Monday, October 17, 2016

Reminder about Pseudonymity.

Since even RYS, community members have been identified with pseudonyms. Oh, there's a long history of the "Josie from Jeffersonville" style of names. Or someone famous like "Beaker Ben" or "Contingent Cassandra." Wicked Walter from Waxahachie went one letter further! But he's crazzy.

Anyway, one of the rules of CM includes this:

Do not post under multiple monikers or logins. Do not post anonymously or with "non-names" like Nobody, No One, Anonymous Prof, Unknown, etc.

Using "Anonymous" is only possible if I have one setting up that allows members to simply type in a Name they use on the page, and it saves them from tying up their Google account - a common problem for folks who use a private Google account and have their own Gmail account for personal business. It's a courtesy, I guess. 

But lately there's been an uptick in Anonymous, and even though it's sometimes rather clear who is talking, it's not a sure thing, and longtime readers hate it. You want to know how I know? Because I hear about it...haha. And seriously, that's fine. It bugs me, too.

So, quit with the anonymous or I'll shut that option and all comments will have to be generated through a signed-in Google account - which, face it, a lot of us have anyway.

Just a head's up. Thanks.



  1. I don't necessarily read the name of the commenter before I read the comment itself. The ideas typically stand on their merits, and seeing them associated with a recognizable name might confirm my interpretation of them.

    But it's an interesting thing, a human frailty of mine, that when I see a comment from "anonymous", I find in myself a tendency to discount the ideas or to presume an adverse motive. And then, I might begin to respond with less than good faith. (I've written comments that I've immediately deleted, unpublished, but probably more than one has slipped through.) I don't like these tendencies, but it takes effort to fight them.

    Having a regular pseudonym myself helps me to be accountable to the community, just as each member having a regular pseudonym helps me to be accountable to them individually. Perhaps for reasons outlined above, I then find it easier to assume good faith of my fellow community members, and I can disagree without finding my interlocutor(s) disagreeable or being so myself.

    I hope that made some kind of sense. There's a lot going on that doesn't make sense, and it's affecting me.

    1. Agreed. Pseudonymity works. (And I'm now remembering that I saw a discussion of this subject somewhere recently, and thought of sharing it here, but didn't, and now I can't remember where it was. Maybe it will come to me.)

      I'm a bit alarmed to think I'm famous (even CM famous), and chagrined to realize that I'm missing a place name (where *am* I from? what am I doing here?), but glad to see that I can cite Ben as a precedent. He was a place-less RYSer before I was a placeless CMer (in truth, I jumped in just at the RYS to CM transition, and didn't know the conventions).

    2. I have a source who tells me that indeed Beaker Ben used to have a place name in his moniker...

    3. Then I guess I need to be from somewhere. How about Conshohocken? I don't think I've ever been there, but I've always liked the sound of the place.

    4. Pennsylvania PennyOctober 19, 2016 at 4:10 AM

      Cassandra, I don't see why you couldn't remain geographically anonymous if you want to. After all, in addition to Beaker Ben we have OPH, Pissed Pumpkin, Perfessor Slaughter, and plenty of other correspondents who aren't place-named.

      Having said that, Conshohocken isn't a bad choice. Right outside Philadelphia, not far from where I grew up. Used to be one of those sad, declining industrial towns, now an up-and-coming residential/commercial area.

    5. How about Conowingo? Carbon County?

      where *am* I from? what am I doing here?

      James Stockdale callback for the win.

    6. I'm glad somebody else remembers that line (though I think it's been replayed a bit lately, in pre-debate retrospectives). It brings back a certain nostalgia for when Perot/Stockdale seemed like the craziest ticket ever. Heck, there was a time when people worried -- not entirely without reason -- about McCain's temper, or Biden's tendency to put his foot in his mouth. It's all a matter of proportion and perspective, I guess.

      I think I'll go with Conshohocken. I'm glad to her it's a nice place, and, although I haven't visited, I do have family roots in Philadelphia, and have spent my fair share of time in 30th Street Station listening to the local train announcements.

    7. Pennsylvania PennyOctober 21, 2016 at 4:28 AM

      Ah, 30th Street Station, back in the day when it didn't cost a king's ransom to take Amtrak from Philly to New York! (And you could buy a ticket and walk right onto a train, without advance reservations.) And an easy commuter-train ride to Conshohocken on the Manayunk/Norristown line. An excellent choice, Cassandra.

  2. I love you, Fabby Fab.
    You're the tops.
    You help me keep my sanity.
    You are kindness and creativity and empathy and beauty all wrapped up in a McGuffin.
    You're a McGriddle, but without the calories.
    You're a magical McGriddle.
    Sometimes love don't feel like it should,
    But, Fab, you make it hurt so good.

    1. There'll be no kissing, Bubba...but I'll cuddle.

  3. Has anyone ever been "outed"? I am a trifle concerned because my university forbids doing anything that "reflects adversely" on the university and I have no idea what that means. I probably wouldn't be fired, but I'd just as soon avoid having all my colleagues know that I'm not really the cheerleader I appear to be. That one post about the Black Lives Matter students got a fair amount of controversy. I wouldn't want to be doxxed. Has anything like that every happened here?

    1. I'm unscathed! But as a rule, I don't type anything that I wouldn't want:

      -My dean
      -My parents
      -My students

      to see.

    2. There was a professor of Art who posted a very scathing set of comments about a particular student. Two days later, the professor wrote into the page to say that the student had found the post. And following up, it appears the same professor had tweeted the link on her Twitter page, and enough of her friends within the department retweeted it, and it ended up in the hands of some students. The professor wrote to us about what terrible things were to befall her, and of course we took it down right away. as a follow-up, a couple years after, I remember seeing on the university website that she had been promoted, and that she had been featured in the campus gallery. But still, it can happen. I would say that the traffic here is so light now, that it's unlikely. But most folks who write to us anonymize most of the information in such a way that some protection is there naturally.

    3. For a second there, I thought you were about to launch into a limerick.
      There was a professor of Art

    4. ... couldn't write prose worth a fart.

    5. his syntax long-winded
      so often rescinded
      that colleagues said "you're no Descartes."

    6. I'm not much of a cuddler, but if your foot happens to touch mine, I won't jerk it away in horror.

    7. You never know where a thread's going to go around here. Well played. Is there a prize for bringing one back to an earlier topic?