One of the basic tests of whether what you do is good or bad is whether you can imagine, having done it, going home and saying to your parent(s), partner(s), kids or friends "hey guys, guess what I did today?" Or as Louis Brandies most elegantly put it, "sunlight is the best disinfectant". Things are done furtively in the dark that no-one would be willing to own up to in the light of day.
On Friday Laurie Penny kicked off a debate about misogyny online when she pointed out that for airing her opinions she is regularly subject to threats, abuse and all sorts of hate from anonymous - presumably male - commentators. Many other women have since commented that they have been subject to similar abuse. The fact that women say things apparently drives some men into a violent fury, and many websites give them the option of venting that fury through anonymous trolling.
There are plenty of politically-active hackers floating around, increasingly so since the prominence of Wikileaks and the many successes of Anonymous have shown what motivated people can do to change the world from behind a keyboard. So let's find a few of these guys, the ones who are threatening rape and murder on women for merely speaking their minds - not to pay them back in kind, not to threaten them with the same violence or to publish their addresses so a mob can kick down the door. No, just enough information to write a quick note to their mothers, girlfriends, wives, kids and female friends saying "when he thinks no-one knows it's him, this is what he says online".
Yes, I really am suggesting that we track down the guy who said Laurie Penny should be gang-raped by bankers at knife-point and tell his mum. Because if we found a few of these psychopaths and demonstrated the rather tenuous limits of online anonymity, perhaps the rest of them would think twice before doing it again.
(Photo from benimoto on Flickr)