Letter To The Editor: Anonymous Posting & Basic Rules

By KHAL SPENCER
Los Alamos

Ralph Chapman makes many compelling statements in his letter “A Start To Some Basic Rules For Our Discussions Here At The Los Alamos Daily Post”.

Eschewing anonymity is a good idea in general but there are some caveats. Economic retaliation is one of them and thus trust needs to exist within the community when we disagree.

This is a small town and two of the major paycheck-writers are the National Lab and the County Government. I could understand if someone working for the county might worry about workplace retaliation for a letter critical of the county government. If I worked for LAC, a few of my posts, such as one excoriating the county administration over the firing of former Acting Police Chief Randy Foster (full disclosure: I counted Randy as a friend), might have been sent under a pseudonym.

Likewise, a LANL employee might in some instances worry about writing a scathing review of LANL. Hence the flood of anonymous posts offered a dozen years ago in Doug Robert’s blog “LANL: The Real Story” during the turmoil of Pete Nanos’ directorship. Full disclosure here, too, the late Todd Kauppila was my friend and neighbor.

But these are situations that can be worked out with the Daily Post’s owner/editor to ensure a valid opinion piece does not result in workplace retaliation or a pink slip. I suppose it is also up to the leadership in this community to demonstrate that we will respect each other’s views without fear of retaliation. As far as ideas not squarely targeting locally sensitive oxen that need to be gored, anonymity is not a virtue; Ralph points that out really well.

Finally, anonymity should not equate to shoddy thinking. Especially when offered under a pseudonym, the content of a letter should be excellent and by all means avoid ad hominem, which is not a substitute for meaningful discourse.

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