08 November 2008

Internet Dickwad Theory

This has always been something that I have thought and said about anonymous blogging and the courage of one's convictions.

This is, people who think no-one knows who they are will say the most outrageous things that they would never say in a forum where people knew who they were.

I had never thought of calling this theory the "dickwad theory" but it seems to fit.

Thanks to Djoko for pointing this out to me. I cannot link to Djoko because he does not have anything to link to that I know of. The original of the above can be found here.


Islanesia said...

I agree completely... I've accidentally come across sites that I found out were run by some acquaintances, but because they run it anonymously, they seem to believe that hate speech is okay. It's sad and gives bloggers such a bad name.

Rob Baiton said...


I don't know that they give bloggers a bad name. Some might seek to exploit the negatives, but the reality is that most anonymous bloggers are not dealing in hate speech.

There is a need for some anonymity, I can accept that. However, my point really is directed to those that promote hate, who vilify, and who defame, among other things, without having the courage of their convictions to acknowledge their statements with their real names.

If someone wants to smear me personally or make allegations on my conduct then they should do so publicly and using their own name.

schmerly said...


I feel quite insulted, I don't post anonymously, I use my real name and my avatar is a photo of me AFTER the face lift!!

Rob Baiton said...


I was wondering who of my pen name readers I would insult first :D

I wonder why you might think this is directed at you?

I actually was thinking of some of the trolls over at Indonesia Matters to be perfectly honest.

I might disagree with what you say, I might even think that some of your comments are at times inappropriate, but you argue your case and it is what it is.

I am more thinking about those that say outrageous things, either in general or about me personally, without one iota of justification, context, or rationale, but do not have the courage of their convictions to use their real name.

But, in your case I would be making a claim against that plastic surgeon of yours if this it the post-face lift result.

As I said, I am not against anonymity in some circumstances and in fact as a journalist I would protect someone's anonymity if it was asked of me.

I, once again, am talking about the stupidly outrageous things people espouse because they think they are anonymous.

Enjoy your Sunday.

schmerly said...

I did sue the surgeon and I got my 10 bob back!

And what kind of a bloody name is schmerly?
If you've ever owned a boat you might know!

Rob Baiton said...


Once again, you were not the pen name or anonymous person(s) I am referring to.

Stop by Indonesia Matters and you will work out who I am talking about.

Schmerly rockets and the Kormoran, right?

schmerly said...


Wow! got it in one, a Schmerly flare saved my life once, not that I would want to name one of my kids after them or anything like that.

Your quite a (bright spark)weak I know but that's the best I can up with today.

I'll take a butchers at Indonesia Matters.

Rob Baiton said...


With all due respect it looks like the flare hit you in the face :D

schmerly said...


Yea maybe I'll look for a new avatar, something youthful,
I daren't put my own photo up it's worse than the avatar.

Jakartass said...

Whilst aware that your post is not directed at me, I still defend the right of writers to be anonymous.

It is both a protection against cultural norms and conformity - warga negara yang baik dan benar - and an opportunity to invent a voice, much as character actors do.

I don't write to be a celebrity and rarely endorse products or services, and never will if I haven't a direct connection with them.

Folk who do know me are aware that I can be more abrasive, outrageous and controversial in person.

There are those who essentially write to keep in touch with family and friends, which is why I started, and I'm also thinking of Dominic, now in Dubai (?), and Jenny Q.

In an interview on Treespotter's blog, Ndoro Kankung, the chairman of Pesta Blogger, says "Blogging is a private matter". Pen names are therefore perfectly acceptable, as long as the intended readers are aware of who the writer-character is.

Writing is a creative outlet for me and my rantings, outpourings of angst or outrage are rare, because, knowing that my readership is now much wider than my limited social circle, I'm a very strict editor.

The only difference between my writing being in hyperspace, rather than in an envelope, is that current obsessions and commentaries on current affairs are just that, current.

I haven't sought a readership, but it has come, half of it (c.100) through subscription, so for my readers my pen name isn't a problem.

For others to criticise my anonimity is out of place, especially as they can always choose to not read my ramblings. So, as far as I'm concerned, they are the dickwads, not me.

To be honest, I'm wary of bloggers who write as a means of self-promotion, not that you do, Rob.

Or do you?

Rob Baiton said...


Not directed at you. If you read the post and subsequent comments you will see that.

I argue that anonymity is OK where the ranting and railings are legitimate. Legitimate may be a little subjective, but generally I am referring to those excesses that are not mere railings, against say the establishment, but those who use anonymous blogging or pen names to advance hate speech or voice unfounded personal attacks and defame others.

I do not accept that as part and parcel of blogging. Is blogging a private matter, to a certain degree it is, but the forum is public.

Once again, I am not directing this at you. It is interesting though how many pen named bloggers are getting offended at this.

I really do not care if you are anonymous or not until you want to talk about my family and make threats or make allegations regarding the way that I have conducted myself or things I have supposedly done.

I think that if that is your game then you should have the courage of your convictions to identify yourself.

The original point was that with anonymity people make outrages statements that they would never make were they able to be identified.

I am certain that you write and state nothing in your blog that you would not be prepared to defend in person.

Hope that clarifies the point of my original post.

I really do not need to hear about historical figures who have penned things anonymously or with a pen name, I am familiar with the history, and they are not the individuals to whom the post refers.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

Anonymous said...


Rob Baiton said...


Funnily enough on a post about anonymity you post as anonymous. I generally insist people sign off with something that allows me to distinguish them from other anonymous posters. A pen name will do :D

Indocoup?? Are you asking me if I am Indocoup? If you are, nope! Indocoup was a pen name and I do not know who he(?) was or is. I did hear about the story that saw him disappear.

So, if you have more context to provide with regard to what you are asking, then I will try and respond with a more appropriate answer.

Rob Baiton said...


If you want to know about the Indocoup saga, you might want to do a search of the Jakartass blog. I am pretty sure there are some entries at J's humble abode.

Is that right J?

Islanesia said...

Hey Rob,

No, you're completely right. I certainly don't believe that all anonymous bloggers deal in hate speech, and there certainly are times when anonymity is a neccesity.

I think I'm still reeling from discovering my so-called friends' site, and happened to Stumble onto your blog soon after the incident.

In my own cultural community, I have developed a notoriety for publishing scathing diatribes (when needed) and proudly including my name. It's culturally unacceptable to do such heinous things in my microcosm, but sometimes these things need to be done.

Anyhow, I did find your blog through StumbleUpon and wanted to let you know that I'm glad I did! I encounter so many blogs that lack any real substance or content, and this was certainly refreshing.

Enjoy your weekend,

Rob Baiton said...


Thanks for the kind words!

Jakartass said...

I'm merely trying to put this thread into perspective for newcomers such as Islanesia. Like the anti-bule rants, this one pops up with some regularity and is rather tiresome.

As for Indcoup, he's well, and it was the risk of exposure to his bosses by a disfunctional Brit, an internet drug peddlar, who is wanted by police in Bali, Thailand and the UK, which forced him to take his blogs down.

His bosses were later emailed by this peddlar of untruths, but without 'evidence' Indcoup remains in very good grace with his income providers.

Have a good week.

Rob Baiton said...


I understand, I really do!

schmerly said...

Rob and Jak..

I really liked Indcoup’s blog, I was a regular reader.

Jakartass I read yours to.

And yes Rob I like yours to.

And yes I’m a creep!

Rob Baiton said...


Glad we got that cleared up!

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