Should Healthy Debate publish anonymous blog posts?
Hello Healthy Debate community,
Since launching the opinions section two years ago, we have published over 200 blogs from a wide range of people, including patients, front-line practitioners and health system leaders. In that time, we have never published an anonymous blog.
Our current policy for publishing guest blogs specifically states that the author’s real name will be published. We do this because we believe that it fosters an open environment, which is key to what we’re trying to do with Healthy Debate. We strive to be as transparent as possible throughout the site, publicly posting information about our team, process and funding sources. We have felt that running anonymous blogs would run counter to our goal of being as open as possible.
However, some recent experiences are making us rethink this policy. We have encountered an increasing number of individuals who are unwilling to speak with us on the record. Our sense is that this is particularly the case in Alberta. In one recent case, a writer retracted a very thoughtful blog because we were unwilling to publish it anonymously, and the author was worried about suffering professionally for voicing a criticism of the provincial health care system; a criticism that we felt was balanced and is likely shared by many others.
These experiences have made us wonder whether it is time to accept anonymous blogs. We do occasionally quote from anonymous sources, and anonymous comments can be left on the site. We are beginning to think that anonymous blogs might therefore be a reasonable extension of these existing policies. However, we are also aware that allowing anonymous blogs could change the tone of the site, by making it a less transparent environment.
This is a question our editorial board is considering, and we have asked the Citizen’s Advisory Council for their input. In the meantime, we’d be very interesting in knowing what our community thinks.
Should we post anonymous blogs? If so, what policies should we have in place to ensure Healthy Debate remains as open and transparent as possible?
Jeremy Petch is the Opinions Editor of Healthy Debate