Caterina makes a really good point about the need for pseudonyms, pointing out that there are many innocent needs for them. Not everyone using a pseudonym is troll, and indeed, for many it's essential protection.

She says one thing that I take issue with: "“Real identities” have real benefits to users — creating communities of trust, silencing trolls, people standing by their words."

I'd like to see the evidence that using real names changes people's behaviour that much. Whenever I've been trolled/stalked online, it's been by people using their real name. Dicks will, sadly, be dicks whether pseudonymously or eponymously. Whenever I bring this point up, people always point to 4Chan as an example of the sort of negative place that springs up when people are pseudonymous or anonymous. But 4Chan is a small corner of the web, and they are vastly outnumbered by all the pseudonymous people elsewhere that act perfectly nicely.

The 'anonymity/pseudonymity = trollish behaviour' meme has been doing the rounds for years, but it's just not that simple. And it's especially not that simple when the easy way to get round it is to use a pseudonym that looks 'normal' to Western eyes. If I started a profile under some random name, say Sharon Glass, who would pick it up? What algorithm would be able to spot it?

I also think that Bradley Horowitz's response [1], doesn't go far enough. He says:

Third, we’ve noticed that some people are using their profile name to show-off nicknames, maiden names and personal descriptions. While the profile name doesn’t accommodate this, we want to support your friends finding you by these alternate names and give you a prominent way of displaying this info in Google+. Here are two features in particular that facilitate this kind of self-expression:
- If you add nicknames, maiden names, etc. to the "Other names" portion of your G+ profile, those with permission to view those fields can search for you using that term. For example: some of my colleagues call me "elatable," a pseudonym I’ve used on many services, so I've added it to my list of other names.

This doesn't solve the basic problem that people want to use their pseudonym as their main identity, not to have to tack it on to their given name identity. The bottom line is this:

1. Users should be allowed to use whatever name they wish.
2. Bad behaviour should be dealt with when it occurs.

Because at the end of the day, you simply cannot say that you can predict someone's future behaviour based on whether their name looks roughly normal or not.

[1] https://plus.google.com/u/0/113116318008017777871/posts/VJoZMS8zVqU
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