In my opinion anonymity has no bearing whatsoever on someone’s argument being valid or not; it’s completely irrelevant to making that assessment.
So I’m not quoting myself in the title, it’s Anthony Watts:
For those that might not know this, @wottsupwiththat is the person who runs the WordPress blog WottsUpWithThat. A blog that has as goal to “address climate science claims made on Anthony Watts’s Watts Up With That (WUWT) site.” And so far Wotts has been very critical towards some of the nonsense that’s published on WUWT.
Which is probably part of the reason Wotts has garnered some attention from Watts. Attention in the form of a fishing expedition for his identity.
But like I said this is irrelevant for determining if someone has a valid point. Like Wotts has pointed out someone can have valid reasons for staying anonymous (emphasis mine):
Unless you haven’t been paying attention, you’ll be aware that I’m writing this blog anonymously. There are a number of reasons why I’ve chosen to do so. I don’t enjoy some of the unpleasant exchanges that appear quite common when discussing climate change/global warming, so feel much more comfortable being anonymous (I don’t want to have to deal with unpleasant emails coming to my work address for example). You may think that sounds cowardly, but I believe that it is my right to remain anonymous if I wish to do so. I do try very hard, however, not to use my anonymity to attack those who are not and also try very hard not to say anything that I wouldn’t have said were I not anonymous. I may not have always succeeded, but I do try.
Another reason is that I’m not doing this to promote myself. I’d rather what was judged was what I said, rather than who I am.
He’s right that discussions and exchanges surrounding these subjects are often very nasty. It’s something I do not approve off, and certainly do not condone on my website or my YouTube channel. Not being civil towards opponents is something I block people for, no matter who does it.
So I don’t blame people for wanting to stay anonymous so they can get away from that if they need to.
Through history anonymity was used to enable someone to speak freely and to let people only judge their arguments. Nowadays we know that several of the founding fathers did this with the Federalist Papers.
The reason behaviour like this from Watts annoys me so much is because he isn’t consistent with this anonymity criticism.
He for example allows anonymous comments on his blog and interacts with some of those users. Sometimes agreeing with what they say. Same goes for his activities via his Twitter profile (assuming it’s Watts).
He also allows anonymous contributions to his blog. There are guest posts from for example Steven Goddard, Just The Facts, The Hockey Schtick, and a ‘mole‘. As far as I can tell the real identities of these people aren’t publicly known.
Are their opinions also “not worth [a] bucket of warm spit”? Or doesn’t it matter in this case because they happen to agree with you or support your activities?
To me this looks like a blatant double standard. It’s also often indicative of someone who has more interest in going after the person than dealing with their arguments.