Should Microcosm show the real identity of users?

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  • This is a question about identity on forums, there are implications in the answer that you choose and these are roughly balanced thus:

    Real identity helps fight spam and trolls, holds people to account for their posts, enables sharing of your actions across social networks and would enable business communities more easily.

    Pseudonyms as identity helps encourage deeper debate (less fear of persecution for your views), helps to isolate community activity from social networks.

    Forums traditionally have supported the pseudonym approach, whereas social networks pioneered the real identity approach.

    The question I seek to answer is which is better, and why, and would the use of real identity increase or decrease your participation in a community. Not just LFGSS, but other communities.

    I am not going to pretend that I could offer full anonymity at all. Using a pseudonym you could achieve anonymity, but only if you used a VPN, used Tor, and then never actually said anything. I will promise as much as is realistic, and that is merely that you could obscure your identity.

  • I want to post anonymously.

  • I want even more than that. The darker the better.

  • Hah, just added a last bit to explain that I cannot promise that.

    Anonymity requires you to never say anything as your text can be analysed and compared to determine your identity (your vocab and grammar can act as a fingerprint). Additionally, anonymity from whom? Unless you have a faultless and flawless regime of using VPNs + Tor, you are definitely not anonymous anywhere online.

  • Is there a way that you could let different Microcosms choose?

    I would only want to participate in communities which allow anonymity but I can see why some communities might desire / require transparency to function properly.

    Does it have to be one or the other?

  • Microcosms are the forums within a site.

    If the option were to be given it would be at a site level.

    Interestingly the platform defaults to pseudonym but as we have a flexible view on login provider we could allow a site to say that it wanted real identity and then prohibit your ability to change your username (it would be set at login according to the login provider).

    But... to offer real identity as an option is one thing and then the question arises about how many communities truly want this... and the real question that keeps arising isn't about whether real identity should be an option, but why isn't real identity the default, and why offer the pseudonym identity at all.

    Thus... are pseudonyms important to the point that they should be default. And if so, why is that?

  • As long as my arse hole neighbours don't find me I'm happy.

    There's a question... why?

  • Couldn't you require registration with a "real" ID, but allow users to post under a pseudonym?

    Not that a real ID means much, unless you checked passports etc.

    I don't mind the website knowing who I am (up to a point), but don't want someone (employers etc) to be able to just plug my name into Google and pull-up what are essentially personal conversations.

  • I wouldn't want my primary email to be used. Good thing is that I have a few email accounts that I could use for shit like that. Bad thing is that you'd lose out on a lot of input.

    The chances are that the productivity in London's media industry and a few others would increase five fold if you were to do this. What where the stats on the number of users that use the site whilst [strike] at work[/strike] on the bog.

  • I refuse to use any website that only has the option of Facebook/G+ sign in.
    The thing is, i don't know exactly why; but i find it annoying to think they are forcing me to do it and don't give an option to signup as normal.

  • Thus... are pseudonyms important to the point that they should be default. And if so, why is that?

    Because people aren't always comfortable to says what they want to says, as it'll likely to bite them in the arse in the near future, says with jobs, relatives, anything in general.

    I got kicked out of a student building (I don't live there) because I openly said that the manager was a cunt on an online forum because he refused to let me lock the bicycle outside let alone bring it in the building, they actually found that post (which is a little scary) managed to linked me to the person living there and decided that they don't want to renew her contract despite is it I whom called him a cunt.

    Luckily the flipside is that she found a better flat for less than the student flat's cost (Nido), but it's an example of how easy is it to find people's information and opinion, and turn it against them.

  • I'd be grateful for anything that can point me in the direction of my real identity.

    I've so many aliases that I'm starting to feel like I'm disintegrating as a physical entity and my mind is populated exclusively by conversations between fictional characters who talk about stack height and the relative advantages of pure merino vs. sportwool.

    Am I cycle training? Is Scoble mineral, vegetable or mammal? Ou est le Hippy d'antan?

  • Accountability must be the main argument for requiring real name log ins. I can see why companies / organisations want that in their forums.

    But I look at the way this site, which is full of pretty laid back people, goes after certain people sometimes and wonder how much damage could really be done if less "friendly" sites have access to your real identity.

    I guess bullying is probably enabled more buy anonymity but surely giving those same bullies someones real identity is asking for trouble.

  • I left Google+ when those Google douchebags insisted on implementing their Real Name Policy.

  • How would real identity be ascertained?

  • You send VB your passport.

  • ^ I think I read about your case in Private Eye.

  • How would real identity be ascertained?

    We could just defer that to services that have real identity as a requirement and more resources.

    That is: Login with Facebook and Login with Google Plus.

  • pseudonyms are very important. People don't necessarily want their real name next to everything they say online, the recent spate of people changing their usernames to initials proves this.

  • That is: Login with Facebook and Login with Google Plus.

    And if you don't belong to either of those?

  • I'm fine with either.
    My username is pretty much my real name as it is

  • In addition to being able to discuss things in an unrestricted manner, I also prefer not to give people information to infer where I might be at any particular time.

  • I'm not really that bothered. I'd prefer to use a pseudonym, but if people want to sign up with their real identities it's up to them.

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Should Microcosm show the real identity of users?

Posted by Avatar for Velocio @Velocio