August 3, 2011

Should I Post the Identities of Those Who Send Hate Mail?

Hate mailA reader left a comment on one of the recent posts in which I shared some Christian hate mail I'd received asking why I don't share the identities of those who send this stuff. Interesting question. I suppose it had never occurred to me that this might be something to consider. When I share Christian hate mail, I suppose I could include the author's handle, email address, and even IP address. The question is whether I should. I'm very interested to hear what you think about this - good idea or bad idea?

When I consider the possible pros and cons of disclosing such information, I struggle to come up with more than the following:

Pros
  • Possibly shaming the sender into thinking before emailing hatred
  • Alerting others in the atheist community that of a potential threat
Cons
  • Further agitating the sender
  • Giving the sender the attention and/or publicity they may crave

Am I leaving anything out that you would consider important?

My temptation would be to consider each email carefully and make the decision on a case-by-case basis, focusing mostly on the level of threat. It seems to me that the most compelling reason to do this would be the idea of alerting the atheist community of a potential threat, and that would mean that it wouldn't be worthwhile unless the threat was judged to warrant it. But I want to hear from you before I make any decisions.

Update: After giving the matter some thought, I decided that sharing the identities of those who send hate mail is not something I'm willing to do. I do not know what is going on in the lives of these people or what drives them to do what they do. For all I know, I could put someone in danger by disclosing their identity. I'm not willing to take that risk. If I believe they pose a real threat, I can alert law enforcement. I will not be outing anyone here.

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