Sunday, June 07, 2009

Comment Elsewhere: Pseudonymity and Politics

In response to the unmasking of Publius, I asked
There have been three fairly prominent pseudonymous bloggers outed in the last two months (Hilzoy, Alaska Muckraker, and now Publius), all two by conservatives. Can anyone name a pseudonymous blogger -- conservative or liberal -- outed by a liberal for something other than vicious harassment or sock-puppetry?

I've discussed my pseudonymity here (and a little bit here).
Update: Someone at WashingtonMonthly reminded me that the Alaska case actually involved a Democrat; that doesn't mean that he's not a conservative, especially in Alaska, but I don't actually know.

Update (6/9): Shockingly, the culprit has apologized. It even appears to be a fairly sincere and complete apology, which is very unusual for a lawyer (or a blogger):
On reflection, I now realize that, completely apart from any debate over our respective rights and completely apart from our competing views on the merits of pseudonymous blogging, I have been uncharitable in my conduct towards the blogger who has used the pseudonym Publius. Earlier this evening, I sent him an e-mail setting forth my apology for my uncharitable conduct. As I stated in that e-mail, I realize that, unfortunately, it is impossible for me to undo my ill-considered disclosure of his identity. For that reason, I recognize that Publius may understandably regard my apology as inadequate.
He does not seem, in this, to be retracting any of the supposedly substantive arguments he and his supporters made against pseudonymity. But it's more than I expected, and a very positive result. Publius has "of course accepted." Moving on....


Justin said...

I don't think hilzoy was outed by a conservative, at least not recently. A google reader search on her legal name reveals Matthew Yglesias identifying her by it 8 months ago, as well as a philosopher linking to her blog while using the name. Additionally, there's even a post from 2006 where she says "I'm not [this person who shares her name] who appears in this newspaper article."

Ahistoricality said...

I was thinking of this incident. You're right that her name isn't really secret, but she's had a policy of prefering to use her nom de blog online and keeping her real name out of the public/political sphere.

It's very similar to my reasons for using a pseudonym.