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Anonymity is the state of having one's identity concealed. Anonymity shouldn't be confused with pseudonymity, which often involves creating an identifiable persona.
Anonymity is a virtue. Anonymity means that one doesn't have any rank, titles, reputation, or any form of special attention given to them. On a forum or bulletin board without usernames, there is true equality. Without ranks, titles, or reputation, users pay attention to what one has to say rather than to who's saying what.
Anonymity is protection. In authoritarian countries, it is sometimes necessary for dissenters to conceal their identity in order to avoid persecution.
Anonymity is a tool. Anonymity can be use to avoid accountability. This is the bad sort of anonymity anti-Internet advocates hate due to cyber-crime and cyberbullying.
Oftentimes, online anonymity is a privilege rather than a right. There isn't an Internet Constitution protecting privacy. Most websites force users to register and to create online personae. Many blogs, wikis, and even imageboards log their users' IP addresses, which is why proxies are so cherished.
A lot of sites are now requiring logins that are somehow associated with real names. Facebook is the dominant purveyor of the idea that real names are better on the net, and are gaining a lot of ground.