[Air-L] blogs and confidentiality
jhuns at vt.edu
Sat Nov 26 10:28:05 PST 2011
I think that once you've given them the choice to be private about their identity, you have to continue to provide that, or the 'anonymity' is sort of pointless. In other words, you either treat this as public, and all the information is available to the extent that the authors of the blogs have made it publicly available, or if you start making things private, you have to continue to anonymize, that includes the blog names.
if the blog is public and it is clearly public, then it is a document and you follow the rules of documentary research, and then you treat the authors as authors, not as 'research subjects'. However, as you are not only doing documentary research, and in your parallel research you are seeking to protect the identities of the people who write the blogs private, you have to keep doing it, or you've just undermined the privacy techniques you've used.
basically, you can't have it both ways, you can't have public and private if the public is going to undermine the private. you can only have private/private or public/public, and i think either of those two are fine so long as you get consent of the people you interview and they agree.
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