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Adele Shakal originally shared:
 
I'm seeing various discussions happening around G+ and in the tech blogosphere of why women might be less inclined to dive wholeheartedly into using new social networking tools. The following offers some insight, and I recommend it. Thanks, Mary.

http://geekfeminism.org/2011/07/08/social-networking-requirements/
Social networking requirements. 2011 July 8. tags: facebook, Google, livejournal, social networking, social software. by Mary. I knew that someone posted on this blog discussing what requirements a fe...
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16 comments
 
It offers valuable insight indeed, and I agree with most arguments. However, on the internet, just like in Real Life, you need to be genuine and truthful, in order to be taken seriously. A cat as your picture, a fake name or "undefined" as sex, won't contribute to this. You are who you are, role-playing is not appreciated.
 
+Eric Prenen In my personal opinion, pseudonymity is not necessarily anti-correlated with being 'genuine' or 'truthful'. And determining what is a 'pseudonym' vs. a 'name someone hasn't yet legally changed to' or 'a nickname' is a Hard Problem that can't be solved with 100% accuracy without a background check. There are many valid reasons people have for using pseudonyms - for instance, victims of domestic violence who want to be less discoverable by abusers, people that don't want to be judged on basis of race or religion, people that want support about being LGBT without being outed to their colleagues/family, etc.

For instance, every time I post as 'Liz Fong', I'm also providing the information that I'm female and that I'm Chinese. Whenever someone whose last name is Mohammed posts, people will make judgments about their religion.
 
A cat as one's picture sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Saves time being judged as "babe", "ugly", "bet everyone says she has character", "milf" and things that don't contribute to being taken seriously.
 
+Bridget Spitznagel anyone who would determine how seriously to take someone based on such a judgement isn't worth talking to anyway, IMHO.
 
+Eric Prenen Thank you. If my lack of a photo and an explicit gender means you won't take me seriously, then presumably you won't try to interact with me. I'm delighted, since attitudes like that mark you as someone who's never considered what life might be like for people not basically like you.

Of course, you could be arguing that your opinion ought to be made universal, by forcing everyone to participate in the way you think is mandatory to be "taken seriously". In that case, I politely suggest you grow up and accept that not everyone wants the same online/Google+ experience you do, and that's just fine.
 
I agree. Yet they will for some reason insist on talking to one (then one wastes time reading / ignoring it.)
 
New or existing social net tools? I've not seen women shy away from Twitter!
 
". A cat as your picture, a fake name or "undefined" as sex, won't contribute to this. "

Er, what? One of my closest friends is better known by her pseudonym, has a rabbit as her icon, and is doing just fine, thanks; we met because of her online reputation.

There are a lot of different online communities. Don't assume that the customs of your community are universal. Wikipedia has been functioning successfully as a pseudonym-only space for a very long time. People's reputations are based on their community contribution, not on their real names.

I refer you to this post of mine for an example of what can happen when you make your sex guessable online. See also World of Warcraft, which had an uproar when people insisted on de-anonymizing the forums, precisely because women feared being stalked.

https://plus.google.com/104600580124930283388/posts/YxRNw9XitY2
 
Ravelry is a good example of pseudonym social as are all pregnancy forums I've ever seen... one might (wrongly) claim that men are Doing It Wrong (actually I believe moderation is key.)
 
Mumsnet, now a powerful political force in the U.K., is another.
 
People can and often are complete assholes under their legal names. It's what people write and how they write it that is persuasive. Liars under what looks like a real name often get outed, also.
 
::points at Lisa:: Is Lisa less persuasive because that's not her real picture in the icon?
 
It's not? I always did want to sing Bruennhilde.
 
Like Miss Manners, I had all the qualifications to be an opera diva except the voice. (BTW, scaled-down I've always thought that photo read as Minnie Bruennhilde.)
 
+Eric Prenen : if given the choice between trusting something said online by "Amina Arraf" or something posted by "Gharlane of Eddore", take the latter one.

("Amina" was, of course, the "Syrian lesbian blogger" who turned out to be a white guy in Edinburgh; "Gharlane" was one of the best people ever to post on rec.arts.sf-lovers back in the great days of USENET. Both of them have entries on Wikipedia if you want more information.)

Pseudonyms are not the problem; bad behavior is the problem. Requiring "real names" just results in pseudonyms that look "real" (like "Amina") rather than ones that are memorable and can accumulate sterling reputations with others (like "Gharlane").

Or, to update the old New Yorker cartoon: "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog...but everybody knows if you're an ass."
 
A mere +1 is not enough to agree with Randall Munroe here. Drawing that line between personal/private is hard, and circumstances change. You might not realize what line you should have drawn until it is too late. Example: sudden and rapid internet fame. Or my example: forced gradual merging of a 20-year-old net identity with my real name.

I can't go back and truly change what I made public over the years, even though I can attempt to redraw the line. There's a difference between telling something to your closest friends and an uncaring public, and telling it to acquaintances and a public that is suddenly paying attention and willing to quote you as a news source.
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