The police chief of Austin Texas has become annoyed at pseudonymous bloggers and commenters, and plans to investigate, seek search warrants subpoenas, or sue for libel if this asshatery does not stop now.

The chief says:

“A lot of my people feel it is time to take these people on,” Acevedo said. “They understand the damage to the organization, and quite frankly, when people are willfully misleading and lying, they are pretty much cowards anyway because they are doing so under the cloak of anonymity.”

It is suspected that some of the nastiness is coming from departmental employees.

Last month, the chief got a twitter site shut down because it was pretending to be the police.

The situation in Austin is a little confusing because there is more than one thing going on at the same time. Apparently:

1) Allegations, some of which are very likely libelous, are being made.

2) Nasty things that are probably not libelous or otherwise against civil or criminal law are being said.

3) Some of the pseudonyms are “official” looking and seem to be impersonating individual police or departmental units, as in the twitter case.

4) Some of the pseudonyms seem to be combining numbers 1 and 3 … people are using the names of higher ups in the police department to make potentially libelous accusations.

Of course, the fact that there are distinctly different things going on has already been lost on those reporting it. It seems from the reports that this is all about pseudonymous commenters and bloggers, generally, and that they are ruining it for everyone in Austin and are all in deep trouble.

But we should not be surprised at all that the press and consumers of the press conflate these issues. Even some of the top pseudonymous bloggers who are out there busily defending pseudonymousness can’t seem to avoid conflating opinions and statements that people are making, taking any use of the word “pseudonym” as an anti-pseudonymous act regardless of what is actually being said, if the term is uttered by someone they have classified as “against” them. If that is the best those involved in the discussion of pseudonymity can do, we can’t expect much more from the Austin, Texas police, can we?

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Comments

  1. #1 Comrade PhysioProf
    September 20, 2009

    Dude, way to shitcan your credibility on this topic even further. Good job.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    September 20, 2009

    Exactly as predicted and expected. You are a machine, CPP. Now, would you care to tell me what I’m doing wrong exactly (other than dissing you, which is kind of hard to resist) and please try to be articulate.

  3. #3 Irene
    September 20, 2009

    Comrade Physioprof, when are you going to learn that no one cares about, or in any way values, your take on other people’s credibility?

  4. #4 Omar
    September 20, 2009

    The police are very touchy about their authority and separation from society. This reminds me of the hullabaloo that came about when The Geek Squad started to use VWs that looked vaguely like police cars, and some police departments got court orders for them to stop doing that.

  5. #5 Comrade PhysioProf
    September 20, 2009

    Comrade Physioprof, when are you going to learn that no one cares about, or in any way values, your take on other people’s credibility?

    Irene, when are you going to learn that no one cares about, or in any way values, your take on my take on other people’s credibility? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!

  6. #6 Stephanie Z
    September 20, 2009

    CPP, still no content but abuse? Are you trying to tell us you’ve got nothing?

    Where exactly is the problem in Greg’s idea? He’s saying that if one understands the value of pseudonymity, particularly with regard to other things one values, such as addressing power imbalances, one might want to pay attention to use of that pseudonymity. That if people are getting upset about what is clearly abusive behavior by the pseudonymous, a person who values pseudonymity might want to think hard about being abusive while pseudonymous? That when the point is to be able to address those power imbalances, showing up and prancing around like an Ivy League frat boy granted the key to his parents’ liquor cabinet might not be the world’s best tactic?

    For the reasons that Greg has laid out (the confusing intersection of challenging power and apparent abuse, for those who can’t read when it’s Greg writing), this is a case that should be talked about. Unless you’d prefer that people continue to be confused. You know as well as I do that people have a tendency to point to abuse of police power and do their best to excuse it. In this case, that’s a real problem for the pseudonymous who want to use pseudonymity to challenge power.

  7. #7 Comrade PhysioProf
    September 20, 2009

    SZ, I am not going to be trolled by your illiterate fake-ass “my field is communication” blithering gibberish. Those who know jack shit about jack shit understand exactly what is bankrupt about Greg’s post. Those who don’t, I have no interest in educating.

  8. #8 Stephanie Z
    September 20, 2009

    Do these people who know jack shit support you in email too, CPP?

  9. #9 Liz
    September 20, 2009

    Wow, what a moron.

  10. #10 Liz
    September 20, 2009

    Need to clarify: CPP = Moron.

    (sorry, my aim was bad)

  11. #11 NewEnglandBob
    September 20, 2009

    How did I wind up here in junior high again???

  12. #12 Dan J
    September 20, 2009

    Those who know jack shit about jack shit understand exactly what is bankrupt about Greg’s post. Those who don’t, I have no interest in educating.

    In other words: If you have to ask, you’re too stupid to understand.

    CPP; sometimes (like this time) I expect much better from you. If you honestly feel that way, why the fuck do you comment in the first place?

  13. #13 Comrade PhysioProf
    September 20, 2009

    Do these people who know jack shit support you in email too, CPP?

    I don’t accept e-mails from random yahoos.

  14. #14 Stephanie Z
    September 20, 2009

    Okay, CPP, take the MFJ and step away from the keyboard. You’ve started insulting the people who agree with you instead of just the people who’ve challenged you. This will not make you happy in the morning.

  15. #15 Comrade PhysioProf
    September 20, 2009

    This will not make you happy in the morning.

    I am always extremely happy in the morning.

  16. #16 Greg Laden
    September 20, 2009

    OK, I’m calling for a breathalyser test CPP. ..

    CPP???

    Oh, never mind, he’s passed out. Now nobody can use the bathroom.

  17. #17 Comrade PhysioProf
    September 20, 2009

    Laugh all you want. It’s not gonna change the absurdity of your notion that what some wacked out pig in Texas does has any relevance to non-Texan non-wackpig reality.

  18. #18 Stephanie Z
    September 20, 2009

    First they came for the pseudonymous Texans….

    CPP, if what happened in Texas stayed in Texas, our country would be in better shape right now.

  19. #19 Greg Laden
    September 20, 2009

    Oh, he woke up and mumbled something. What was that? Oh, never mind. He’s talking to Rolf on the big white phone now….

  20. #20 Irene
    September 21, 2009

    That porcelain feels real nice against your face now, doesn’t it CPP?

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