It is well known among my loyal readers that I am an ardent supporter of pseudonymous and/or anonymous blogging and posting, and indeed, I’ve got two or three pseudonyms of my own. But, just because I follow this practice now and then, I do not simply give the pseodoanonymous a pass to do whatever they want. I don’t give that pass to anyone, pseudo-anon or not. Why should I? Why should anybody?
I have suggested in the past that anonymity can allow a person to hide, which can be a good thing or it can be a bad thing. And pseudonymity can disconnect a person from the normal social cues that keeps discourse at least semi-civil. It is not an accident, I’ve claimed, that so many asshats on the internet are not known to us by name. So, in short, I’ve suggested that the pseudoanonymous have a responsibility to not ruin this modality of discourse for those who really need the protection by abusing this modality.
But Raphel Haim Golb has gone ahead and done exactly what I’ve said he should not do. He’s abused an anonymous pseudonym in a most egregious way.
The son of an expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls impersonated other experts in order to further his father’s views on the 2,000-year-old documents, New York prosecutors said on Thursday.
During a six-month period in 2008, Raphael Haim Golb, whose father Norman Golb is a University of Chicago professor of Jewish history, created dozens of Internet aliases in the names of individuals who were active in Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship.
The sock pupped is now being “charged with identity theft, criminal impersonation, and aggravated harassment” and could be sentenced to up to four years in prison, according to reports, if he is convicted.
Mr. Golb was not available to reporters for comment. However, several dozen letters in support of Golb have arrived at the local courthouse.
Hat Tip: A pseudonymous commenter.