This thread leaves me feeling perplexed. So I'll try to sort out some impressions here.
Anonymity I'm not a big fan. When we associate our identities with our ideas, I think the discussion is more open, and the setting is just more interesting. There's an added value in getting to continue conversations in person, or in just reaching out when the keyboard is too big an obstacle for effective communication.
We've talked about this, BR. At the very least, it's helpful to know when ideas in a single discussion thread like this one are coming from the same person. Maybe it's me, but it's a lot like voices from shadows.
Participation From my perspective, the main benefit of anonymity is increased participation. But participation alone doesn't foster dialogue. There are other elements — a non-threatening setting, a friendly overall tone, and some good ideas, to name a few. As more Columbia Citizens tap in, I think there's some point when the benefits of required identities outweigh the costs. We're not there yet, but I hope to get there.
Censorship I was intentionally harsh when I called myself a censor, because it's not something I do often or take lightly. In this discussion board over the past year, I've deleted two terse comments and edited a third (you can track the edit). Aside from my megalomaniacal drive toward ultimate wiki-world domination, I was motivated mainly by my concern about tone.
It seems like a paradox that most public goods need dedicated stewards. It's true of our public spaces and institutions. People care about and participate in this forum to varying degrees. I care a lot — but I don't want that interest to come across as officious or overbearing.
Discussions here can be sparse sometimes. They happen over time. Attention shifts, and the opportunity passes for a timely response. If others were to respond in measured, even tones, then a moderator could just set back and enjoy the conversation. That would be amazing.