+Vic Gundotra +Alexandre Enkerli +Todd Wright +Frances Haugen
I have reasons for being Xenophrenia online. I've been this name online since 1999 ... the policy blog specifies that there ARE legitimate reasons for people to use pseudonyms and state that they are okay with that. I have noticed a vast majority of those who disapprove of this happen to be male. Interesting. I want to keep my life in the 'real world' separate from my online world. I divulge my identity to those I feel comfortable doing so and shouldn't be forced - in a free country (supposedly) to do otherwise.
From the Google Public Policy Blog ... The freedom to be who you want to be… http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2011/02/freedom-to-be-who-you-want-to-be.html
Xenophrenia is my identity. I have a serious reasons why I use it. Those that think they know what's best for me apparently don't. People use these things because of life threatening situations - and while we are not that far here in the US - there are still those who have personal threats of life threatening nature that induce them to use pseudonyms. We have also seen unprecedented overreaches of 1st, 4th, and 5th Amendment rights by our government of late that make me wonder if having my real name 'known' publicly is a good idea ...
Since I value my use of this name - I behave in ways that honor it. I am not a troll so why should
I automatically be treated as one because I choose anonymity? If my anonymity bothers you don't talk to me - don't follow me. Ask yourself how my being anonymous harms you. Does it? Or does it just bug you, annoy you because many people just don't like secrets and think they are the ones who should have their wants override everyone else's possible need.
Let's add to this that by forcing people's names to be public - for example - you are forcing them to live their lives in accordance to those that may at some future date employ them. Because - we are being told that we should scrub our profiles to be 'acceptable' to some future individuals morality code. Seriously? They own you do they? This is a serious problem. We seem to think it's perfectly okay for peoples lives to be determined by people they haven't even met yet. And if you say that then one shouldn't work for such employers, you do not understand the lack of choice for a great deal of people in the world.
Yes - we should live in a world that people don't have to hide ... but guess what? We don't. Not even close. Just think - your credit card company may be evaluating your credit worthiness based on your online record ... ;-) ... nice cozy thought isn't it. Then the argument goes - don't post bad stuff online. Curb your freedom of speech because it may upset those that hold the purse strings ..... a very handy way of shutting people up - don't you think? Until I know that my ability to 'be who I am' can be associated with my real identity without my future ability to live being in jeopardy I'll be more than happy to do so ... until then - I'm Xenophrenia - everywhere. I've even been so within the Googleverse forever ...
Forcing real identities can be a very subtle way of forcing conformity - like censoring 'bad words' in the instant search because ... you know .... some people 'might' be offended (heaven forbid) and so I have no choice in what I want to see and are subtly being guided to 'appropriate' behavior determined by someone you may or may not agree with. We need to think long and hard about our rabid adoption of forcing people to be who we want them to be ... if you think people can't set up real sounding names in a profile and post a fake picture if they want to do nefarious things ... you are very naive.
And before I get a whole slew of responses regarding the fact that I am not truly anonymous online - I know this ... I'm smart enough to know how the internet works ... but thanks for the thought. Being anonymous doesn't automatically make someone a bad person - unfortunately - those in positions of privilege don't like the possibility of those under them having ways of circumventing their reach. Any account can be flagged if they do something - there is no generic anonymous account setting ... so all accounts are 'traceable'. There is no real valid reason for not allowing pseudonyms - other than it bothering people who don't like 'secrets' as though they have a right to know anything about me.
Please consider some of these ideas before deciding you know how others should behave online or that you know what's best for them ... choice - we should all have it - despite others who 'don't like it' ...
Here are a couple of links to articles regarding reasons why women may not want their gender known or why and how having a real name doesn't mean someone won't be a dick.
Female-Name Chat Users Get 25 Times More Malicious Messages -http://www.physorg.com/news66401288.html
The Pratfall of Penny Arcade - A Timeline - http://debacle.tumblr.com/post/3041940865/the-pratfall-of-penny-arcade-a-timeline
A woman walks into a rape, uh, bar - http://fugitivus.wordpress.com/2009/06/24/a-woman-walks-into-a-rape-uh-bar/