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This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

What would have happened had the Declaration of Independence ended with signatures such as "TekyGuy45," or "TempleTroll" or "ObamaHater12"? Would the king of England have seriously considered the position of the colonists? Or would he have quickly moved to the next letter in the mail?

In our country, where freedom of speech is revered, many folks wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning and work long into the night, jockeying to attach the wisest anonymous online comments to news stories and editorials. Even our very own Tribune has its own congregation of anonymous online commentators.

Who are these people? What faces are behind their names? If they have no face, do they have a voice? Last I checked, facial muscles and bones are necessary for speech.

Anonymous commentators — let's see who you are. Reveal yourselves. Show us your faces. Sign your names.

Daring to attach your name and face to what you say will boost civility in dialogue, engender careful thought and build humans rather than tear them down.

Ben Watkins


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