermediaries offer tools that allow users to maintain civility without sacrificing anonymity. On social networks, users can moderate offensive comments or block users who are harassing them. Newspapers can institute systems for flagging inappropriate comments.
Concerns about cyber-bullying and other online crimes shouldn’t be dismissed, but law enforcement already has tools to identify anonymous criminals. [...] We should not be willing to sacrifice free expression for the possibility of civility, especially not when there are more effective alternatives." Eva Galperin, Jillian C. York @ DeepLinks