No More 'Secret Agent'?

Posted by Dave Fratello on Tuesday, June 1st, 2010 at 12:59pm.

When MBC launched 3 years ago, there was no real plan. A writer had something to say, and started saying it under a pseudonym.

Anonymity was, at first, a simple choice. Have you looked at the internet? People blog anonymously on everything. It's the default position.

In a July 2007 post, "A Personal Revelation," MBC said:
The decision to publish this blog anonymously was made a long time ago, before there were readers, and it has been made again and again since. The principal reason is to let the content speak for itself.

Not incidentally, MBC also allows anonymous comments. That is because, first, a blog is best when it features a live, organic, two-way conversation, and, second, because anonymity encourages a frank exchange of information. (Though neither frankness nor truth are guaranteed.)

Anonymity, in general, seems to make MBC better, not worse.
Now, 3 years and more than 1,100 posts later, maybe it’s time for a change.

We asked MBC readers in a survey late last year about reactions to the blog author's being anonymous. The main reaction was indifference. That, or you thought the mystery was kind of cool.

Among the nearly 250 readers who took the time to fill out our survey (thanks!), just one selected the answer "I strongly object to anonymity." Just 19 checked "I would prefer to know who it is." One more said, in a comment box: "Who the hell are you?"

Some of you opined that we would be "unwise" to "come out" and worried about our safety. One said, simply: "Get a dog." Others invited us out for pancakes or a beer, or offered to hire us to manage a real estate transaction.

Of course, we know that a sample of MBC readers isn't going to provide the full range of reactions to expect.

Still, these days, the balance of factors is steering us toward "coming out." Soon.

One driver is the desire to improve and expand what we do here at MBC. Whereas anonymity once made MBC possible, let alone "better," it now seems that we could produce a better site, with better information, without the albatross of anonymity.

No matter what, we'll stay focused on what makes MBC unique and keeps you interested. Keeping it real. Less BS. News and analysis that no one else provides. Taking joy in our town and the interesting homes in our neighborhoods. With a dash of opinion mixed in.

The decision’s close. Recently, we got a new fish instead of a dog. But we did sign up a good lawyer or two.

We’re thinking it all through, but meantime, those pancakes are sounding better and better.
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