13 March, 2011

St. Albans' Anonymous Website Owner Phones Higginbotham At Large

In yesterday's post I said I didn't know the identity of the person or persons behind the anonymously published website that quotes from and links to my blog. That is no longer true.

Yesterday I got a phone call from a man identifying himself as the owner of the web address of the site that calls St. Albans a meth-making "badlands" and publishes photos and news stories that are unflattering to St. Albans and its elected leaders. The man apologized for using my blog without my permission and offered to remove the quotes and the links. I told him he could continue to quote and link to my blog if he would simply put a disclaimer on his site explaining that Joseph Higginbotham and HIgginbotham At Large are not affiliated with his site.

The anonymous website owner told me he is not alone in posting stories and photos to the site.

When I urged him to publish under his own name instead of anonymously he told me that a lot of people in St. Albans already know his identity and then he explained why he prefers not to publish his name on the site he owns.

If ever there was a town that needs to have a citywide conversation about its drug problem, it's tiny business tax base, its geriatricity, its declining population, its citizen apathy and its utter failure to engage the people with a stake in St. Albans' future (young people) this is the town so I really hope St. Albans' "badlands" website owner will publicly identify himself and make his site the place where this citywide conversation might start. In my opinion, people are more likely to read and trust a site whose ownership and management are known. I, for example, don't trust any business that doesn't publish the names of owners and management on their website.

When I was explaining to the anonymous website owner why I think his site has a greater chance of starting the citywide conversation St. Albans needs to have about its problems and its future, I took the opportunity to explain to him that I chose Linkedin as the platform for my LinkedSt.Albans discussion group precisely because Linkedin groups afford me the opportunity to verify the identity of every participant. There are no pseudonyms, CB handles, nicknames or screen names at LinkedSt.Albans. Every member of LinkedSt.Albans is what the Linkedin terms of use call a "natural person" with visible connections who can verify their identity.

LinkedSt.Albans does not accept members whose account names violate the Linkedin terms of use. I will accept no members who attempt to hide behind organization names such as "St. Albans Partnership" or company names such as "JP's Daily Grind" but if Jesse Post is welcome to join LinkedSt.Albans under his real name.

If you are among the 80 million people with a Linkedin account, just point your browser to www.linkedin.com/groups?mostPopular=&gid=2053370 or go to your "groups" field and type "LinkedSt.Albans" to join. LinkedSt.Albans is a "members only" Linkedin group which means your comments can only be seen by other LinkedSt.Albans members.

Get your free Linkedin account at www.linkedin.com then  point your browser to www.linkedin.com/groups?mostPopular=&gid=2053370 or go to your "groups" field and type "LinkedSt.Albans" to join LinkedSt.Albans.

Higginbotham At Large no longer publishes reader comments.  Send comments, questions and hate mail to JosephHigginbotham@gmail.com. Higginbotham At Large has no interest in the opinions of  readers whose identities cannot be verified.

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