Sock Puppets Get Newspaperman Disciplined

As reported in the New York Times,

[The Los Angeles Times] suspended the blog of one of its columnists after it was revealed that he had posted comments on the paper’s website and elsewhere on the web under false names…. [The actions] had violated the newspaper’s ethics guidelines, “which requires editors and reporters to identify themselves when dealing with the public.” That policy “applies to both the print and online editions of the newspaper.”

I like that guideline, although I hadn’t heard of it before as part of a code of ethics. Would that more companies adopted it… I’m thinking here specifically of Alias Comics, whose Executive Director, Mike S. Miller, has been found using similar sock puppets on Newsarama.

A “sock puppet” is, according to Wikipedia,

an additional account created by an existing member of an internet community. This account allows them to pose as a completely different user, sometimes to manufacture the illusion of support in a vote or argument.

Miller was revealed to be using a psuedonym of “Angry Monkey” (and lying about it) to allow him to gay-bash “without the weight of who I am in the industry giving it any more or less attention than any of the other 95% of posters here who use handles.”

Since I know many people whose opinion of Miller influences their opinion of the comics put out by the company he’s associated with, I suspect the real reason is somewhat different. Anyway, I think we can all agree hiding your identity on the internet in such a case is, if not unethical, immature at best.

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