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Author Topic: Real Names on the Forge  (Read 20808 times)
xiombarg
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Posts: 1183


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« Reply #15 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. :)
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love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
M. J. Young
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« Reply #16 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
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quozl
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« Reply #17 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.
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--- Jonathan N.
Currently playtesting Frankenstein's Monsters
Seth L. Blumberg
Member

Posts: 303


« Reply #18 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.
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the gamer formerly known as Metal Fatigue
Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1153


« Reply #19 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
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"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
Le Joueur
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« Reply #20 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.
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Fang Langford is the creator of Scattershot presents: Universe 6 - The World of the Modern Fantastic.  Please stop by and help!
Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #21 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.
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Blake Hutchins
Member

Posts: 614


« Reply #22 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
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Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1153


« Reply #23 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
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"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #24 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]
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Sidhain
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Posts: 160


« Reply #25 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.
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Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1153


« Reply #26 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.
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"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
wyrdlyng
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Posts: 193


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« Reply #27 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. :)
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Alex Hunter
Email | Web
Sidhain
Member

Posts: 160


« Reply #28 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.
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greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #29 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.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
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