[Home]IdentifyingBehaviour

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Although SerialIdentity usually involves an explicit label or nym, this label is not always reliable. Nonetheless, some behaviour(s) of the individual may suit as PersonalIdentification, such as the time of day they post or their writing style. For instance, the Cypherpunks newsgroup had an individual newsgroup has a particularly insane person who routinely changes his PenName even though he remains identifiable from his writing (Donath, 1999):

The cypherpunks list has its very own net.loon, a fellow named L. Detweiler. The history is too long for here, but he thinks that cypherpunks are evil incarnate. If you see a densely worded rant featuring characteristic words such as "medusa", "pseudospoofing", "treachery", "poison", or "black lies", it's probably him, no matter what the From: line says. The policy is to ignore these postings. Replies have never, ever, not even once resulted in anything constructive and usually create huge flamewars on the list. Please, please, don't feed the animals. ([1], March 13, 2004)

Writing style is particularly vulnerable to BayesianFiltering, such as used to identify spam. Network traffic is vulnerable to a SurgeProtector. However, IdentifyingBehaviour is not as good as a fingerprint, since humans can behave differently in different contexts (cf. WhatIsMultiplicity), so it's not inconceivable for a sufficiently trained individual to change their behavioural style from one SockPuppet to the next, perhaps enough to construct a believable WalledIdentity.

References

Donath, Judith S. (1999). Identity and deception in the virtual community. In M. A. Smith and P. Kollock (eds.), Communities in cyberspace. (pp. 29–59) London: Routledge.

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