Very one-sided and incomplete article
The people who say nasty things, make death or rape threats or - the most recent case I personally witnessed - try to get a good man fired for imagined slights are not necessarily those who use anonymity. That particular douchebag used his real name, as do many of the anti-science fanatics who regularly threaten medics and scientists both online and in real life.
Those who need pseudonyms fall into two main categories:
- those who have used an online handle for years and would be unidentifiable if they used their "real" names, and
- those who need to remain pseudonymous (NOT the same as anonymous) in order to be able to communicate freely (in some cases, just do their jobs) without putting themselves at risk. This includes LGBT people, rape victims, disabled people, people who have had mental health problems (talk about your depression in front of a potential employer and see if you get hired), people with violent ex-partners, and so on..
Civil servants in some places aren't allowed to go online under their real names. In some countries you can be jailed on *suspicion* of being gay. Anti-abortionists have already murdered medical staff. Atheists and scientists have also been subjected to stalking and death threats (search for "dave mabus" for an example). Simon Singh got legally harassed by chiropracters seeking to silence valid criticism. An Italian blogger narrowly escaped the same fate from a homeopathy multinational earlier this month.
And of course, back in Jefferson's day it was not unknown for the subject of a critical article to turn up at the newspaper's offices with a horsewhip or worse. I assume Private Eye's use of anonymity is still current, that organ continuing to protect individual journalists from lawsuits by assuming collective responsibility, as do similar publications elsewhere in the world?
Is Team Register, as articles are sometimes signed, a real name? Out-Law.com?
above all, read this one before deciding anonymity is bad: