Joey Coleman: Gawker's new anonymity implementation - smart!

Gawker's new anonymity implementation - smart!

Gawker gets it. (Mostly, let’s ignore the redesign for the purposes of this post)

They value anonymity on the Internet and have implemented a system that encourages positive anonymous contributions to their content and comments.

For anonymity, we’re introducing the “Burner” — a new way to submit information or commentary without associating any real identity. To use a Burner, just enter a pseudonym in the login and start typing or uploading. That’s it. Your machine is linked to that particular pseudonym and we’ll provide a randomly-generated key if you need to switch to a different device or continue a conversation later. But there is no username, email address or password that could compromise your identity. Yes, even if we’re hacked.

Some people are forced to use pseudonym’s to engage in public discourse. Others are rightfully concerned about online hacking and identity compromise.

Gawker takes a swing at traditional journalism institutions by highlighting *The New York Times *Iraq coverage and encourages people to anonymously submit information using “Burner”. They do not include the helpful suggestion of ensuring your IP address is untraceable by using Tor, a major oversight.

Judge the comment, not solely the commenter.

The problem with comments on the Internet is not anonymity, it’s structural. Gawker’s new commenting system appears to understand this and could be revolutionary at a time when the Internet’s promising of the free exchange and flow of ideas is under greater threat than ever before.