GreenReaper's MeatSpace legal name is Laurence Parry - however, in CyberSpace he is far more easily identified with his nickname, considering its consistent use over the last 10 years and the relative number of people using each name (online or elsewhere). He does not use a PenName or other psuedonymous identities here.
When not editing wiki pages, GreenReaper is a software developer for [Stardock] (where his co-workers have sometimes had trouble remembering anything other than his nickname). He is a British citizen working in the USA. He graduated from the University of Bath in 2003. He has a [another homepage], and occasionally updates it.
Hello, Chris, and thank you for the welcome - and thank you, Stephen, for the explanation! Apologies for the late reply, I was away with family for ChristMas?.
I have indeed read the RealNames policy related pages, before I created this page. I do have significant concerns with the policy, though, and I do not find the reasoning convincing, which is why I did not follow it. As explained above, the technical reason why is not that I am unwilling to put my legal name to my talk, but that I feel it is less of a good (unique) identifier for me than my nickname. There are many people called Laurence Parry in the world, but only one GreenReaper. Of course, this is a reasoned approach, and I understand that it is more an emotional issue, in which there is a similar problem - I feel bad not using what is, to me, my name.
I would challenge one assertion made on that page. It may well once have once been wiki culture to use real names, back when the vast majority of participants were individuals with long-established identities under their legal names. I assert that this is no longer the case. Requiring contributions under a RealName would make it less fun for me to contribute, because it makes it impossible to keep my SerialIdentity. Other people have faced this dilemma; UseRealNamesRefactored is enough evidence of that. It is this community's choice to make this an issue, and I am sad that this is the case, because it means that those who may have become fine contributors never do.
If I wanted to be part of TheCollective, it might matter, but I doubt that will happen - I have my own projects, and they take up much of my free time. But if you want a reason, let's face it: if we wanted to be truly anonymous, we would contribute as such . . . that is, unless you are attaching worth to the message by looking at who the speaker is, which again comes back to using my nickname, because it allows others to get a clear idea of my worth by looking at my contributions elsewhere. WhyUseRealNames suggests that a RealName allows "you to be you" . . . but what I am is not LaurenceParry, but GreenReaper. Indeed, most of the arguments on that page end up arguing for my chosen name.
Ultimately, the vast majority of people who know me know that I am GreenReaper, even if that is not the name all of them would normally use. Conversely, ask three quarters of them who LaurenceParry is, and they'd go "who's that"? That is why I prefer to contribute under GreenReaper - because it has become my name to most people that I know. It is precious to me, and I am not willing to give it up just because a community wishes otherwise.
For those who skipped the words above (or want something shorter): To those of us who live there, CyberSpace is our RealWorld, and thus our NickName? is our RealName. MeatBall is in CyberSpace - why not simply accept that some of its contributors also feel more at home with the long-term identities we have established online, and move on from an issue that has dogged this community since its conception? -- GreenReaper
That does seem like a reasonable compromise - I have adjusted my recent changes accordingly. It so happens that my last name is the name of someone I was never related to in any way, anyway (I have a 3D family tree . . .), which is perhaps one reason why I do not feel all that attached to it.
WikiPedia has been plagued by trolls, it is true, but it is also [one of the busiest sites on the net], while MeatBall [has a thousand times fewer visitors]. I'm aware sheer popularity is not an objective of this site (and bigger is not necessarily better), I just note that there may be other, more significant reasons for the problems it has and continues to face.
I do not really feel that they would have avoided these trolls if they had adopted MeatBall's policy - quite aside from the problems of doing so when there are so many name collisions. As mentioned elsewhere, the objective of identification would be virtually invalidated given the large number of people who share names, although perhaps some form of location matching could be provided. But would people really want to contribute to a site that required them to give their GPS coordinates and real name before editing? Even here, such a policy would seem unreasonable.
As for nicknames, I think they arise not just from MUD culture specifically, but from the culture of being able to choose a name and an identity and have it stick. The majority of my friends wouldn't know MUD if it hit them in the face, but they have nicknames which they are attached to, nonetheless. -- Laurence "GreenReaper" Parry
People tend to use one of Green, GR or Reaper (all of which are fine). If there's no other Green around, that might work best. I've experienced quite a few odd ones like Greenie, Greeper, and GeeArr?, too. Odd, but better than the ones people make up for Laurence. :-)
Don't worry about the contention - I've experienced that occasionally on other wikis (though not regarding my name), and I know it is meant in good faith. As for the escapism . . . well, I can't deny that I feel more at home on the net. But why not? I am a stranger in a strange land; indeed, the fact that almost all of my friends are still available to me online is one of most important reasons I am willing to be here. Even before I moved to the US, there was a far higher proportion of people I was interested in communicating with online than off. That's not to say I felt trapped or uncomfortable where I was - university had some great people - but when faced with a choice between a few hundred or thousand individuals to pick from and a million, when there's never a night where nobody wants to do anything or nothing's on, what location can compete? -- Laurence "GreenReaper" Parry
Hey Green! Didn't know you used MeatballWiki. This is starting to look like TarQuin's page. :/ Anyway, I agree that most of the arguments for UseRealNamesPlease? don't really justify it. RealNames do work better for CamelCase though, my usual handle would look rather odd with it. Not that you'd have a problem with that. But, I don't care enough about the rule to ignore it. :) As far as the trolls go, I think WikiPedia is big enough that they'd simply use fake realnames. And we still have trolls that use names that appear real, even though we don't require real names. By the way, a good way to disambiguate from other people with the same name is probably to stick a middle name in the middle of your name. -- StephanieAmandaStevens