The Forge Archives

General Forge Forums => Site Discussion => Topic started by: Jake Norwood on December 18, 2002, 04:39:45 PM



Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Jake Norwood on December 18, 2002, 04:39:45 PM
One of the things that really attracted me to the "adultness" of the forge was the use of "real names." Now, there was a firey thread on RPG.net a while back as to why not to use real names, and this isn't that thread.

What I guess I mean is that I really *like* talking to people and knowing their real names (or at least something that I think is their real name). It's only a little better when they sign with the real name and the handle, though, because then I have to memorize both...which is a hassle.

What it comes down to is that I'd like to see more folks use their real names around there, and I think that more would if they saw that (once) it was pretty well encouraged around here. I think that got lost wit the huge membership boost over the last 8 months.

Anyway, it's not a criticism at all, but rather something that I'd like to see, and I'd like to know if there are others who are with me and those that would consider re-tooling their handles for the "community."

Jake


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 18, 2002, 04:46:36 PM
Hi Jake,

This is a big issue for me. I highly, highly encourage everyone to consider using their real names as usernames, for tons of reasons. Here are the main two.

1) It helps folks to present what they really think and feel rather than to pose as an on-line persona.

2) It helps them to feel "heard" when a person responds to them using their own name.

All of the above are tendencies, not guarantees. Several long-time Forge members have been exemplary while using a username (but they always sign-off with their real name). But every little bit helps.

Christopher had a neat tag-line for a while in his posts: "Adult, human names: they prove you're adult and human." I seem to recall a slightly higher proportion of people signing on or switching to their names as usernames while he had that going, although that might not reflect reality so much as my hopes.

A lot of people have switched to their real names over time, which I greatly, greatly appreciate. If anyone would like to, contact Clinton, and he can change it for you real quick.

Best,
Ron


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Jeffrey Miller on December 18, 2002, 04:50:03 PM
What, naming myself "D@rk_L0rd_$7@y3r" isn't adult? ;)

Actually, FTR, "Eogan" is one of the three middle names my parents saddled me with.  It helped as a child to determine between when my mom was just being loud or I was REALLY in trouble..

-jeffrey "middle initial?  what's that?" miller-


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Matt Wilson on December 18, 2002, 04:52:53 PM
Quote
A lot of people have switched to their real names over time, which I greatly, greatly appreciate. If anyone would like to, contact Clinton, and he can change it for you real quick.


Ah. Thanks for posting that. I actually tried doing it myself once, but it didn't work.

-Matt (whose username is pretty close)


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Sidhain on December 18, 2002, 04:58:53 PM
Funny enough the only place I don't use this handle--which comes from one of my games, and has been part of my e-mail for many years now, is RPGNET (because I've written reviews, and don't want to be considered to be "hiding" when I write reviews--since when I started that was an issue ), on the other hand most I've spoken with online know me as Sidhain, and switching to my real name would leave some confused.

It's not more adult, nor more honest, because after all I /could/ make up a fake "real name"  and hide behind it, anyone could--now it makes it much harder to discuss games that way.


My opinions are mine, they would be the same whether I used my real name, or I used the handle I've had for years. I stand behind them as things I said/wrote, whether I still believe them or not may be an issue.


It's easy enough to find my real name, heck its easy if its important--just ask.


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 18, 2002, 06:12:10 PM
Hi there,

One thing I've tried to emphasize, over the months, is that anyone is free to employ whatever username they prefer. Sidhain's right - over time, it's the behavior that matters most.

However, structurally, looking over the diversity of persons rather than at any one person, the trend is clear to me: real names result in a higher degree of real interactions (as opposed to posturing). That's why I encourage using real names.

But! If anyone prefers not to, that is OK too. It's pretty hard to get people to understand that encouraging behavior X does not mean that, for anyone and everyone, behavior Y is "wrong." There is no need to defend one's choice.

Best,
Ron


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Seth L. Blumberg on December 18, 2002, 06:57:53 PM
Sidhain: observe my signature for one answer to your problem.


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Eric J. on December 18, 2002, 07:05:40 PM
Hey Ron,

Your points are valid but I would dissagree with your last post on the matter that

Quote
However, structurally, looking over the diversity of persons rather than at any one person, the trend is clear to me: real names result in a higher degree of real interactions (as opposed to posturing).


I'm not one to dissagree with you, but I would rather have this stated as something along the lines of:  The use of real names often coincides with mature behavior.  

This is because I think that in all probability it's the people's behavior of using a real name indicates their maturity, rather than it's use affects how maturelley interact.  

While real names are probably better for a community such as this, overall; I would dare to say that it's not as big a problem as many would think.


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 18, 2002, 07:15:50 PM
Hi Eric,

Good point. Correlation ain't causation, that's for sure.

So my (and Jake's) preference might be sympathetic magic, or it might be a valid causal policy, or it might be hoo-wa. Who knows.

Best,
Ron


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: xiombarg on December 18, 2002, 09:33:05 PM
Well, frankly, I feel more comfortable not using my real name. I picked up the nickname Loki in college -- some of most mature moments of my life have been with people who called me that exclusively. Perhaps it's because I've always been closer to my friends than my family, which calls me by my birth name. (Plus, I get tired of the fact that no one remembers my birth name correctly -- it's Kirt, not Kirk, and there's no extra "E" in Dankmyer, thank you.)

And this username? I've been using it online for over a decade now. I respond to it as my own name.

But I do like the fact that we encourage people to reveal their real names. It adds a level  of accountability -- no one is hiding behind an anonymous handle. That's why my real name is in my signature.

But I'm afriad Jake is going to have to deal with the annoyance of memorizing my handle and my real name. Of course, to me, Xiombarg IS my real name, at least as much as my legal name.


Title: Really?
Post by: Le Joueur on December 19, 2002, 06:21:38 AM
I don't use my real name as my handle because then people tend to think I'm using a pseudonym without cause in all cases.  I really do share Phyllis Diller's husband's name.

Fang Langford


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: ethan_greer on December 19, 2002, 06:34:50 AM
The only problem (and I use the word hesitantly, since it's a really minor complaint) I have with the "real name vs. handle" issue on these boards is this:

If a person prefers to use a handle, that decision should be abided by.  For example, Ron's addressing of Pyron as Eric in the above post is confusing, and mildly counter to a public discussion, since not everyone knows that Pyron's real name is Eric.  (Not that I'm singling Ron out - he's just a convenient example in the context of this thread.)

Again, it's not a big deal.  But I thought I should mention it as food for thought.


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: xiombarg on December 19, 2002, 06:47:27 AM
Quote from: silkworm
If a person prefers to use a handle, that decision should be abided by.  For example, Ron's addressing of Pyron as Eric in the above post is confusing, and mildly counter to a public discussion, since not everyone knows that Pyron's real name is Eric.  (Not that I'm singling Ron out - he's just a convenient example in the context of this thread.)
I dunno -- Ron always does that, and it's usually clear from context who he's referring to. I've never had a problem with it, tho obviously YMMV.


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: contracycle on December 19, 2002, 07:12:02 AM
I agree with silkworm.  If someone has selected a nom de net, as it were, I think it is only polite to respond to them by using their chosen identity.  I was actually rather irked by that signature line; I thought it was rather patronising to all the people who have used pseudonyms for a variety of reasons.


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: wyrdlyng on December 19, 2002, 08:45:47 AM
I think the preference of being refered to by your real name or pseudonym tends to be a fairly personal one. Many people use a "handle" but include their real names in their sigs (or vise-versa) so I don't think it's so much of an issue for them. (Myself included.)

Of course, if I'm putting words in anyone's mouth please correct me. I'm just operating under the presumption that if you included your real name somewhere you wouldn't mind being called it.


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: xiombarg on December 19, 2002, 08:57:01 AM
Quote from: wyrdlyng
Of course, if I'm putting words in anyone's mouth please correct me. I'm just operating under the presumption that if you included your real name somewhere you wouldn't mind being called it.
True for me. Dunno about anyone else. So go ahead and put words in my mouth. :)


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: M. J. Young on December 19, 2002, 11:29:37 AM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
However, structurally, looking over the diversity of persons rather than at any one person, the trend is clear to me: real names result in a higher degree of real interactions (as opposed to posturing). That's why I encourage using real names.

While I agree with Eric J. that this is correlation, not necessarily causation, I think it's a rather more complex matter.

I've always used my real name in large part because I'm something of a public figure in role playing. I write a lot of articles for many different sites in addition to being a published game designer. Hiding who I am has no benefit in that regard. John Wick, Ron Edwards, Gareth-Michael Skarka--people who publish games and articles all tend to post under their real names, so they can be identified.

This is certainly publicity for our work, at some level. At least every once in a while someone reads one of my posts, decides I know what I'm talking about, and takes a look at my game.

It also has to be said that those of us who fall into that category are a priori more serious about games and gaming (on average) than those who don't design games (on average), and so we skew the results to some degree.

It is also the case that because everyone knows that this is me, I have to bite my figurative tongue sometimes--I can't say that someone is a jerk or an idiot, or engage in flaming or name calling, without that reflecting on me. It doesn't often happen (I'm not that sort of person, really), but a couple of times when I've been hot under the collar I've had to cool off a bit before posting--or skip a thread entirely--because it's my real name up there, and it reflects on me.

I think that there is a tendency for more mature and thoughtful posters to use their real names; there are exceptions, and there are reasons for not doing so. I have never found Epoch or Sidhain to be anything other than intelligent and civil on any list or board; I can never remember their real names, but I know who they are. There is also a tendency for real-name posting to encourage a bit more care in what you say.

I know that a lot of kids use handles, in part because of the genuine concern that the Internet might be used as a way of finding vulnerable people. Some people use handles because they're shy and don't want to open themselves to others so readily. Some just want to test the waters under an assumed name before moving forward. For some, it's just tradition--when I first got my Quantum Link account, "Mark Young" was not a supported name (too many characters); many people who have been on computers as long or longer picked up screen names at a time when full names were not supported, and have over many years developed an online identity associated with that name. These are all good reasons to use a handle (there may be others).

Personally, I don't like screen names. I feel a bit silly trying to pretend that Cyborg7 or VirginElfMaid is a normal intelligent human being. But I manage. Still, if I know your real name, I'll probably use it--even though I probably won't remember it if it's not on the screen next time.

--M. J. Young


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: quozl on December 19, 2002, 11:41:39 AM
Quote from: M. J. Young
For some, it's just tradition--when I first got my Quantum Link account, "Mark Young" was not a supported name (too many characters); many people who have been on computers as long or longer picked up screen names at a time when full names were not supported, and have over many years developed an online identity associated with that name. These are all good reasons to use a handle (there may be others).

--M. J. Young


Just curious: how many characters can screen names have here at The Forge?  My real name would require 15 characters, for example.


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Seth L. Blumberg on December 19, 2002, 12:47:41 PM
I'm guessing that Ron responds to pseudonymous posters using their real names (where he can) because he wants to exert a gentle pressure on people to use their real names.

I do it because Ron does it.

I'm thinking of adding something like "Please note that it is customary, though not required, to use your real name as your handle here. You can change your handle by sending a private message to the sysop, Clinton R. Nixon (and yes, that's his real name)" to my canned "Welcome to the Forge!" speech.


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Christopher Kubasik on December 19, 2002, 01:35:48 PM
Hi,

Part of my response to the handles is simply this: I just don't get them.

I appreciate people might have their reasons (as contracycle suggests).  But no one has ever made clear to me whatever they might be.

In part, this is because I've never really been part of the internet culture outside of a few select sites.

So, I'm looking at a list of handles somewhat as an outsider.

Now, I'm the one who sigged "Adult, human names.  They prove you're adult an human."  But the truth is, when I looke at a site with a string of handles of the last posters down the right side of the screen, I have this this weird "What sort of freakish collection of folks have I wandered into."  Not because I think these peole are freakish, but because of that first reaction on seeing it: it makes no sense to me.

I remember some many months ago logging on one morning and seeing a list of adult human names running down the right side of the screen and I have to admit, it gladdened my heart.  Without any intellectualizing of the moment at all, I was just thrilled.  It seemed a wonderful snapshot of the difference in nature between the nature of the Forge and so many other web sites.  That's when I started the sig.

I'm sure there are reasons for using handles.  And I have no idea about maturity or whatnot.  I do know we've all got names we use in life, that we meet strangers with, employers with, people we want to date with, and for the life of me I can't figure out why we would want introduce ourselves with names that we'd never use outside of the internet.  If we don't behave differently here than elsewhere, why not identify ourselves as we do elsewhere?

Which brings me to the sig.  In real life, we're all human and we're either adults or on the way to becoming them.  It wasn't an insult. It's litterly true.  "Quzzbk" is in fact not a name used by human adults in the world of human adult interaction.  "John" is.  I'm baffled why someone would not want to simply use an adult human name.

Christopher


Title: Just Because
Post by: Le Joueur on December 19, 2002, 01:51:12 PM
Quote from: Christopher Kubasik
Which brings me to the sig.  In real life, we're all human and we're either adults or on the way to becoming them.  It wasn't an insult. It's litterly true.  "Quzzbk" is in fact not a name used by human adults in the world of human adult interaction.  "John" is.  I'm baffled why someone would not want to simply use an adult human name.

Well, could it be because some of us don't have "adult human names?"  My whole appelation is 'Ajmir Einstein Fang Langford.'  Do you know what people do when they see it?  They get this helpless look; I pronounce it for them and assure them that my friends call me Fang.  (Unless I do something stupid, then they call me Einstein.)  In business, I go by my initials, AL; I never liked that name, but it calms bosses.  When you see the Le Joueur, if you know French, you know I'm a gamer.  If not, there's no doubt in your mind that it's a handle; if I used Fang, you would probably assume the same, but then you'd be wrong.

This is simpler.

Fang Langford

p. s. I have no intention of growing up and you can't make me.  I still play games and have lots of toys (I even let my kids play with them), but I'm never gonna be a grown-up; adult or otherwise.  It's not worth the loss of wonder.


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on December 19, 2002, 02:07:49 PM
I personally switched to my real name as part of what Harlan Ellison had once referred to a "lemming-like need to be up front." In my case, I think it was because RPGnet had just gotten their shiny new forum software and I signed up, for no better reason than I just felt like it, under my real name. I then requested my name change, and it worked fine. I think the main reason why is I had just gotten sick of playing the handle game. It can be fun to think of clever handles and all of that, but at the end of the day, that gets tiresome really, really fast. I think I have usernames and password on various sites long since forgotten except for the Spam it still generates. My recommendation, find a handle you can live with and stick with it. And since you have to remember it anyway, why not use your real name? It just saves time.


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Blake Hutchins on December 19, 2002, 03:09:26 PM
I don't give a rip what people use as identifiers.  Back when I stumbled onto this-ish group at Gaming Outpost, I signed on as "Hexabolic," a handle I pulled out of my ass and used purely because I work in the computer game industry, where handles are de rigeur.   After I'd been on GO awhile, I changed to my RL with some relief, because although I've grown accustomed to being "Hex" on the CG fan boards, I prefer to be known/lauded/vilified by (tah-dah) my own name.  That name is where I place my identity, whereas "Hexabolic" is a nick that applies in very narrow circumstances.

I'm not going to sweat the maturity angle.  Few people here keep their real names completely hidden, so I don't see anonymity as an issue on the Forge.  My guess is that some folks simply like to make a statement with their handles, and they have grown to identify with familiar nicks, and that's fine by me.  Kirt, for example, may be signaling he's a Moorcock fan, an association I can dig.  Gareth may like the Marxist and revolutionary, anti-millgrind connotations that (I think) are implied by "contracycle."  "Mike Holmes" clearly identifies with that absurd handle for some obscure reason, so why not let him keep it?  

If someone is irritated at my use of his or her real name, I have no prob using the handle.  On the one hand, it's cool to see the RL names, since it bucks the trend, and we get a bit of a read on nationality and a pretty good read on gender, FWIW.  I like collecting mental lint; it's fun.  Moreover, I admit I get a clearer mental picture of the person who uses a RL name.  On the other flipper, I enjoy the hell out of creative or humorous handles.  That's fun, too.

Best,

Hexabolic, proud father of Baby Hex


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Christopher Kubasik on December 19, 2002, 03:12:04 PM
Hi Fang,

Well, actually, if your name is Fang and you tell me your name is Fang, I'll know your name is Fang and that's what I'll call you.  If you've got a nickname you like better, great.  I never meant to imply "normal" adult human names.  I meant, and stated I believe, the actual names we use in adult human interaction.  

I can't speak for how other people respond to your name.  Nor can I speak for how other people might assume Fang is a handle.  It wouldn't be.  From your post I couldn't actually make out what the people you spend time with that you like call you, but my guess is it isn't Le Joueur.  Which is the point my point rested on.

Take care,
Christopher


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Mike Holmes on December 19, 2002, 03:56:40 PM
Quote from: Blake Hutchins
"Mike Holmes" clearly identifies with that absurd handle for some obscure reason, so why not let him keep it?  

And nobody can make me change, damnital!

Um, I think we are going to have to construct a straw man to argue against on this one. As others have pointed out, the majority of people actually either use their actual names, or make clear in sigs or whatever, what their actual names are. Even amongst those few people who do use nicknames solely, it seems that their names are actuallly known to most of the frequoent posters.  So I think it's mostly a fait acompli.

That said, there are a few legitimate reasons to maintain nicknames, IMO. One is identity theft. That is, if you were a target once, I assume that it's traumatic enough to consider hiding your identity in a general manner. Similarly people who have been, or fear being, stalked may also have legitimate reasons. I certainly think that anyone who has privacy issues should feel free to protect thiers in any way they see fit.

That said, I think it's a trade off. The more annonymous you are, the less open communications between you and others may be. May be. Not necessarily. But it works both ways, and as such I thnk individuals should carefully consider their decision on whether or not to reveal one's identity, and it's ramifications.

But again, I think that for the most part the posters here have made that decision, and made it well I think. As such, I have no problem with the status quo, personally.

Mike[/i]


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Sidhain on December 19, 2002, 04:24:23 PM
Quote from: Christopher Kubasik
Hi Fang,
I never meant to imply "normal" adult human names.  I meant, and stated I believe, the actual names we use in adult human interaction.  
Christopher


Well, I often have online chats with adult humans--I use my nickname on ICQ and AIM, therefore by that logic, I am using my actual name even if it is not my given name.

Which humorously can be  translated into "Honor of God who Dwells Near a Chuch" or with a bit of shifting "The Church of Honor of God" (aka Tim Kirk) but its the same me regardless.


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Christopher Kubasik on December 19, 2002, 04:43:36 PM
Oh, Jeez-Louise.  Yes.  And if I should choose to wear a purple dinosaur suit in all my interactions with other people, yes, in this bit of sophistry, it's an adult human interaction.  But, please.  Don't.


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: wyrdlyng on December 19, 2002, 04:44:06 PM
Well, I took up my handle back in '91 when I first started on the Internet. It was my MUSH name on OmegaMOO (for those who recall it). Since then I've kept it because trying to get alex.hunter, alex or hunter as a username is freakin hard on most ISPs or registrations. Therefore I have always been wyrdlyng@xxx.xxx. There's not many wyrdlyngs with my spelling anyway.

In truth, the only place I have a username other than wyrdlyng is at my alternate email address (alex@wyrd-ideas.com) and that's because it's my domain.

Once I get my own mail server running I'll change over. :)


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Sidhain on December 19, 2002, 04:51:10 PM
Quote from: Christopher Kubasik
Oh, Jeez-Louise.  Yes.  And if I should choose to wear a purple dinosaur suit in all my interactions with other people, yes, in this bit of sophistry, it's an adult human interaction.  But, please.  Don't.


Well why not? I mean, if your having fun and not hurting anyone, none of us will mind if you like wearing purple dinosaur costume :) (that's humor btw.)


As I believe as attributed to CS Lewis

 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things including the fear of being seen as childish.


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: greyorm on December 19, 2002, 05:44:29 PM
When I first signed up for my Forge account, the "use your real name" thing wasn't obvious or vocalized -- but of course, this is when the Forge first started up (I'm what...number 22?). True to tradition, I filled in "username" with the usual handle I use.

At the time I also didn't realize the chosen username would post to identify me on the left-hand column of anything I wrote -- that is, I thought it was a username for the sole purpose of logging in -- or I may have chosen "the GreyOrm" instead of "greyorm" or "Raven Daegmorgan." I was also too lazy to bother Clinton with changing it once I realized.

But, regardless of that, I've always signed my posts with my name -- yes, not my real name, but go to a Con and ask for me by my real name and people won't know who you're asking about, ask for Raven and everyone will point at me (or maybe Raven Mimura, if he's there!).

Also, while I agree with Gareth about people having reasons -- sometimes good ones -- for using handles, and in fact vociferously defended their use in a debate on Usenet a few years ago, I'm in the camp that people should use their real names unless they have a good reason not to (like having a stalker that keeps tracking them down...true story that happened to another Forge member!) because it does have a psychological effect on a person's social interactions, whether one realizes it or not.

I've found giving yourself a psuedonym gives you a screen, whether you realize it or not, between yourself and what you're saying. You tend to act out and say anything you wish, and don't tend to watch what you say as carefully.

Mostly, with that handle in there you don't utilize those important social filters we learn to put in place; and if you're around a host of others who don't use their real names, but handles, you have even more of a tendency to forget they're human when you post and treat them like unfeeling non-entities.

Used to be, back in the days of Usenet and mailing lists, I posted using my handle as indentifier. So the above is also a direct summary of my personal experiences...meaning, what I notice between myself using a handle and myself using my name.

When I started using my actual name to post, I started behaving better and acting like less of an ass in discussions. As well, when I tacked that "Reverend" on there, I realized I had better start acting more like it and be a little more cool-headed. This, I think, is the key.

When you use your actual name, you suddenly have the social factor of what you're saying being directly tied to you, the person, because nearly everyone identifies themselves with their name. Not so many do so with their handles, and certainly not to the same extent, because their handle isn't them...it can't write a check, get a cell phone, pay taxes or have a police record.

This is, in fact, the same reason you can role-play: different name, different person. You do things and act in ways you, yourself, never would or could as a character.

Take this further, into taking a different name in real-life, into actual REAL social interactions and you see how being someone else lets you get away with things you yourself would never do or say -- not all of those things necessarily good, either.


Title: Not Childish, but Childlike
Post by: Le Joueur on December 19, 2002, 05:49:56 PM
Quote from: Sidhain
Quote from: As I believe CS Lewis
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things including the fear of being seen as childish.


Not I.

I remain young in all eyes.  When young, I noted people who felt they were 'too old for that' were called 'grown-ups.'  Like the Pippy Longstockings of the live-action film of my youth, I chose to never grow up.  In daily life, I play the chivalrous knight and all respect my honor, consistency, and integrity.  I never fail to stop and play every chance I get; I see no reason to "put away childish things."  Every day I wake to the wonder of the world with a mind open to new experiences and adventures; I don't 'have a job,' I help people.

I watch little other than cartoons, I go to the zoo, I draw, I play games; see no reason to 'grow up,' if it means I have to 'stop having fun' because I'm 'too old for such things.'

And I still don't see how any of the 'uses their real name' stuff has anything to with being an adult.  Whether people here use handles or not, the important point is they don't hide behind them.  Your username is irrelevant; it's whether it becomes a crutch for childish behaviour (not childlike), that counts.

And being honest and responsible (as in 'able to respond') is what's important here, too many grown-ups let names get in the way because 'that's how its done.'

Fang Langford


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on December 19, 2002, 07:10:51 PM
Quote from: Sidhain
As I believe as attributed to CS Lewis



 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things including the fear of being seen as childish.


CS Lewis might said or written that, but he was quoting Paul. Like it matters.



I think we're losing sight of where we're going here. We encourage members to go ahead and use their real names, if they wish. No pressure, but this is a site where you can use you real name, and we recommend you do so since it feels a little better. To some of us, anyway. But again, no pressure.


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Sidhain on December 19, 2002, 07:29:05 PM
Quote

CS Lewis might said or written that, but he was quoting Paul. Like it matters.


Yes he was quoting Paul for 90% of that, its the last amended part he added that was the important part

Quote
No pressure, but this is a site where you can use you real name, and we recommend you do so since it feels a little better. To some of us, anyway. But again, no pressure.


"Feels a little better" implies those of us who aren't are doing something /wrong/ somehow--which I don't believe any of us are other than being /ourselves/.

I don't think entirely you meant it as pressure, but it is indeed what I percieve it to be.


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Valamir on December 19, 2002, 08:10:04 PM
Here's the thing about perceptions.  Only you are responsible for what you perceive.  What you choose or don't choose to read into someones words is entirely up to you...whether they intended it to be there or not.

It is the speaker who says, but it is the listener who interprets.

Ron has never been shy about encouraging people to use their real name.  But you know, he's never made it policy for a reason.  So I wouldn't spend too much time worrying about it.


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Maurice Forrester on December 19, 2002, 08:14:46 PM
Quote from: Seth L. Blumberg
I'm guessing that Ron responds to pseudonymous posters using their real names (where he can) because he wants to exert a gentle pressure on people to use their real names.


I've noticed Ron doing that.  It always strikes me as rude.  Being called what you want to be called is a fundamental human right.

I've used my real name on the net for a long time and my name is in my signature on this forum.  If someone wants to use an obvious handle, it's not my place to call him or her anything different.


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Eric J. on December 19, 2002, 08:28:01 PM
Strange.  I've always found Ron's greetings to correlate with an amout of politeness.  Why else would he greet any one anyway, but to dictate who you're talking to.  I've actually tried to alter my greetings to be less polite than Ron's so that it can better reflect my personality.

I have to get between:

Hello X,

and:

X,

It can be really frusterating.  I don't think that we should place any blame on Ron untill he started to call people by their real names after they ask him not to.  Untill then, I think that we should give him the benefit of the doubt.  He's done the same for me more than once.

(How is it insulting by using some one's real name anyway?  There are few exceptions.  Just taking the time to learn one's name is a gesture of respect.)


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Steve Dustin on December 19, 2002, 11:24:57 PM
I think handles do put a layer of seperation between you and what you say in a forum versus what you would say attached to your real name.

I've got a handle on RPGnet and found it easier to be "assholish" over there because of it. I have this odd idea that I can do that there, even though the handle has the same sig. Better change that right away, so that none of the upscale Forgites recognize me over there.

And please no comments about "assholish" and RPGnet. I know someone is bound to want to (RPGnet has a quite a few "real name regulars" actually). I'd hate to burn any bridges I might actually have at RPGnet.

Take care,
Steve Dustin


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Kester Pelagius on December 20, 2002, 02:19:30 AM
Greetings wyrdlyng,

Quote from: wyrdlyng
Well, I took up my handle back in '91 when I first started on the Internet. It was my MUSH name on OmegaMOO (for those who recall it). Since then I've kept it because trying to get alex.hunter, alex or hunter as a username is freakin hard on most ISPs or registrations. Therefore I have always been wyrdlyng@xxx.xxx. There's not many wyrdlyngs with my spelling anyway.


Interesting you should mention that.  I've been reading and haven't been sure how to apply my 2 cents... but that's about how I cam to use my current handle.  If you can call it such.

My name is rather common, too, but rather than dredge up an old handle or invent a new one I just took my name and surname and converted them to Scottish/Celtic (Christopher) and the nearest Greek equivalent (Pelagius and Morgan are apparently similar breeds of horses, or some such).

Have many others done this?

Can't speak to what impression my username leaves with the rest of you here.  Save that, from the threads I've participated in, I don't recall any churlish behaviour.  'Sides, with all the Chris' we have on The Forge people might start to think we are all gathering here as part of some dark and sinister plot!  ;)

All in all I think my current choice (which is also on my e-mail account) is much better than my ancient BBS handle...  Mudge.  Ah, the days of Fidonet, which few here probably remember?   *mock sigh*


Kind Regards,

Kester Pelagius


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Maurice Forrester on December 20, 2002, 04:34:57 AM
Quote from: Eric J.

(How is it insulting by using some one's real name anyway?  There are few exceptions.  Just taking the time to learn one's name is a gesture of respect.)


I think I already addressed that:

Quote

Being called what you want to be called is a fundamental human right.


In the absence of any other information, I assume that the name or handle that is being used for the post is what the user wants to be called on this forum.  It seems like the polite thing to do.


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on December 20, 2002, 09:33:00 AM
Quote from: Sidhain
Quote
No pressure, but this is a site where you can use you real name, and we recommend you do so since it feels a little better. To some of us, anyway. But again, no pressure.


"Feels a little better" implies those of us who aren't are doing something /wrong/ somehow--which I don't believe any of us are other than being /ourselves/.

I don't think entirely you meant it as pressure, but it is indeed what I percieve it to be.

Not doing something right does not automatically imply wrongdoing.

If you or anyone else here perceives this as pressure, then let us end this thread now because that is not what it's about. What it's about is in Jake's opening post, about how it "feels" better, more adult here on the Forge because several users post under their real name. Is that why it feels better? As has been pointed out, several have posted using handles with no real problem.

You know what, forget it. It's not worth arguing about. If you post here on the Forge, the membership encourages you to post under your real name. But you don't have to if you don't want to.

That's it.

Well, one more thing:

Quote
Being called what you want to be called is a fundamental human right.

And being called what other people decide to call you is just how it is.

Jack "Shut up, Jack" Spencer Jr.


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Maurice Forrester on December 20, 2002, 10:39:03 AM
Quote from: Jack Spencer Jr

Quote

Well, one more thing:
Quote

Being called what you want to be called is a fundamental human right.

And being called what other people decide to call you is just how it is.



Sure, you can't force someone to call you what you want to be called.  You just have to decide how to respond, or not respond, to that person.  I'm not sure I understand your point.


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 20, 2002, 10:39:28 AM
Hello,

I agree with Jack in every word, concept, particular, and syllable.

Best,
Ron


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Jake Norwood on December 20, 2002, 02:50:57 PM
Um...

Ever noticed that any thread I start out in the non-TROS forums ends up doing this? Do a search, check it out.

I think what I wanted to say was that when I joined the Forge the encouragement to use a real name was tangible but not expected. As such there were lots of people with names that I at least thought might be real names, so I felt like I was talking to real people. I really liked that and therefore changed my traditional handle--Geralt--to my real name (or rather, what people in the real world call me day in and day out).

What I think has happened is that in the recent membership burst many people didn't realize that the real-name thing was encouraged (such as myself when I first joined). I'm glad that there are so many real names here at the Forge--it's part of the reason I'm comfortable here. Forums with real names just feel more legitimate. One of the things that I think the Forge tries to do is add a degree of legitmacy with being gamers. When I discuss the Forge with outsiders they always groan--"ah, it's some dorky game forum."
"Nah," I say, "it's populated with real people and real names having intelligent discussions."
"Wow, that's pretty cool. I thought all gamers were dorks who wanted to be called Arwen57 and LegolasTheAvenger."
"Nah, there's lots of reasonably well adjusted people in gaming."

See, the thing is, as much as we want to "be comfortable with ourselves," we're not in a bubble. As long as we pretend to be things aren't going to get better (and recent threads have shown that we're not happy with our hobby's station in the world). It's just a step, is all.

Note that I do use a handle on RPG.net, because it seems wrong to do otherwise over there.

Jake


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: kamikaze on December 20, 2002, 05:13:32 PM
My philosophy on names is that a nickname is more real than any given name or family name.

Your family name is an accident of which ancestors you had; it says nothing about *you*, unless you're one of those sad people who lives only in the reflected glory of their ancestors.  Your given name was chosen by your parents, probably under stress and with absolutely no information about your future personality.  Combine them, and you may as well have random numbers for all it says about you.  They're baby names.  A real adult should choose a new name that means something.

A nickname, chosen either by yourself or by others, is about who and what you are.  It's the truth.

I got mine for the way I played computer games on the old online services and rode a skateboard - the same friends pegged me with the name for both traits, 18 years ago.  I have no sense of fear, and I'm willing to throw myself utterly at an enemy to destroy them.  Every so often, I do something archetypically kamikaze, and realize that yes, the name still fits, and I may as well keep it.  On the day when it no longer fits, I'll change to another name.

I don't object to anyone knowing that my random citizenship ID is "Mark Hughes", and I list in in my .sig, but it's not my true name.  I don't really appreciate being addressed as "Mark" online.  I use it in person, especially with strangers, but those more familiar with me usually start calling me "Kamikaze" or "Kami" (but not "Commie", ya know?)

I also don't object to other people continuing to use their baby names - it's your life, do what you want.  Just extend the same courtesy to me, or I'll pick a new nickname for you.


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Jared A. Sorensen on December 20, 2002, 06:25:53 PM
Quote from: Jake Norwood
"Wow, that's pretty cool. I thought all gamers were dorks who wanted to be called Arwen57 and LegolasTheAvenger."


Clinton, please change my user name to LegolasTheAvenger.

- LtA


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: greyorm on December 20, 2002, 06:40:59 PM
Quote from: kamikaze
My philosophy on names is that a nickname is more real than any given name or family name.

This is true and I fully agree with your assessment, with the addition of one minor detail: that you actually use your chosen name in real life as your name.

That is, your friends and relatives call you by that name specifically, you are introduced by that name to others and so forth. Otherwise, the nickname is as meaningless as the birth name because it carries no social or psychological weight to it...it isn't a real name otherwise, its an adjective.

And consider this, folks, before anyone goes around getting hotheaded or judgemental about the psuedo-policy in question: Ron has always known my legal name, but I long ago expressed to him my desire to be known by my chosen name. He has never been anything but respectful about my choice on that matter, and fully open to it...in other words, it is a non-issue.

So I find the idea that anyone on the Forge should feel pushed or compelled by anyone else here, specifically the policy-makers, to utilize a name they find no resonance with to be without factual foundation. It's ok to feel that way, but it doesn't hold true in actual practice.

Also, note the above post is not an acceptance on my part of handles specifically, for what should be obvious reasons.


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Bankuei on December 21, 2002, 08:29:28 AM
I think what we're talking about here is less about the "realness" of the specific names, as much as accountability, responsibility, and respect

For the folks who don't use their real name, usually:
-their name is in their tagline
-they use that tag interchangable in real life with their name
-or, their tag doesn't change, and has some actual meaning to them.

It's difficult to imagine talking to someone in real life who insists on being called LegolasTheAvenger with a straight face, or any other crazy ass net name.  It's also difficult to imagine that anyone with such a tag is going to continue using that same tag for 5 years straight.  Between both of these, its hard to have a conversation with someone who 1)refuses to provide a name which they themselves could take seriously, and 2) is using a name that is highly unlikely to allow you to develop any sort of long term relationship with.

The funny thing about long term relationships, is that they naturally incur a level of responsibilty, accountability, and from that, respect.  You can't treat someone like crap if you have to deal with them later on, and on a regular basis.  Forgites hang in for the long haul, or quickly become unactive.

 Usually it doesn't take long after reading 2 or 3 posts to figure out if you're dealing with a person who is capable of intelligent polite conversation, or simply feels like screaming, "X system SUX!" every 3 threads.  

I think the correlation between real names and real conversations, is that people mature enough to have real conversations tend to use their real names, as opposed to the other way around.  I certainly know I've never had a reasonable conversation with anyone who's decided its necessary to provide their age, gender, or sexiness in their name, or who's taken their name from some pop fad of the minute.  But maybe I've just had a bad run of luck there :P

Chris


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 21, 2002, 08:50:48 AM
Hello,

It probably doesn't surprise anyone that Clinton and I discussed this issue pretty thoroughly yesterday. Here's what we came up with.

"Rights" are not relevant to the issue.

No one can automatically know another person's preference regarding their preferred name. Whether you (a) use a username but would rather use your real name, (b) use a username and want to be addressed as such, (c) use your real name but would rather use a username, or (d) use your real name and want to be addressed as such ... no one can know.

This issue is directly related to the issues of the Infamous Five. I mean, it is so totally related that I wish everyone would go and read the Social Context and the Forge as a Community threads, before even thinking about adding to this one. Not that anyone has to do that; it's just a wish.

Here's my point: all functional social interactions require one "no blood no foul" phase between people.

What is that? It pertains to anything which is not physical assault, theft, or fraud.

During that phase, a person can behaviorally violate your innermost, heart-of-hearts, most precious value - they can be a (as you see it) horrible, awful asshole. But you have to take one moment to see where they're coming from, and holy mackerel, nearly every time, it turns out that they weren't being so awful after all.

That bastard! How dare he hold the door for me! It's not 1960 any more! - No, step back. He doesn't know your position on this matter. Go through the door, even say, "Thanks," and then, if this is a person you'll be dealing with a lot in the future, because this is the "no blood no foul" phase, you can tell him that he doesn't have to do that, in your case, without blaming or confronting him about his "mistake." During that phase, the action wasn't inappropriate or appropriate.

All functional communities have this phase built into their individual interactions. People cannot use their off-the-cuff "what it must mean" reactions upon first acquaintance; when they do, you get hostility, shootings, brawls, and other escalations into violence. On the internet, you get resentment, sulking, flame wars, and posturing.

In my career, profanity is a good example. University profs have no particular stricture or requirements regarding swearing, in or out of the classroom. We have to set our own standards for that, in terms of personal interactions with one another in staff meetings, in terms of one-on-one discussions, and in terms of dealing with students of different levels. My point? I've never met a squeaky-clean, never-cuss faculty community. Almost all university profs swear to a small degree, and I'm speaking about the professional context. Some degree of appropriateness is arrived at, for the group, through a series of "no blood no foul" steps per person.

So - this thread, instead of being a spawn of the Infamous Five, is rather an adoptee ... and I'm taking that very seriously. No one is "rude" regarding names if you don't tell them what you prefer. Look at that a-b-c-d list above, and see whether you can inform people which one you are, or if you need to.

And most importantly (hoo boy) - how can you communicate it without reacting in anger? "That's rude! You violated my preference! I shall now stew and resent it!" isn't going to fly. Again, as long as we are not talking about assault/fraud/etc, it doesn't matter what your preferences are if the community only finds out about them through your anger. (Read that carefully - it's real.)

So don't announce it here. Keep it in mind, and inform people during a "no blood no foul" stage in your interactions with them. At the Forge, everyone is responsible for the functional community and for respecting this stage of interaction.

I just made that up and decided it's good enough to stick.

Best,
Ron


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Maurice Forrester on December 21, 2002, 10:46:47 AM
Ron:

I agree with most of what you've said here except for this:

Quote from: Ron Edwards

"Rights" are not relevant to the issue.


In fact, the right to be called what you want to be called is crucial to the rest of what you say about social contract.  If that right is not respected, the concept of a "no blood, no foul" phase of social interaction completely falls apart.

I've gone ahead and had Clinton change my username to my real name because I have no problem with using my name on the net.  I've been doing exactly that for some time now.  

It still strikes me as inappropriate to refer to someone by a name that neither appears as their username or in their signature, but I don't have a dog in that fight.  If the person addressed that way doesn't like it, then of course they should speak up.


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 21, 2002, 02:21:18 PM
Hello,

My concern with the term "right" is that it is used as a big stick in policy issues - whoever says "right" first wins.

Rights, ultimately, are the product of functional social interactions, including their enforcement. We always talk about it the other way 'round, as if the rights exist first (i.e. pre-exist) and the policies flow from them, but that's rhetoric, in my view, not reality.

In my view, once the "no blood no foul" behaviors start producing, over time, everyone using exactly the name they want, as they want it, and with everyone respecting that - then, ipso facto, we will have established this "right" here at the Forge. Conversely, talking about rights in order to establish it might be good rhetoric, but it's lousy argumentation.

Maurice, in practice, I think our disagreement about this (if there is one) does not effectively damage or invalidate my above policy approach, in terms of it being a good policy, so I'm willing to call it one of those principles-things and not debate about it.

Best,
Ron


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Blake Hutchins on December 21, 2002, 04:23:58 PM
A technical quibble:  "Rights," per se, usually arise in the context of the individual versus government through the medium of constitutional or statutory law or individual v. individual through the medium of statutory or contract law.  Among private individuals in the rough and tumble cacophony of everyday life exists only the social contract - unless governmental action or contract law is involved.  When people on the net argue this or that as a matter of "right," they're usually using "right" for what substantively amounts to no more than "reasonable expectation."  Those posters throw out "rights" as a justification for some desired private party entitlement, and I conclude they wish to seize the moral high ground by using a trump term that is, most of the time, offered without a full understanding of what it actually means.  Consequently - and this may sound cold-blooded - I think a focus on "rights" injects more mud into the discussion than clarity.  I much prefer attention to common sense principles of courtesy such as Ron's "no harm, no foul" standard when discussing behavior and interaction on the Forge.

Best,

Blake


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Maurice Forrester on December 22, 2002, 05:36:00 AM
Ron:

From where I sit, the issue is not about establishing a right on the Forge but rather about whether or not the Forge respects a well established human right.  Since neither one of us is likely to convince the other, we can just agree to disagree.


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Valamir on December 22, 2002, 07:17:11 AM
Please, can this sillyness just end.  Its not even a policy that's being debated.  Plus the idea that there exists any "right" human or otherwise to choose your own name is ludicrous.  I challenge you to go get your drivers license issued to Orc_Killer_97 and see how far you get pursueing that "well established human right".  Bollux.  The only name you have the right to be called is the one on your birth certificate.  Anything else is established through social contract by people willing to acquience to your preference.  A preference is not right.

There is no reason for this thread to have reached 4 pages.


Title: I'm Close
Post by: Le Joueur on December 22, 2002, 08:09:26 AM
Quote from: Valamir
...The idea that there exists any "right" human or otherwise to choose your own name is ludicrous.  I challenge you to go get your drivers license issued to Orc_Killer_97 and see how far you get pursuing that "well established human right".

Well, my wife and I went before a judge and got our names changed.  Is it a human right?  The judge asked her why she wanted to change her name to Caroline Cynthia Elaine Langford; she had to explain the problems associated with sharing a name with three other high school classmates.

He never asked why I wanted to change mine to Ajmir Einstein Fang Langford; he didn't even bat an eye.  (I was formerly named after a pair of Catholic saints.)  Is it a right?  Darn tootin'!  The only thing the courts care about is if you're doing it to perform fraud, otherwise it's just processing fees.  You have this right in America.

And yes, let's end this.

Fang Langford


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 22, 2002, 08:39:34 AM
Hello,

Time to end the thread? It'd be Jake's call, except he's away from the internet for a few days.

So, I guess it's time to Execute and say, this one has run its course and is now closed. A new thread should be begun if any new aspect of the "names on the Forge" issue is raised.

Oh, and Maurice, yes - I see your point too, and I think we shall be "old man" and "old bean" to one another even though we don't quite agree at the philosophical level.

Best,
Ron


Title: Real Names on the Forge
Post by: Jake Norwood on December 26, 2002, 06:26:33 PM
Yeah, since you want my 2c...

Thread's dead, baby, thread's dead.

What I did see was very much what I didn't. It was more mature than the discussion I referenced at the beginning, but still basically digressed to the same thing. Partially my fault, I guess, since I don't think that I really phrased anything I had to say quite right. Everyone's got a little horn to toot and a world to save, and on the internet everyone's got several dozen. Oh well.

So...If anyone cares, some of us like you to use your real name. Some of us really don't want to use theirs, but don't seem to care if *you* use your real name. No one that I counted will be upset if you do use yours.

Ah...to have a record like mine.

Jake