The time has come to close this forum to Anonymous postings. (I am a member, posting “anonymously,” to make the point.) The recent rash of anonymous and obviously axe-grinding postings – the Middle Eastern danger! wooden landing struts! “ask questions, ask questions!” – is going to destroy the value of this discussion space. It is impossible to have a sustained, serious discussion if you don’t know the bona fides of those you are talking with.
Two suggestions to the COPA management, which has done such a good job. Please immediately EITHER
- Retain the “public forum” section, but change the software to prevent postings from anyone without an authenticated ID and e-mail address. The person would not have to be a COPA member, but he would have to register with his real name and contact info, and his name would be attached to his messages (as is the case in the Members section now).
- Fold the contents of the public discussion into the “members” discussion; let anyone READ those discussions; but restrict postings to authenticated COPA members.
Do I believe in free discussion? Sure. But certain rules of the road are necessary to preserve freedom of discussion – that is why nations impose libel laws. The rule of the road here is to make people accountable for their own views, and to make their background and possible biases obvious to others assessing their views.
[The COPA management can figure out who this post is from by inspecting its IP address. But it shouldn’t be necessary to do that – we all should have to be accountable for our views.]