I certainly understand that anonymity can be necessary in certain situations, and I myself have made use of it. Mostly when commenting on problems with former co-workers, in cases where I thought even if I don't name them explicitly it would be easy to find out who I was talking about. But most of the anonymous comments I see are anonymous for no other reason than cowardice. I believe these people chose anonymity because they wish not to be responsible for what has been said, and they are afraid to make a mistake. I don't think this is a good development - not for the scientific content, and not for the atmosphere of the discussion.
To begin with, let me differentiate between 'anonymity' and 'pseudonymity'. Pseudonymity is if you choose a nickname and stick to it, even if you don't connect it to your real name, your job, or affiliation. I have no problem with that. Except that occasionally I would of course like to know more - but that's the story of my life. If you have a pseudonym, you'll create a history and a reputation. If you come back, I will know what scientific knowledge I can expect, know already your opinion on various matters, and it will be much easier to reply to your comments. In addition to this, if I am under time pressure I don't read anonymous comments. Why should I? There are 6 billion people in this world. Of course I distribute my attention primarily to people I know.
The very least you can do is choosing and sticking to one nickname in the comments to one thread. Look, after the 10th 'Anonymous' it becomes really confusing. Can't you at least enumerate yourselves?
In case there are still people who haven't figured it out: if you write a comment you get 3 options - blogger ID, Other, and Anonymous. If you don't have a blogger ID and don't want to get one, you can comment under a nickname choosing the option 'Other'. This does not require you to leave an email address. There are some of you among the frequent visitors (Klaus, changcho), who always comment as anonymous, but sign with a name. You can do this, but in this case I will miss some of your comments, since they appear in my inbox as: Anonymous left a comment... and I ignore them. If you want to get a blogger ID, you don't need to write a blog for that, and I assure you you don't get any spam. The advantage is that the link to your profile confirms it's actually your comment.
If you are afraid to sign your criticism with your name, what light does this shed on our discussions? It is without doubt that writing in anonymity tempts you to put less thought, and less care into your argumentation. Before you leave the next anonymous comment, here or elsewhere, do me the favor and ask yourself whether it is really necessary to do so.
"Anonymity is like a rare earth metal. These elements are a necessary ingredient in keeping a cell alive, but the amount needed is a mere hard-to-measure trace. In larger does these heavy metals are some of the most toxic substances known to a life. They kill. Anonymity is the same. As a trace element in vanishingly small doses, it's good for the system by enabling the occasional whistleblower, or persecuted fringe. But if anonymity is present in any significant quantity, it will poison the system.
Privacy can only be won by trust, and trust requires persistent identity, if only pseudo-anonymously. In the end, the more trust, the better. Like all toxins, anonymity should be keep as close to zero as possible."