I thought I was done discussing anonymous blogging — click here for my posts about Troll Tracker and anonymous blogging. But the Legal Talk Network’s Lawyer 2 Lawyer podcast has just published an edition about Troll Tracker and anonymous blogging featuring Ray Niro Sr. of Niro Scavone (who offered $15,000 for anyone who revealed Troll Tracker’s identity) and Dennis Crouch of Patently-O. It is a very interesting set of interviews. I only wish that Niro and Crouch had been on together, instead of in separate interviews. Here are some highlights:
- Niro stated that no one has claimed the $15,000 reward for identifying Troll Tracker.
- Niro emailed Troll Tracker and offered to donate the reward to charity (at that time it was $10,000) and fly Troll Tracker to Chicago to meet with Niro and see his firm.
- Niro went back and forth between saying that anonymous blogging was wrong and that it was harmful and should not be allowed because you could not judge the author’s credibility.
- Crouch supported anonymous blogging, done correctly, but acknowledged that anonymous comments on his site tended to be more aggressive than those with identified authors.
- Crouch offered Troll Tracker an opportunity to contribute to Patently-O.
- Crouch sees much of this as a generational change. Among other things, those under thirty have no expectation of privacy or concern at revealing their identity on the internet. Those over thirty are careful with their privacy and identity, making anonymity more enticing. That suggests that anonymous blogs will become less prevalent with time. Troll Tracker is likely mid-thirties, putting him right on the cusp of Crouch’s dividing line.
- Crouch’s generation-split argument may have been displayed when Niro and Crouch were asked for their contact information. Crouch told people to go to Patently-O. Niro was uncomfortable providing his contact information and, when gently prodded, explained that he could be contacted through his firm, Niro Scavone. Of course, Niro’s reluctance could also be explained by the anonymous threats made against him in the recent past.
Finally, Business Week has a good article detailing the Troll Tracker story — click here to read it.