You will often find on HSJ, and other professional publications, people responding to articles anonymously. Those who don’t put their names to their comments are invariably being rude, offensive or cynical.
I am often shocked that professionals, or those who read professional journals, would express themselves in this way. I can’t imagine they talk like this to colleagues in the office - people just wouldn’t put up with it. Maybe they have a moan over a drink in the pub but you really would have had a very bad day to be so vitriolic.
Of course the articles in question are often intended to be provocative, defending unpopular changes or advocating a more commercial approach in the public sector. There are strong feelings around in the public sector at the moment and there is nothing wrong with being opinionated but the anonymous responses are not just anti-management or anti-public sector, they abuse all managers as overpaid, arrogant, bullies and liars and dismiss all public sector employees as lazy, incompetent and over protected.
What must the state of industrial relations be in some NHS trusts for employees to be so hostile towards their managers? Why do people read HSJ or The Guardian if they think public sector employees should ”try working in the private sector as they wouldn’t last five minutes”.
These threads often squeeze out passionately argued commentary and discourage the reader. Online comments from Inside Housing are in response to issues raised by tenants and the anonymous replies are, judging from their content and tone, from disgruntled tenants or disaffected staff and often degenerate into trading insults.
I believe all online users should identify themselves before posting because if you’re not prepared to put your name to it you shouldn’t be saying it. No doubt some people will say that they can’t put their name to anything critical of their organisation for fear of reprisals. Of course if you publicly call your manager a liar and a bully then you can expect to have to explain why you are saying this in a national publication rather than through recognised internal grievance procedures.
Nor is this the medium for whistleblowing. Just like old-fashioned letters to the editor comments can be posted with the name withheld from publication but that of course gives the power of what appears to the editor.
I believe you can make a passionate argument challenging changes, calling into question management culture, drawing from your own experience to contradict statements but using the same language and tone that would be expected in a face to face discussion.
My concern is that what I am reading is how some people speak to other people.