To my dear Editors, greeting. I have suffered the fate of receiving unfavorable evaluations from readers who are so secretive, so miserly, and so cowardly, as not to enlighten me on that which has motivated them to do so. As I said elsewhere, I think I should benefit greatly from my secret critics' low opinion of my writings, if only they may tell me on what ground they made the judgment. In doing so they must needs reveal their identity; but this should not be a problem, I believe, if their judgment be indeed based on reason. Openly criticizing the position of a writer, or even his person, is every way superior to destroying his writing by a THIEVISH mark.
Quite a handful of thievish readers on this Forum have in the past thievishly marked down this or that article, not only mine, without ever letting the author, nor other readers, know whether REASON or GRUDGE be in fact motivating them. There is nonetheless a pattern of such thievish markings; and I wonder whether this group of thievish markers be actually a very small group (most other readers caring not to do such thievish things), each member of which showing his thievish colors on every available occasion. Now that reader evaluation has been re-affirmed as one crucial criterion, respecting as well the admissibility of an article to the privileged space at the center of the front page, as the likelihood of it to secure a place in the section especially provided, it becomes even more imperative that evaluation by readers, if allowed at all, be done openly and accountably, and not out of grudge or the contrariety of mind.
If, I say, reader comments must not remain anonymous, in the minimal sense that the log-in name of the commentator must be affixed to his comment, then I can see no reason why evaluations should be treated otherwise. This Forum has every reason to promote an OPEN and ACCOUNTABLE discussion, each writer or commentator made responsible for what he says or judges. In this way, thieves can no longer do their destroying in the DARK, but must enter the LIGHT, and show the world on what does he judge a man or a pen. In this way, too, may the author learn from brave critics, and other readers in turn from critical exchanges between the two. Grudge will then have no place on this Forum, at least among them who care about their online reputation.
I think we can call this a vision of accountability, for whose many virtues there is no lack of arguments on this Forum. Now, Editors, if you treasure accountability; if you think a discourse based, not on thievish undertakings, but on reason and open criticism, not on grudge but on "valid arguments"; if this indeed be the standard Inmedia should like to promote, I urge you either to remove the system of thievish marking altogether, or, if it must stay, to reveal the identity of the markers. If technical difficulties forbid the second option, the first, I believe, remains always open. But if you think otherwise; if you think, that is, that thievish destructions should be permitted to roam this Forum, you owe the readers an overdue explanation as to why.
Respectfully I submit this Proposal to your Editorship, I remaining faithfully your