That aside, I'm interested in the question whether a newspaper can investigate and reveal the identity of those who comment without using their real names.
The Plain Dealer of Cleveland recently discovered that anonymous comments on its site, disparaging a local lawyer, were made using the e-mail address of a judge who was presiding over some of that lawyer’s cases.Hmmm. I'd like to see this legal question connected to lawsuits that are aimed at discovering who's behind an on-line pseudonym. I tend to disfavor both kinds of lawsuits, but I'll bet there are people who would in sequence, without thinking too much, favor both. You can't favor both, can you?
That kind of proxy has been documented before; what was more unusual was that The Plain Dealer exposed the connection in an article. The judge, Shirley Strickland Saffold, denied sending the messages — her daughter took responsibility for some of them. And last week, the judge sued The Plain Dealer, claiming it had violated her privacy.