Where Everybody Knows Your Name

By Matt Van Hoven 

This is your blog, and it’s pretty great when it’s thumping away on all 8 cylinders. It has its ups and downs, but there’s one thing that never changes, which many of you take issue with: anonymity. Let’s talk about it for a second.

The commentary, as we’ve discussed, can get vitriolic. And while some of you think “that’s just how it is” and move on, others are less aloof about the matter. We’ve personally been dragged through the mud enough that we’re kinda numb, but others are more “innocent” or whatever so I guess this is for them. Or whoever comes next.


Sometimes a person gets in touch with us to say, “Hey, I’m so and so, you know &#151 the one they’re calling ‘the whore/hack’ in that story.” And then I moderate the comments, erase the always anonymous line. Because it hurt someone or a commenter used Lee Clow’s name, etc. Though Lee Clow has probably seen this site, I’m pretty sure he’d never say, “you’re all bitches, you shitty fucks.” I made that particular line up, but there was once a comment like that which I’m pretty sure he didn’t write.

Awhile back we asked Alan Wolk to lend his thoughts, which he did. But the truth is that it’s hard to understand why anonymous trolling is bad until you’ve been in its cross hairs.

And we’re not innocent in sparking the flame wars.

Anyway, a reader e-mailed to say, “I think it’s time you asked people to ‘man up’ and stand behind what they post.”

I asked him to elaborate on what would make a person want to use his or her real name. “I’d say peer pressure to stand behind what you write would be a strong motivator. Ideally, if you got some solid responses from quality folks (big time creatives) it would go a long way…there’s a lot of anger, resentment, and nonsense to wade through in the comments sections.”

In my experience, big name folks have been timid in publicly speaking here on AgencySpy &#151 or on other sites for that matter. Seems most of them want the spot light or traffic to their own blogs. So maybe let’s forget about them for a minute. The risk in outing oneself is that an attack will follow. But what if we all tried it? And what if we ignored the people who were making incendiary remarks? It’s up to you, but I think it’s worth a shot. Maybe then some good ideas will come out of the stories that warrant conversation.

So if anything this is a call to the big dogs to comment. You’re busy people and maybe you don’t care to take the time. But, what are you afraid of? You make the big money, your jobs are more secure than Fake Lee Clow’s (that’s a guess), and people know who you are. It’s not manning up, it’s setting an example. Because if I can suffer multiple attacks from the oldest man in advertising, you can handle one little blog. Make us proud, we already know who you are.

Note: I fully recognize that this might be a terrible discussion and that it will probably go nowhere.