Declan McCullagh of Cnet posted an item last week about Maureen O’Gara and Groklaw which spilled over into the bizarre world of open source paranoia. According to McCullagh, “Maureen O’Gara, a freelance writer who pens the weekly LinuxGram, alleged that Groklaw blog author Pamela Jones is a ’61-year-old Jehovah’s Witness with religious tracts in her backseat.’ O’Gara said she personally visited what appeared to be Jones’ apartment and Jones’ mother’s home in the New York City area.”
While that is mildly amusing, it’s not really surprising. The net allows people to assume, let’s call them “avatars”, that mask the real person with all their consequent flaws and frailties. But anonymity isn’t a Constitutional right, especially when you take center stage in a legal battle, as Groklaw has done. In fact, why be anonymous at all? Since Ms. Jones has lots of supporters who like her work, what’s the problem?