Re: Anonymity in Meetings LO2655

jack hirschfeld (
Sat, 2 Sep 1995 01:14:16 -0400

Replying to LO2618 --

Diane Weston clarified:

>Note: For those of you who noted my dislike for anonymous group processes
>provided by technology and might question my use of anonymity here... I'm
>distinguishing between what I see as vitally important trust and openness
>withIN a workgroup that anonymous systems allow a group to avoid, and the
>deserved respect and confidentiality due when one's words are moved
>outside of the workgroup or organization. Does that make sense to others?

In this long and fascinating thread on anaonymity, I see anonymity used to
mean two different things. In some instances, it is "namelessness" which
is the literal meaning of the word; but in others, I think, it is used to
mean "facelessness", which I take to be a different stance with different

Although I sign all my messages, to my knowledge I am known to only four
or five subscribers to this list, and only two of them have made
contributions to the list since January of this year. But I know there
are about 1400 readers of the list who never make contributions. They are
faceless, but are they anonymous? ...And if you were to meet me at Rick's
on September 17, would you know me if I didn't acknowledge who I am. In
that sense, I am anonymous to you even though you know my name. If you
read this list regularly, you even know some things about me, as I have
told some things to the faceless many that I haven't told to colleagues
whom I see virtually every day.

Some months ago I arranged to meet and have dinner with a "total stranger"
who contributes to this list. I can now attach a face and a physical
impression to the "name" that I already knew. We were able to have a
freer and much more lengthy exchange that evening than all the exchanges
we shared on the LO list. Yes, we broke bread together and had plenty of
time to query each other about details of our lives, yet the eerie thing
is what I experienced was not so much "getting to know you" as "confirming
an existing friendship" which was, for me, already much deeper than I had

Jack Hirschfeld                               How long has this been going on?