Why “naming names” on Medium can be problematic…and what to do about it.

Georgia NeSmith
3 min readJul 22, 2021


In response to “Oops… I Need to Apologize For a Medium Transgression,” by Shannon Ashley

I think the biggest issue with “naming names” comes down to the nature of social media. Search engines make it so much easier to find and read something just by entering names into a search box. That makes it easy for those originally involved plus all their friends (both sides) to get caught up in an “e-war,” which can ultimately ruin an otherwise useful site.

I’m not suggesting Shannon Ashley was wrong for saying whatever she did about the men involved. And, having been the target of more than a few such arguments, I fully appreciate her concerns. However, I understand the reasons why Medium has the rules it has regarding this particular rule.

The goal is to prevent their platform from descending into massive versions of the old flame wars that ultimately sent members running rapidly away.

The unique “validity” of the objection comes down to the nature of internet communications. If we participate at all in internet activities, we are so much more easily found and read.

In the “olden days,” naming someone, say, in a feature article in a newspaper or magazine, would not so rapidly stir up the same level of intensity among massive audiences that grow at lightning speed. If we measure the significance of a flame war against real life bloody wars — where killing and maiming living, breathing people is the whole point — all that energy fighting “wordly” battles recedes into insignificance.

Two main aspects of internet communication in contrast to more traditional means create this phenomenon: the search engine and the infinite space of the medium. These enable anyone to find and contact anyone with an internet presence.

Thus, each of us becomes a walking target for anyone eager to start ye olde “flame war.”

Photo by Gwendal BAR on Unsplash


I learned this the HARD way. The ultimate consequences of verbal wars are that that they tax our energies all out of proportion to…



Georgia NeSmith

Retired professor, feminist, writer, photographer, activist, grandmother of 5, overall Wise Woman. Phd UIA School of Journalism & Mass Communication, 1994.