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The IT Skeptic Comes Clean

Tired of commenting from the shadows, the IT Skeptic reveals his identity.
Aug 16, 2007
By

The IT Skeptic





Who is The IT Skeptic? There are quite a few people who could answer that question, including a number of ITIL authors, many board and executive members of itSMF in several countries, and quite a few readers of my blog. But hopefully the majority of readers didn’t know until now that The IT Skeptic and his alter-ego The IT Swami are pseudonyms of Rob England of Pukerua Bay, New Zealand.

Okay, so now you know. So why did I choose to be anonymous in the first place?

As the website says:

  • I can comment without restraints that might be imposed by other roles I perform in my profession.
  • I can avoid nasty emails and heated debates at conferences and meetings.
  • It's fun.
  • A fourth reason, related to the first, was to avoid any embarrassment to colleagues on the committee of itSMFnz (New Zealand). I was concerned that some overseas itSMF people might not appreciate the itSMFnz newsletter editor giving them stick, and they might make life difficult for the New Zealand executive. (The New Zealand committee have always been in the know, and unanimously supportive).

    In the early days of the blog this was probably the right decision—it saved hassles and it made the blog a bit more interesting. With the progression of time, however, anonymity has become increasingly farcical. All the people who might make waves, along with a tribe of others, know exactly who The IT Skeptic is.

    I hope the probability of anyone objecting has declined since the blog has established credibility and a track record for fairness (or at least even-handed unfairness). In addition, the itSMFnz editorials are written by my “regular” self demonstrably free of Skeptic subversion—well at least no more than any good editor would exhibit. I’ll let the readers judge for themselves.

    Furthermore, on the blog I spend a fair amount of time campaigning for transparency and community involvement in itSMF and other ITIL bodies. Any attempt to stifle debate now would just be grist for the mill. And, even though I strive to establish as much credibility as possible, reading comments on the blog and other websites showed that anonymous writing in general suffers from diminished integrity.

    There is also a fundamental inconsistency in an anonymous blogger advocating transparency and disclosure. And I was unable to challenge anonymous commentators on my blog to identify themselves when they made attacks on other people.

    There are some distasteful corners of the Internet, where people air opinions and attack others in a manner they simply would not be able to before the emergence of the Internet. There are forums and sites that are no better than scribblings on toilet walls, or the malicious gossip whispered amongst a bitchy few. But now this rubbish is broadcast to the planet. As The (former) IT Skeptic I have no desire to be associated with this kind of social deviancy.

    I conclude that anonymity has its place:

  • In the early days of a blog.
  • Where employers and associates might object or feel uncomfortable.
  • Where the physical security of the blogger and family might be compromised.
  • But, in general, “blogalistic” integrity is (hopefully) enhanced by standing behind one’s remarks.

    Now you know.




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