The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Sunday, April 17, 2005

pseudonym echo

Interesting comments to a post Peter Cresswell has made over at his blog about whether bloggers with pseudonyms weakening their arguments by not revealing their "real" names.

For the record I agree with Ruth's comments:

"If one wants to blog or post under their real name, fine, but why take the moral high ground about it. At the end of the day no one gives a rat's ass what you think..."

Like Malach, many people know me online as span and wouldn't have a clue what my real name is - it would mean nothing to them.

To be honest I do tend to wonder a little about the people who proudly festoon their posts with their real names, first and last. It's kind of a bit like a big flag saying "you should have heard of me". When I first started blogging I would often react more negatively to those who used their own full names, but now that I've been around long enough to interact with many of the regular commenters here and on other blogs I can judge them on their merits rather than their pseudonym (or lack thereof).

Could pseudonyms not allow us to consider each other's arguments without pre-judging based on what we have heard about that person? This is one of the reasons I value anonymous comments - it strips away the pre-conceptions I might have and lets me assess their point more truly.

And frankly anyone who wants to know my "true" name that's a simple Google search away I'm sure. But beware any would-be stalkers - Marathecat does a strong line in maiming.


Apathy Jack said...

Back in my youngerr days I liked the idea that you could create your own identity on the net - no longer constrained by, well, reality. You could make yourself into some manner of shining internet god, even if you were an unemployed beardo with limited social skills (which I was when I started my first web-projects).

(And no I'm not like that any more. I have a job now...)

These days I've realsised that all that was a load of wank, and I use a nom-de-wankery for simple matters of pragmatism: My students are more computer savvy than I am, and if they should happen to surf across something I've done, I'd rather that they continued on their merry way unawares, instead of saying "Hey, look who that it - can't wait to spread this around school..."

span said...

i do find though that some people are quite different online than in person. i can think of a specific example of someone i know on a discussion board who is very outgoing online but very quiet and introverted in person.

and then there are those like The Whig and Nick Kelly who can be positively venomous online but are generally not like that in person (Blair used to be more like his online personality when he was drunk, I haven't seen him in person for a long time, so maybe he's changed?). Perhaps it's the removal from actual personal contact - you don't see the person's body language when you verbally hit them so you don't feel guilty.

on another point, do you think there are valid security reasons, particularly for women bloggers, to use pseudonyms? sometimes i think yes, sometimes i think no...

Idiot/Savant said...

I use a nym mainly because I got into the habit when I first went online - and now I've been using it for so long that for all pratical purposes it is my real name. My friends use it, my family use it, there are people I've known for years in the flesh who know me by no other tag. Why change?

It's not as if anybody would know me from Adam anyway...

Graham Watson said...

I must say I'm the other way round J.( I feel weird calling you Span).

When I see an anonymous comment or pseudonym I discount the views expressed to some degree, as the comments of someone without the conviction to stand by them.

I have never used a pseudonym and never will. As for my name it is of no consequence if people have heard of it or not, it is not going to change.