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Some are unworthy of the protection of anonymity

Tom Keane (“Not just for the witless,” Op-ed, Aug. 27) draws the two comparisons frequently made in favor of anonymity in online comments sections of newspapers and magazines: to the Founders writing under such names as “Publius” and to whistle-blowers such as Deep Throat.

Keane neglects to mention that the publications themselves took responsibility for what people like Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay wrote — something akin to unsigned editorials that serve as a newspaper’s stand.

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Keane is criticizing today’s publications for simply wanting to know the identity of writers whose voices they
convey — something that papers in the American colonies did.

Comparisons to whistle-blowers are even more specious. Whistle-blowers add information not otherwise available.

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They seek to initiate.

Anonymous trolls react to what is already there, usually with ridicule, dismissal, and mudslinging.

They seek to terminate.

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Keane invokes the First Amendment. Since it was conceived to insure the political health of the nation, a medical metaphor should be relevant and useful: When doctors operate to keep our blood flowing, do we want them to let the parasite that has been sucking us dry remain in place?

Jack Garvey

Plum Island

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