The dictum to either UseRealNames or otherwise just PostAnonymously fails the AvoidIllusion design criterion, since it isn't perfect anonymity. IP numbers or client hostnames are published for all contributors on the RecentChanges and revision history pages. It is, instead, yet another form of pseudonymity (See AnonymityVsPseudonymity, UseRealNamesDiscussion, LoginsAreEvil, AnonymousDonor).
Those with dynamically-assigned IPs, especially from big ISPs, might have a good measure of PracticalObscurity based on the improbability of someone leveraging one of these IP numbers into additional identity information.
Not everyone who wishes for some measure of PracticalObscurity, however, uses such an IP--in fact, the population of those with some interest and experience in BarnRaising may very well be self-selected to use systems with statically-assigned IP numbers.
It is also a mistake to believe anything you write on the Internet can ever be anonymous. This myth has repeatedly been defeated. The venerable anon.penet.fi fell to the Church of Scientology, for instance. While it's not enough to just claim that anonymity is impossible, for certainly we could make it easier, it's also wrong to give this power only to the site proprietors to abuse. In that case, by not publishing the IP, we create the illusion that you are anonymous. It wasn't clear that anon.penet.fi wasn't abusing its privilege, you just took their word for it. So, in the PostWELL world, users should accept this, at least until you can construct a better network (see FreeNet). Even HAM radios are traceable.
No, because one doesn't "choose" one's IPs as a testament to their identity. Nyms are clothes. Names are tartans. Pseudonyms are costumes. IPs are uniforms.
The original UseRealNames notice stated, if I recall, that your IP or domain appears in RecentChanges if you post without a UserName, but that was stricken for simplicity.
Antagonism in response to recurrent dissention notwithstanding
Understood. It definitely would be more valuable to realize this discussion won't be resolved any time soon, so we should take it more slowly. -- SunirShah
By the way, this reminds me: I would like to change the script to publish the last octet of the IP address. Currently it reads something like 127.0.0.xxx. This is bogus on two levels. First, Cliff and I have access to the full IPs. Second, those of us with hostnames, have them published fully resolved, creating an imbalance. Those opposed? -- SunirShah
I just turned off the ".xxx" masking for IP addresses--I agree that it is silly to do it for the relatively few IP-only addresses. (This change will only affect new edits.) The original purpose of the mask was to protect contributors against DenialOfService attacks. (It is relatively hard to attack a whole class-C.) For the next code release I plan to make masking a site option, and mask the most-local part of the domain name or IP if it is enabled. --CliffordAdams
One interesting thought to add to the discussion of posting the domain/IP addresses of authors. How do you know SunirShah wrote all those entries during his trip through Europe and the United States? He certainly doesn't read everything on the site anymore. Consider even when he was in Durham, he wrote from different IPs within minutes of each other. [Southpoint mall has multiple free Internet drops.] How do you really know? Certainly you can correlate against his itinerary, but not always. The answer of course is that Sunir's identity is more than just his IP or domain, isn't it? Meatball's motto is People, people, computers, and people. His persona is more identifying than his network address. And that's another reason he might think that pseudonyms are bogus. -- SunirShah
heh. I was in Madison this weekend, and had just a short time there with friends, so didn't bother to pop over to, say, a public library to pay a visit here. As it is, Bayle can't tell me from another one of dissenting participants to the UseRealNamesCases page. By the way, I know someone who once lived over on Vick Park B. Its killing me that I can't remember the name of the indy bookstore that used to sit there at the intersection of Monroe and Rutgers (feel free to move this to an appropriate diary entry or whatever--this was prompted by the mention of Sunir's traveling
The bookstore was called the Village Green. I think it's a video store or something now, maybe CliffordAdams can confirm.
Do you really think I wrote PublicScript? I don't even think I wrote it, and I wrote it.
One thing that I also wanted to do was allow people to list both the UserName and the IP/domains on RecentChanges. This would benefit people without accessibility features built into their browsers, say if they're using a pile of junk like NetScape. This would be a UserPreference?, naturally, and certainly only really understood by more "expert" users who would, naturally, be really the only people who would care about such a thing. -- SunirShah
But I think most of the "business" of the wiki can be conducted anonymously. So even if we had to mistrust names, we could carry on discussion. I guess it wouldn't be the same kind of community anymore, though. And for making contentious decisions we'd probably end up email-verifying a bunch of things.
And no, I don't think a mailing list would be more efficient in that case.
(Not specific to meatball) When people PostAnonymously to a wiki, the wiki software has three options on what information about them it will display:
It may display different information to different people:
Similarly, for logged on users, the wiki software can choose to display:
posting without signing can be good... it's oddly refreshing to be reading a section on MB and think 'hey, this is good', and then realise it's something you wrote yourself months ago.