To “Visitor From Planet Earth”

Arts Squared has received a reply to “The Stanford Challenge for Doug Goss” from a writer using the pseudonym “Visitor From Planet Earth.” The post will not be published at this time.

The moniker would more fittingly read “Visitor to Planet Earth,” since the writer does not appear to know that on Earth, especially when one is participating in a conversation on a university website, one should keep within certain bounds of decorum and civility. “Visitor” is also apparently unaware that on Earth it is generally not considered civilized — indeed, legal —  behaviour to impersonate others. For his or her email address, “Visitor” has entered larry.summers@fas.harvard.edu

Lawrence (Larry) Summers, the former president of Harvard University who resigned in 2006 just prior to an anticipated  non-confidence vote on his leadership, may very well enjoy reading university blogs from around the planet. He may also enjoy commenting on them. But it is safe to assume that when he does so he writes in his own name, and appends his actual email address to his posts. Though it is true that Professor Summers has made more than one more remark in his career that he probably regrets, and he probably especially regrets certain remarks about the relationship of women to study in the sciences, he has probably learned to be circumspect in his public utterances. He would not write what “Visitor From Planet Earth” apparently thought would be desired reading material for readers of Arts Squared. And if he were going to write it he would acknowledge his authorship to everyone, not simply to the administrator of the blog, on its “back end.”

This is a website for those who want to engage in constructive conversation about the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta, any matter related to the University, or indeed any matter relating to post-secondary education in Canada. Arts Squared has nothing against the use of pseudonyms; but it does have issues with the use of pseudonyms in tandem with a fake email address for a post whose tone is — well, let’s just say it’s not exactly cordial. Critique is always welcome. But if you wish barbed criticism to be published, please submit your criticism under your real name, and with a genuine email address attached. Or how about asking the person you are impersonating to send along a quick note indicating that he permits your use of his name in association with your text? Cheers.

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