Who was that masked blogger?

There’s a good conversation over at the blog leuschke.org about anonymous academic blogs. This link was working earlier, but it doesn’t seem to be working now… Anyway, Leuschke (I think his first name is Graham) writes:

Is it as simple as fearing that your colleagues will find out you say the word “fuck�? Or believing that you’ll never get tenure if the dean knows you have a hobby outside the office? Or thinking that your students will respect you less if they know you didn’t really think Fahrenheit 9/11 was all that good a movie? What exactly is it that you and your department have agreed to pretend: that you’re a robot? No, of course not. But there must be something, and I’m starting to feel a little dumb for not seeing it.

Perhaps it has nothing at all to do with academia. Plenty of people have anonymous blogs, and plenty of people who don’t have gotten in trouble for their blogs. But today’s informal survey led me to wonder if I’m missing something. Is there a plausible reason to think that I, as an untenured professor in a new gig, could suffer from the existence of this here .org?

I posted to this thread– or I should say I tried to, because, as I mentioned, there seems to be some server glitch happening as I type this message. I wrote there:

I think some of the best blogs that I’ve read are anonymous; on the other hand, I also think that some of those anonymous blogs don’t/didn’t need to be anonymous. Invisible Adjunct comes to mind. I think she would have had a lot of good stuff to say in blogland if she had put her name on it, too, and I also don’t think she would have suffered any sort of retaliation from the “academic establishment” (whoever they are) because of what she had to say. Actually, I think just the opposite; look at the positive attention she got in places like the CHE, for example.

I guess one thing strikes me about these responses, and keep in mind I say this as someone who agrees with our host (I personally wouldn’t keep an anonymous blog either). It seems to me that one of the main reasons why people keep anonymous blogs is so they are free to bitch and/or complain. This strikes me as a bad reason to keep a public blog in general, and perhaps a good reason to keep an old-fashioned journal or diary. Perhaps with a lock.

Obviously, I’m not anonymous, but I think I maintain a blog about my life outside of academia for some of the reasons that other people decide to be anonymous. And I guess I don’t worry to much about my identity being out there because a) I’m tenured, b) I don’t really use my blog as a space to “bitch” about my colleagues or students (and truth be told, I don’t have much to bitch about on those fronts, anyway), and c) not that many people read my blog, about 20 or so on a good day.

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