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This page is for discussing UseRealNames with reference to specific individuals. (and sheesh, this page is now about 4 clicks down from UseRealNames!)

The Cunctator

WikiPedia contributor and critic. OpenDirectoryProject CommunityExile [1].

WikiPedia:The_Cunctator cunctator@kband.com http://www.kband.com/

If you're really opposed to UseRealNames, you can get away with it. TarQuin does. :) -- StephenGilbert

Don't go citing that one as a precedent! S/he's just an anonymous wisp these days, light as the wind!

Perhaps Tarquin should stop using his UserName on RecentChanges, then! ;) -- SunirShah

Has the "precedent" in question reverted to an IP address? Interesting. It's an interesting little dilemma, C. What do to? Become a Wiki:AnonymousDonor? Defy CommunityExpectations and use your handle? Bite the bullet and follow UseRealNames? Or simply leave? Whatever you choose, I sincerely hope it's not the last one. -- StephenGilbert

The "precedent" isn't really a precedent. Tarquin's idea and motivation were honest and fair. He just thought it was stupid for people to keep associating his domain with his identity; something I'm not exactly in disagreement with. However, since it seems to be confusing, maybe this new practice should be thought out a bit more. -- SunirShah

Is there any reason why you would not UseRealNames even though we ask you for it, and still post on this wiki? Post anonymously, post with your real name, or not at all. -- AlexSchroeder

Do what you want; erase my handle, erase my contributions, whatever. I have reasons for my decisions, I can accept the consequences. I understand the UseRealNames argument, but the basic assertion that an online handle is not anonymous enough to be anonymous but not real enough to be real is somewhat silly. I just hope that my contributions to MeatballWiki are of value. --TheCunctator

Fair enough. I think I will erase your handle (not your contributions) when I see it (except on this page, etc). But we'd love to have you as a member of MeatBall if you'd like to use your real name. -- BayleShanks

Continuing to use the handle for signatures which we have to remove, however, really flies in the face of CommunityExpectation. -- AlexSchroeder

AlexSchroeder and BayleShanks both use the plural first person RoyalWe above. They do not speak for me.

True enough, i did. I guess you can interpret my "we'd love to have you" as "i (and probably others) would love to have you", then. I concur with AlexSchroeder's statement, though, so that one is at least definitely plural :) -- BayleShanks

Don't fall to that old divide and conquer tactic, Bayle. Every community is made from individuals, and so too does the RoyalWe gain its power from each singular I it speaks for. A leader speaks for all she leads, and that means in the RoyalWe. If you're going to effectively lead, you must assume you're followed. When you have enough feedback that you're wrong, you change your mind--and learning how to listen for that feedback is critical--but it remains clear that we insist on real names. ... Although it's probably not necessarily clear that we would love to have Cunc. ;) -- SunirShah

I have reasons for my decisions, I can accept the consequences. I understand the UseRealNames argument, but the basic assertion that an online handle is not anonymous enough to be anonymous but not real enough to be real is somewhat silly. I just hope that my contributions to MeatballWiki are of value.

I don't think you understand the UseRealNames argument judging from your remarks; it's not just about being anonymous or being real. That's only the limited cryptonautic viewpoint, and quite frankly the least interesting or important. There are greater social reasons, not the least being the need to make a commitment and respecting others' similar commitments.

Spitting in our faces by creating a UserName of AnonymousDonor isn't a very positive move. You don't have to be disappointing about this.

Also, I don't really understand the need to erase his namepage, at least so quickly. It's certainly not consistent with our history. Haste makes waste, and animosity. -- SunirShah

I'm not trying to spit in anyone's faces. I'm willing to make contributions anonymously. I need to choose some "anonymous" username because that's more anonymous than my IP number/hostname showing up in the recent changes/edit history. That's all.

I understand the UseRealNames argument, I think. Is "the basic assertion that an online handle is not anonymous enough to be anonymous but not committed enough to be commitment" more accurate? I even think it's an okay policy for this wiki, even if it's silly. My understanding is that whatever the reasons, the options for reasonable people are:

Cunctator, your IP will show up regardless: hover with your mouse over a name on RecentChanges to see the IP.

Yes, the dictum to either UseRealNames or otherwise just PostAnonymously fails the AvoidIllusion design criterion, since it isn't anonymity at all. It is, instead, a form of pseudonymity.


I don't really mind the AnonymousDonor username, as long as no one attempts to create an actual persona out of AnonymousDonor or stakes out personal real estate on the page AnonymousDonor. UseMod would allow a second person to sign up as AnonymousDonor, so all it does is display AnonymousDonor on RecentChanges instead of an IP.

Logging in as AnonymousDonor is also better than logging in using a handle, which causes handles to appear on RecentChanges, and which allows a persona to be built around that handle (although I'm not sure yet if i think just logging in with a handle is a really bad thing at all; I was leaning towards thinking it's fine, but after reading some of Sunir's recent thoughts, I am now right in the middle again).

-- BayleShanks


Tarquin

I'm probably going to refactor what is below into UseRealNamesCases/Tarquin, simply because this page has become TooLongToEdit?. If that seems like grabbing a HomePage by the back door, please speak up and object before I go ahead. I'd also like to clean up & reformulate my thoughts on the policy. They currently run something like this:

(except I've just realised we don't have subpages on this wiki. drat.)


I was tempted to say on TheCunctator that Sunir's reasons for using real names are ever-changing, but perhaps it's rather a case of my pestering him on the topic making him think about it and clarifying (if I may be so bold to make that suggestion...)

I wonder whether the real names policy is creating a group of OutcastNewcomers, who are prepared to follow the spirit of the community but not specific rules which they perceive as having no real purpose. A bit like buying a cottage in a pleasant village in the country, and then redecorating, only to find that the village council has a shortlist of acceptable front door colours (this has really happened to a friend, by the way). Faced with a rule that just seems daft and arbitrary (to you), what do you do? The only power the council has is disapproval, so you either become a pariah with a door of a colour of your choice, or bend to their will.

The reasons are multiple and complex only because they are responding logically to an emotional demand to use PenNames couched in rationalizing logic. No one has ever, ever presented an actual reason to use a PenName as a UserName here. The trouble is that culturally on the Internet it has become de facto to employ pseudonymity, whereas here it has been the opposite as in society it is the opposite. Meatball lives in MeatSpace, but is accessed through the Internet, conflicting the two cultures.

The cultural values here aren't arbitrary, either, being grounded in lots of thinking for what's best for MeatballWiki. No one with a PenName has ever argued globally, but merely individually, because really it just comes down to the fact that each individual merely wants to use their pseudonym. Fundamentally, that's the whole damning case against pseudonyms right there: individualism.

It's not insignificant that the going culture on the Internet is to use pseudonyms either, because it makes it in fact a decision on part of each participant. The demand to give up your individualism by either using your real name (and thus submitting to the community and becoming responsible to the community) or becoming anonymous (and thus not gaining anything for your reputation) is a barrier to entry that limits those who use MeatballWiki to those who are either committed to the rest of us or are selfless. (cf. PostAnonymously)

It's clear that there are have been many people on wikis who show strong individualism even though using their real names. However, they are at least comfortable with their individualism, unlike people hiding behind pseudonyms. If you aren't comfortable with what you're saying, why should we be? It's our ass too, after all. Indeed, I'd like to see a CommunityExpectation to edit away (i.e. anonymize, recontextualize, or even delete) potentially incriminating statements--you know, work together on this. Of course, then people would probably censor my diary for my entire trip to the States. ;)

I wanted to create a UseRealNamesGauntlet? summarizing this position, not just to create argumentative chaff but to indeed clarify why the doors are all painted blue. Then some people went ahead and created UseRealNamesCases independently, so now I don't know if I really have to. -- SunirShah

Sunir, I wasn't trying to say they are arbitrary, just that perhaps that is how some of the Real Names Cases view it. (IncreaseHarmony?, maybe) I do think that your reasons for Real Names are sharpening (or perhaps I am understanding better). If I may attempt to paraphrase, you want meatball to be like real life; like real people meeting in person to discuss. The wiki and the net are just a means to bridge distance, rather than some mystical "cyberspace". There is still one aspect of real life that's not simulated here: the RightToVanish. - t

>> I was tempted to say on TheCunctator that Sunir's reasons for using real names are ever-changing

To make things even more confusing, I bet everyone else has similar but subtly different reasons for liking the policy (I do).

>> No one has ever, ever presented an actual reason to use a PenName as a UserName here.

To me, this is a very salient point. The individuals who don't want to UseRealNames don't seem to have real good reasons for us to make an exception. It seems to come down to either "consistency with my pseudonyms elsewhere" or "i want to" or "i don't like the policy, in general" (or, "i am afraid of spam", which i don't quite understand in this context).

>> Meatball lives in MeatSpace, but is accessed through the Internet, conflicting the two cultures.

I think I finally see what you mean by that... what a great idea.

>> The demand to give up your individualism by either using your real name (and thus submitting to the community and becoming responsible to the community)

I can't say I agree with this reason. There are people like myself who just prefer to UseRealNames anyway. It wouldn't really be fair to make some people run a gauntlet while others like me have no gauntlet.

>> Indeed, I'd like to see a CommunityExpectation to edit away (i.e. anonymize, recontextualize, or even delete) potentially incriminating statements--you know, work together on this.

I didn't understand what you mean here. I've never seen potentially incriminating statements on MeatBall.

By it's our ass, you mean if someone libeled or something on MeatBall, the rest of us might also be caught up in a lawsuit? (I think I'm probably really interpreting this sentence wrong)

>> There is still one aspect of real life that's not simulated here: the RightToVanish.

What is the RightToVanish?

-- BayleShanks

I'll explain some other time. Sunir's recent explanation about community makes sense, way more sense than the old "serious names encourage serious discussion" chestnut. And in the community argument for Real Names lies the rub. I'm a FringeMember?. I generally don't do communities or groups, whether in MeatSpace or on the net. I don't know if that makes me AntiSocial?, or one of LarryWall's GluePeople. Consider me as you would the grandfather in "Heidi": old grouch who is apart from the community, but comes down from the mountain when serious BarnRaising is required. I've removed my user name from preferences. If Sunir is right about recognizing people from their style of writing, you'll be seeing me around :-)

> old grouch who is apart from the community, but comes down from the mountain when serious BarnRaising is required

neat! -- BayleShanks


It's not a demand. UseRealNames is a demand, one that is enforced. The use of PenNames? just is. We use them. You act against them, and try to rationalize it. CommunityExpectations can change, but not if people don't let them--redlining, harassment, ostracism are all good techniques for suppressing dissent diversity, and promoting adherence to a static view of CommunityExpectations. But it's no fun for anyone. Apparently, order trumps fun.

You forget that we were here first.

That would be the RoyalWe, one must suppose.

So, it's really you who are demanding us to conform to your values.

Demand? Who is demanding anything? Do what you want--go ahead and use a your real name, if you like.

You can choose not to be here, and it's your desire to be here that's pulling us together to discuss it.

Yes, I *am* forcing you to type. Bend to my will!

You're right that redlining, harassment, and ostracism are good techniques. Perhaps we should use them next. Might as well try everything once, eh? Please don't start down that road. We've been civil. Please be civil.

I'm sorry if that was how it was seen, but deleting your homepage was not my attempt to embarrass or ostracize you or to suppress dissent. I just thought that allowing a homepage with a PenName conflicted with my goals for MeatBall; specifically, I thought later newcomers might see it and get confused about UseRealNames; furthermore, it creates an atmosphere of silly names that I don't like. I guess it was partially an attempt to let you know that we are serious about UseRealNames, but mostly it was just an act of housekeeping.

You didn't delete my homepage. That was someone else's homepage. Not that it matters, unless you're all hung up on personality games. Not that I expect you to credit it (though, with your attention, you seem to credit it highly) but I'm more interested in the underlying issues--they've cropped up with a vengeance on a site I frequent, and I was, for this round, more of a bystander than anything. "What site?" you may wonder, for references' sake. Well, since I use a pseud there, I'm not going to divulge it here. This is an example of how the UseRealNames dictum suppresses discussion of real-life examples when those examples involve pseudonyms and a concern about "outing"--Meatball just isn't going to be brought into those loops. The RoyalWe may not care about that "loss" but it does limit significantly the size and shapes of the Barns we can discuss Raising here.

As for suppressing dissent, I thought you had already stated that you were not going to follow the policy and that was that. My interpretation was that you were saying "I know this disagrees with you, but I am going to use the fact that this software allows me to write what I please, and what I please is to sign my handle". I actually don't have a problem with that approach in this case, as long as you don't delete stuff, but you should recognize that it entails that others will also do what they can to your text within the limits of the software; in my case, that meant I moved the stuff on your homepage over here.

Different person. I'd like to use an easier-to-follow pseudonym here to help you sort this stuff out, but since I decided not to purposely work against policy directly (since people *insist* on defining it and working against it as if it were an attack, and I have no interest in being seen as an attacker), I just withhold my name. I suggest differentiating me using my IP name, if you'd like--I used to post from several different ones (which I would have liked to have consolidated under a pseudonym, but oh well). Now I just post from the one, more or less.

In other words, instead of arguing about the policy I thought you wanted to just do stuff and see if others supported the policy enough to stop it; i.e. maybe there would turn out to be a "silent majority" which supported handles, in which case any deletions of your handles would get undeleted by others, etc. So just doing stuff sometimes makes sense. But if that was the presumption then I thought I was perfectly entitled to move your text here and delete the other page, too. Perhaps I was too hasty.

>> CommunityExpectations can change... > You forget that we were here first. So, it's really you who are demanding us to conform to your values.

Here's another good point. Perhaps if your case were being argued by someone who is already a member of our community (there are some who take your side who I think are members here; StephenGilbert, for one; but the anti-UseRealNames doesn't seem to be as important to them as UseRealNames is to us), it would make more sense. But for someone new to come along and insist on changing something like that isn't quite fair to us. I mean, why shouldn't we be allowed to have a UseRealNames community if we want?

That's good--in order to change the rules, you must be a member. But to be a member, you must agree with the rules as is. See what is meant here by "Catch-22". As for "accepting" them without "agreeing" to them, well, that seems a little to close to hypocrisy or double-dealing to me--the proof is in the pudding, you can tell what people really agree to by what they do.

I think "accepting" stuff without "agreeing" to it is necessary in many, many situations. As I noted above, to not accept anything that you don't wholeheartedly agree with means that no community rules are possible without unanimous agreement. It is even more ridiculous to try to have a community whose rules are accepted unanimously not only by everyone in the community but also by everyone who ever considers joining it. I don't think it is hypocritical to compromise and follow something you do not think is correct unless that something is downright immoral (and even then, it has to be pretty bad for me to think it's hypocrisy).

It may not be hypocritical, but it is very ineffective as far as demonstrating one's point and elaborating upon it practically. It's one thing to argue that it's dangerous for the human body to travel at speeds greater than 50mph, from a theoretical standpoint while staying with the speed limits. It's quite another thing entirely to do the experiment, to build a machine capable of traveling faster, climb into it, and race off in it to see whether the naysayers and scaremongers and theoretical trouble-borrowers are completely correct, or not. So many are so obviously afraid of the anonymous bogeyman, 'hiding' behind his anonymity or pseudonymity the nefarious (or, at least, unserious or 'ridiculous') motives they impute upon him, what better way to make the point than to *demonstrate* that, trolls and other evil creatures of the online world aside, it isn't *always*, *necessarily* the case, these fears they cherish? Of course, there will always be those who discount or reject evidence not in keeping with their theories, but then one can't afford to care about those, since they are beyond learning, anyway.

Fortunately, MeatballWiki is not the entire universe. There are plenty of other examples in the world to demonstrate what a culture of PenNames becomes, and there is certainly plenty of opportunity to demonstrate one that functions much in the way MeatballWiki does. There is no necessity for MeatballWiki to be all things, or to try all things. In fact, that would be impossible. It is possible for others to pursue contrary models, and we encourage them to do so. All of us then learn from each other.

Notice that both would be forcing consensus. On one hand, we need unanimous consent to create any "rule". On the other, we conform to some sort of mythological normative culture and thus are forced into consensus with the mainstream. We do not ForceConsensus?; that is a very bad strategy.

This is not to say you can't govern by unanimous consent. Just that sometimes folks must compromise and consent to something that is other than the way they would do things if they were in charge.

Yes, that goal can be changed, but that would mean those who are already meatballers would be the ones to change it.

If anyone could walk in any change that goal at will, it wouldn't be possible to have a UseRealNames community, or indeed any community with any norms not universally agreed upon by all humans. Which doesn't seem optimal.

-- BayleShanks

which is why, I guess, it's nice that there is this nebulous middle ground of not-quite-anonymous, only-somewhat-pseudonymous, identity method.

well, as you've noticed, some people like me can't really keep the various anonymous IPs/handles/people straight so to me you are almost truly anonymous.


When one is engaged in a debate hinging over conflicting value systems, labelling one perspective as "emotional" and claiming another represents "lots of thinking" charactures the nature of the discussion. It's an elaboration of "am not"/"are too".

As for individualism, it is clear that several Meatballers are ego-invested in the UseRealNames meme. It is clear that dissention about what could be HealthyConflict is suppressed here, the message is "submit, and then discuss". The act of submission, though, also concedes the point. So, it comes down to, basically "agree, or leave". Hence the conflict is suppressed, rather than resolved. No synthesis ensues.

Ironically, I just wrote about that paradox on OutcastNewcomer. I agree with you that it's potentially bad, but it's also not sufficient to just accept anyone. Extreme liberalism is like forcing consensus, a totally failed concept.

Since no organization is completely egalitarian, unless you prevent people from communicating altogether, you have to accept that there will be power imbalances. Fortunately, there are many middle grounds between totalitarianism and pigeon holing, like FairProcess. I don't hear anyone proposing anything better than our middle ground, which is permitting anonymous users to post in the first place.

It could also go the other way. For instance, we could adopt WhyClublet's luncheon policy, where you have to meet someone face to face to join. If you want, we could do the same here as well. It can always go another direction. The challenge is to find something reasonable.

>> several Meatballers are ego-invested in the UseRealNames meme

Yes, I am. I am proud to sign my messages with my real name, and now that I've decided where I stand on this issue I am happy to promote UseRealNames. What's more I get a nice part-of-a-community feeling because I feel like supporting UseRealNames is protecting something that is cool about MeatBall.

(and you will too once you start using your real name.. join usss.. join usss..)

Heh. The whole point about mentioning ego investment was Sunir's claim that individualism damned psuedonymity. There are additional problems with Sunir's claim, but it's nice of you to offer such a fine example of how UseRealNames fosters its own focus on individualism.

Well, I'm glad you found it useful, I guess. Are you against individualism yourself, or are you trying to refute Sunir's UseRealNamesGauntlet? argument by showing that using real names may even promote individualism, or do you mean something else? The reason I like UseRealNames is different from that UseRealNamesGauntlet?; it's more that "Meatball lives in MeatSpace, but is accessed through the Internet", although I didn't know how to express that until Sunir said it. -- BayleShanks

Mostly I was just pointing out how common cause makes strange bedfellows--you and Sunir agree on UseRealNames, but for vastly different reasons (anti-individualistic and pro-individualistic). In my eyes, that detracts from the case for UseRealNames. For my own part, I favor serial pseudonymity to the extent that it helps people track those who would otherwise be effectively anonymous (ie, for those who don't have the time/energy to follow the AuditTrail of IPs in RecentChanges). My support for serial pseudonymity comes from the recognition that a tag--even an "unreal" one turns a PrisonersDilemma into an IteratedPrisonersDilemma, with a concomittant win for the community, since cooperation becomes the winning strategy, rather than defection.

Why does there have to be one reason? There could be many reasons, even some contradictory. (a la Zen) That only makes it a stronger case.

>> It is clear that dissention about what could be HealthyConflict is suppressed here, the message is "submit, and then discuss". The act of submission, though, also concedes the point.

What's wrong with submit, then discuss? It's not like you're a political minority being denied the right to vote. There is no catch-22 here. You do not lose the chance to ever disagree by giving in once.

See above comments re Catch-22

>> The act of submission, though, also concedes the point.

Well, no, it doesn't concede the point, although we would all know what your real name was. But you could still argue against real names. It's not like we'd be able to say, "Oh, you don't really mean that, because you just told us your real name!". You wouldn't be giving up any rhetorical ground.

-- BayleShanks


"...people hiding behind pseudonyms..." -- SunirShah

PracticalObscurity isn't "hiding". An incendiary villification of what in the MeatSpace so adored by the UseRealNames proponents is common and non-problematic. I'm comfortable saying what I'm saying, as I'm sure other's in UseRealNamesCases are.

Obscuration is hiding. Dictionary:obscure

Reserving a piece of information is not the same thing as obscuring it *or* hiding it. I'm not hiding or obscuring my SSN here, I'm just not going the extra step of offering it.


This whole issue seems rather irrelevant. It's just like stores that have a posted policy against the carrying of concealed weapons. The whole point is that they are concealed. If a user gives a name that looks like a RealName, then how can anyone tell?

The issue seems to be one of ego: yes, it's trivial to hide behind a realistic false name; as you say, it's impossible to tell. However this doesn't satisfy some who require the whole community here to adapt to their preference for using, say, an absurd monicker taken from a comic book. They don't wish to use their RealName, but their ego demands recognition. The practical difference between being recognized as "JohnSmith" and as being recognized as "LordOfDarkness" is none, but the latter seems to be more gratifying to ego-focused individuals. Plus, these individuals often have baggage from elsewhere on the internet where they use the same nickname, and are desperate to stay associated with it - a form of virtual empire-building, perhaps. -- EarleMartin

Publicly accessable wireless networks solve the IP tracing question, too.

And many other technologies. It's a RedHerring? for the real issue.


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