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Bonkers Blog July 2012

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29 July - Total anonymity leads to confusion

Messages sent via the Bonkers’ Contact Form arrive as if they have been sent by me to myself; absolutely no identifying information is included unless the sender decides to include it. It is a mixed blessing and I have just been painfully reminded of that fact.

All incoming messages are filed under the sender’s name or pseudonym but the totally anonymous get dumped in a single folder labelled ‘Anonymous’. I made an exception last year for a series of significant messages claiming to come from within Bexley council. The first such message that made me believe it was different from the run of the mill anonymous arrived in October 2011 and the last that I thought to be in the same category was very nearly three months ago.

The new Obscene Blog Timeline refers to anonymous messages and it has regrettably upset someone. An anonymous informant has written to say (s)he never ever mentioned the Obscene Blog and may therefore believe my account to be false. The writer is most definitely not happy with any implication that good information was provided initially, instilling confidence, and the later inaccuracies may have been more than simply unfortunate.

The new message has compelled a reassessment of the situation and I am kicking myself for overlooking an alternative scenario; that two (it could be more but I shall discount the possibility) well connected council insiders were messaging me over the same period but only one took an interest in the Obscene Blog.

I filed a total of 53 incoming messages under ‘Council anonymous’ in six months and came to believe them all to be the product of one author. That was wrong, grouping anonymous messages to unnamed individuals can never be an exact science but when writing the Timeline I lost sight of the fact that my message filing was only a best guess. There is little consolation in the complaining informant making the same assumption that (s)he was unique.

The Timeline has been modified. The changes are few because it will always be true that certain names were anonymously named but there is no longer an assumption that all messages were from a single source.

If anyone is tempted to send an anonymous message in future it would be helpful to allocate themselves a pseudonym and stick to it, thereby much reducing the opportunity for confusion and unintended offence.

 

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