I know, I’m probably biting off more than I can chew here, but what the hell.
1. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face.
This goes double if you’re going to post as “Anonymous.”
The only possible exception to this: you are whistle-blowing on some egregious, illegal practice that you can’t possibly own up to in real life. In that case: run for the hills, because tracing where a posting originated is as simple as asking Google, “Hey, where did this originate?” (You know Google saves every search made from every IP ever, right?)
2. If you link to it, you own it.
If you offer up a link to something on your blog, on your Twitter feed, or as a Facebook status, you are advertising that you agree with the opinions found therein, unless you very specifically call out that you are disagreeing with it. (NB: if you are a professional comedian — i.e., someone would recognize that you are funny consistently and over a long period of time, not necessarily that you’re getting paid — you can get away with “sarcastic agreement” as your disagreement mode. Only professional comedians.)
Way back in the early days of the Web (when this blog had already been around for several years, nyuk, nyuk) there was a political blogger named Instapundit. I haven’t heard about him so much any more; don’t know what he’s doing, don’t care. But his shtick was to link to something foul, infantile, or race-baiting and then say
When called on how he was clearly promoting these things, he would say, “Oh no no, I just thought it was an interesting point of view.”
In a word: bullshit.
He wanted to link to inflammatory crap without putting his name on it.
If you link to it without commentary, you own it.
The only possible exception to this: you link to a major media site, such as the New York Times. In which case, we probably know why you’re linking. Be a good Internet citizen and add a little commentary so we know where you are with this, okay?
3. Don’t read comments.
Seriously. There’s nothing to be gained from this. There are people who have nothing better to do than sit around all day and argue nonsense from behind a fake name. There are people who are paid to sit around and post garbage. Don’t participate.
There are two exceptions to this:
- Horace Dediu’s blog Asymco. That blog has one of the most respectful and curious set of commenters I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t hurt that Horace is bringing his A-game with every post. You can disagree with him…but the usual Internet set up of “My ignorance is as good as your knowledge!” just looks like the lameness it is on Asymco.
- My blog.