On Anonymity

I know that I noticed the posts earlier this week, for and against anonymity in blogging and other sorts of writing, but this has been a busy week out in that place where there are three dimensions and most people don’t speak in meter and rhyme. But a cuttlefish must certainly have something to say on this matter. And now that Zuska brings up the topic once more, I found myself commenting on Physioprof’s blog, and before I knew it…

The right to be a cuttlefish
And hide behind my ink
May not appeal to everyone
Despite what I may think.
But having anonymity
Is useful, you may note—
That’s why we pull the curtain closed
Before we cast our vote.
The bully likes a public vote,
Each person known by name,
If someone feels intimidated
Shame on them! For shame!
They ought to have the strength to stand
Behind the words they speak!
(That way the votes go to the strong,
And rarely to the weak.)
Behind the voting curtain, though,
The votes all weigh the same—
Unless there’s something wrong with that,
You need not know my name.

And so I stand on principle
For any nom de plume—
A right to be anonymous
Is one I will assume.
I do not judge the reasons
Why some like it out of sight;
For me it is enough to say
It is their perfect right.


  1. says

    I hadn’t given the issue any thought, ’til now — but at this moment I am inclined to completely agree! Excellent poem once again, m’dear invisible Cuttlefish.

  2. says

    It’s rather fun–looking around various comments here and elsewhere, I see some people convinced that I am male, others convinced that I am female, others curious, others who do not care a bit.I think I prefer it that way. I may be wrong, but I don’t think that anything I have written thus far has required a particular set of organs or chromosomes as interface between me and my keyboard.And that is merely one aspect of anonymity.

  3. says

    No, I’m sure you’ve alluded to being male! Or maybe you just said that to fit a rhyme. hmmm…Anyway, my favorite part of pseud blogs is that it levels the field, like you say. It’s less intimidating. For all I know, you could be on my Top Five Favorite Scientists list!

  4. says

    Dear Cuttlefish, I must agreewith everything you saybut to me, my pseudonymityis more than hiding in the hay.I’m building a reputationstarting all from scratchfor science-talk, and sicence-walkand no personal hash.But my department does not knowand would not approve, I fear.To many, work not researchis time tossed upon its ear.Someday I hope, when I am bigno longer a grad student smallI’ll be able to show who I am and blog while standing tall.Wow, it’s really HARD to write a comment in verse. I don’t know how you do it all! I’m sorry to pollute the pure poetry of your site with my tripe.

  5. Kathryn Cramer says

    I think you are truly a cuttle fish, so gender is less important. I don’t want to mate with you. What I’d like to know is how you use a computer under water.(Your poem noted in your response to Henry Gee.)

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