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more ideas on anonymity
"How much reputation has an anonymous source?"
I think this might be key to solving the "anonymous libel" problem.
Simply declare "anonymous libel" an oxymoron! We might argue that
otherwise libelous statements, when made anonymously, carry a
presumption of falsity, for otherwise the speaker would be willing to
speak truthfully in his or her own person.
Or, in other words, "Coward! He must be lying!"
The perspective you propose is an easy way of orienting people towards
positive reputations. If people consider an unestablished anonymous
source as similar to a drunk on the street staggerring up to them,
then sources start out with little positive reputation.
For some things, anonymity is sufficiently valuable that its use
doesn't discredit the source: crime tip-offs, inside corruption
revealing, etc. In many of those cases, however, the source would
need to establish their validity, which ties them back into the
positive reputation game: an insider could reveal information that
proves their inside knowledge, an informer could establish a long-term
anonymous reputation, etc. In the case of the informer, police might
still respond to random tips, but not with the same alacrity (yeah
right) with which they respond to tips from established informers.