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Fake Names On Social Networks, a Fake Problem 283

disco_tracy writes "The leading social networks demand that members use their real names, and they're not afraid to evict violators. Many Facebook users have quietly complied, despite the problems that rule creates for political dissidents, stalking survivors and others. Much of this discussion has centered around people in physical or financial danger of having their identities revealed. But there are broader reasons for social networks to stop pushing real-name policies."
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Fake Names On Social Networks, a Fake Problem

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    several hundred people around the world have had their name legally changed to Anonymous Coward

  • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Thursday August 11, 2011 @10:28AM (#37056188)

    The single main reason that âoesocial networksâ push the real names issue is quality of their database for the use of marketers that buy services from the social networks. That, and the Three Letter Agencies make extensive use of social network data mining. But itâ(TM)s mostly the marketers, the more they know about *you* the more they can sell *you*. "Social networks" do this to improve the quality of their product (you).

    • Very true.

      The requirement is there to help the corporations, not their users.

      The really silly part is that they make such half-hearted attempts to enforce it. A simple 1 cent charge on a Credit Card (or a $10 charge that buys you a $10 credit at your choice of Amazon/Fandango/Barnes & Nobles/other corporate sponsors) would do 99% of the work of verifying identity. But they don't want to actually do this, because they are afraid it might turn off 1% of users.

      What they don't understand is that at le

      • It's how USPS does it for online change of address forms. It's a $1 charge but google could easily afford a $.1 charge (they already have the google checkout processor). I'd validate and verify everyone on their service. Heck they could even just issue a temporary hold and reverse the charge as long as it went through.

        • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @11:42AM (#37057340) Homepage Journal

          It's how USPS does it for online change of address forms.

          Yes, but you as a customer do not have to do your change of address online and pay for it.

          I was kinda shocked when I saw I looked a bit harder at the USPS site...and it did provide the option (not as easy to find) to print out the form, and submit it to the postoffice or mail it in like the old ways for free.

      • by robp ( 64931 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @11:45AM (#37057406) Homepage

        Hi, I'm the author of the Discovery piece (and yes, I'm posting under my real name). One detail I couldn't get into that post was the credit-card issue--at first, I thought that a Facebook or a Google+ could just query Visa or AmEx or whoever and get a name match. It turns out that it's not so easy. Neither of the two usual card-verification schemes actually confirm a cardholder's name:

        * asking for CVV2 numbers [] just proves that the person has the card in their hand (or has memorized those digits);

        * AVS [], or address verification system, only checks the numbers in the billing address.

        There are other services that claim to verify names nearly instantly--but as gurps_npc notes, the real reason neither Facebook nor G+ bothers is because they don't want to discourage people from signing up.

        - RP

    • Thanks to AdBlock and Google's spam filter, I haven't seen a single email from Facebook or one of their 'marketers' since I joined.

      I was also unaware that they had any sort of 'use your real name' policy, as many of my friends use "Shotglass Susie" and stuff like that, which is clearly not real.

      • ... as many of my friends use "Shotglass Susie" and stuff like that...

        Screen Name is different than Real Name at FB. And, from the FB ToS:

        Facebook requires users to provide their real first and last names [....] Fake names are not permitted.

        So, FB may get around to "Shotglass Susie" eventually, and send her and her shotglass packing.

        • by SkyDude ( 919251 )

          Maybe a real name like this will work: Chnsz Medvypa

          I generated a password using Lastpass and just changed the capitalization. After all, maybe it's my family tradition to give their kids first names composed of all consonants.

    • by Bengie ( 1121981 )

      From my end, I'm more concerned of being able to find old friends from long long ago. If they're using pseudonyms, how can I find them?

      Actually, Google says you can use pseudonyms, as long as other people that you know also know that name.

      Just my opinion.

    • by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @11:33AM (#37057210)
      We've been over this before. [] If a company is selling your data (Facebook, to the best of my knowledge) then yes, linking it to your real name is useful. That's a pretty crappy reason though and we shouldn't encourage it (in fact it would be nice if it was outlawed, though that's just wishful thinking,) but it is a reason.

      If the company is just selling advertising directed at you (Google, to the best of my knowledge) then what difference does it make if i use a pseudonym or not? They can collect information about me just as easily and sell advertising directed at me either way. Even if i "fool" them by logging in two or three times under different names that just means they can collect information on each of those profiles and sell two or three times as much advertising.

      And if i'm afraid to indulge my interest in invisible pink unicorn pornography while logged in under my real name and a social network enforces a real name policy, then either i'm not going to log into that network at all (total loss of revenue) or i'm just going to avoid some of my favorite activities on that network (partial loss of revenue since their advertising won't be as well tailored to my actual interests.)
    • by MyDixieWrecked ( 548719 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @11:45AM (#37057404) Homepage Journal

      A very large problem with this forcing of real names is when the sites in question have blacklists for certain names. I have a friend who's real, birth certificate name is "Aragorn" (his parents are HUGE LOTR geeks) and facebook does not allow that name, so he goes by Aragor. It's incredibly annoying to me, but he doesn't really care that much. facebook wants him to send a copy of his driver's license as proof so they'll allow him to use the name.

      I'm just glad that they let me use Spike. I mean, it may not be on my birth certificate, but it's the only name I use. It's on my bank accounts (BofA doesn't seem to care), credit cards, cell phone, work ID, everything. My parents have called me that since before I was born and it's all anyone calls me.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm asking these questions with a genuine level of curiosity....

      What impact do people think having real names genuinely has on advertising?

      Is the advertising industry really that effective?

      How much notice do people actually take?

      Are people really conditioned to buy stuff or even switch brands just because there's an advert?

      If I'm making a purchase beyond the weekly shop, I tend to look at suppliers websites, reviews etc - I wouldn't go out and spend my hard earned cash on something just because there's an

    • Facebook was pushing real names long before it sold out to advertisers. The reason social networking sites were pushing real names (and by association, real people) even before the advertising is so you can find people. Social networks aren't just about socializing with people you're already socializing with. Just this week, I had a friend from high school that I've long regretted being out of contact with find me on FB and now we can catch up. That would never have happened if he could only find me by sear
      • Just this week, I had a friend from high school that I've long regretted being out of contact with find me on FB and now we can catch up.

        Interesting...pretty much every real friend I knew from High School, or along lifes path since then...I've kept up with and in constant or almost constant contact with...some for multiple decades. That's one reason I've not seen any reason to join FB. Anyone that I want to be in contact with...I'm in contact with. It isn't like I lose touch with people I care about in lif

    • The single main reason that Ãoesocial networksà push the real names issue is quality of their database for the use of marketers that buy services from the social networks.

      That's the tinfoil hat version - and it ignores that the service has to be paid for somehow...
      But in reality, the main way the vast majority people find each other is by their real names, has been since the introduction of phone books.

  • Oh Look.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EasyTarget ( 43516 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @10:31AM (#37056224) Journal

    Ah; a story on how hiding behind pseudonyms is no bad thing..
    ..followed by a comment thread in which lots of people hiding behind pseudonyms insult each other in ways they would not do if their names were actually attached and the comments could follow them home.

    • Says someone similarly using a pseudonym. That's not evidence, that's just /..

      Pseudonymous usage does not == uncivil assholeishness.

      If you need evidence of that, have a look at some of the anti-pseudonym sentiments that have cropped up under people's "real" names on Google+ thus far. On the whole the pseudonymous crowd have been considerably more civil, more reasonable, and more able to present research supportive of their arguments.

      • Pseudonymous usage does not == uncivil assholeishness.

        I disagree; and I cite the Internet's finest authority to back me up in it's most famous cartoon: []

      • It doesn't always lead there. I've been in a few groups that are remarkably civil without requiring real identities (or excessive moderator action). And back in usenet days when I engaged in some of my most uncivil Internet conversation I actually used my real name. But it's a definite contributing factor. Even with my semi-anonymous usernames like this, I often restrain myself from my instincts to be a complete ass.

    • by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @10:49AM (#37056486) Homepage

      Oh, f**k you. You fascist.

      And by the way.
      Real Name: Jonathon Wisnoski
      And I live in: Parkhill, Ontario, Canada.

      • Pfft! Still fake. There is no such place as Canada!

        • I dunno, pretty sure Ontario is real... I mean they have a lake or something.... But Alberta? phwwww totally not real
      • You forgot your age and SSID..

        If you find that someone pointing out (with examples) the problems of pseudoanomity a bit 'Fascistic'.. how do you feel about the sentiment that a private website, run by a private company, can make whatever rules it fancies? And if it's users don't like them they can leave. Or do you want to impose rules on them; cos that sounds just a teency-weency bit fascistic to me..

        • by Lehk228 ( 705449 )
          facebook is not a private company, they are a corporation operating under a charter issued by the state of Massachusetts (and maybe now by the state of California). by accepting, from the state, protection of their shareholders from liability they have voluntarily subjected themselves to unlimited regulation. just like a person waives their right to not be asked to prove sobriety by accepting a driver's license and driving on public roadways.
    • Re:Oh Look.. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SamSim ( 630795 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @10:51AM (#37056536) Homepage Journal
      Every right can be abused. That doesn't mean it shouldn't be a right.
    • My name is Dylan Goss, and I think you're a dumbass. Did I just disprove your point?
      • No, because the name Dylan Goss isn't a unique identifier. Post your name and address and then you might make a stronger point.
        • Do any sites require that?

          What's more the real name policy definitely discriminates against folks with unusual names. I remember working with a gentleman whose last name was uncommon enough that he could categorically say that if I ran into anybody with it that they were a relative. My last name isn't really that rare, but there's still only a few dozen folks that I know of that share it.

          • None that I know of. The only point I was trying to really make was that when you are arguing with your reputation at stake (as it would be if it was attached to a unique identifier), the arguments tend to remain fairly civil. I'm not denying the value of anonymity.
          • by DrXym ( 126579 )

            What's more the real name policy definitely discriminates against folks with unusual names.

            And people with common names, e.g. John Smith, Bob Jones etc. are almost defacto anonymous anyway. There are probably millions of people with the same name.

            Real names is completely unnecessary and unfair. Even if a site requires a real name (and even that should be hard to justify), people should entitled to roll their own aliases.

    • Just because some mistake freedom for license doesn't mean freedom should be removed, online or offline. We have laws because some people just can't deal with freedom, but this is different since it's about a business model which depends entirely on selling user details for marketing purposes. As such, unlike the law, it is quite easy to escape, simply by not participating, or taken to the next level, by creating a competing operation which doesn't need such unsavoury practises to thrive. What that might be

    • You've never been to a city hall meeting, have you?

    • by gatkinso ( 15975 )


      You made yourself an "EasyTarget" for that one. Harharhar.

      • Indeed; boy I'm so dumb.. never saw that coming huh?

        What's funny is how many people seem to take my belief that it is a good thing to have some non-anonymous places on the net as meaning I want to ban anonymity everywhere..

        Then I realised; in fact everybody here, except one fat kid in NJ, agrees with me; and all the accounts ranting here are in fact sockpuppets of that one dork.

    • Naïve.

      First, the story wasn't not about how pseudonyms are not bad, it doesn't even talk about that but goes into other issues. (See the bullet points kindly provided in "Lord Grey's" post below.)

      But to truly attack someone, you have to know something about them and be able to access an area they are vulnerable.

      Anonymously "attacking" is insignificant.

      If some stranger with no identity you can relate to says something about you, whether on the Internet, WWW, email, or written in your local newspaper, i

    • by Deorus ( 811828 )

      It is, however, strange that people who do not wish to expose themselves are present on social networks. Even if they don't disclose their own identity it is generally easy to trace them back through their friends who do as well sa their own traits.

    • Ah; a story on how hiding behind pseudonyms is no bad thing.. ..followed by a comment thread in which lots of people hiding behind pseudonyms insult each other in ways they would not do if their names were actually attached and the comments could follow them home.

      That is no bad thing. I'd rather not have everybody censor themselves down to meaningless banalities for fear of possibly insulting some extremist whacko. Sure, some people will "abuse" their privacy, but such "abuse" is harmless and easily handle

    • OK, where do you want to meet publicly, so I can call you an asshole to your face?
  • Three points (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lord Grey ( 463613 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @10:31AM (#37056228)

    For those of you who don't RTFA -- you do exist, right? -- here are the "broader reasons:"

    1. * These rules risk incorrect removals of people who had used their own monikers.
    2. * These sites don't seem serious about these rules anyway.
    3. * The Internet doesn't need real names to work.

    Mind boggling, I know. Even more so when you consider than an entire article was written around those three points.

    • Mind boggling... but what is even more so are how many people are out there insisting that we have to get rid of psuedonyms.

      It is a good thing that articles are being published debunking some of the myths... and not just by people who come across as ranting or rambling...

    • Facebook is not The Internet. Thankfully. Facebook and G+ both require real names for the majority in order for people's social networks to be able to mirror real life, which is the point of FB. Other social networks have different goals, and real names don't matter. A few people on FB using pseudonyms don't cause issues since you can find them by looking through contacts of mutual friends. If the majority of FB users used pseudonyms it would be very hard for someone just joining to find the people the
      • by Daetrin ( 576516 )
        "which kind of defeats the purpose of FB."

        Does it? Who decides what the purpose of Facebook is? Certainly the people who own Facebook can try to direct things, but isn't the purpose of Facebook just as much what the users of Facebook actually use it for?

        Personally, i use Facebook for the exact same reasons i use other social networks for, to keep track of what's going on with my friends. Those friends will tell me what their profile is on the their favorite network site, whether they're using a pseudony
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @10:34AM (#37056266) Homepage

    Why? because of Stupid HR people.

    I have a friend that has 3 PHD's in Archaeology and is a Viking Historian that heads up the local SCA Viking group. he had to change his name to a viking name to keep schools from googling him and labelling him as a "wierdo that dresses up" and losing teaching positions.

    I have another friend that worked in the medical field and was getting questioned daily by his HR department demanding he "friend them" on Facebook. so he changed his name to a made up one, made a new "real profile" that is empty and friended them through that.

    Give us laws that protect us from Assholes in the HR department, I.E. let me sue my boss for $34,986,231,15 for not giving me a raise because I posted a LOLCAT animated gif on my facebook wall.

    They cant fire me for living in a blue house with yellow flowers growing outside, but yet the idiots in Washington think it's ok to let them do it because I am friends with people named Dave.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Wow - really?

      My boss pestered me to be added as a friend on facebook. I politely avoided the issue. Several other staff did add the boss and trouble ensued. The boss was quickly unfriended followed by requests to see what collegue x was up to via my account - again politely refused.

      My personal life has nothing to do with work. My friends on facebook are just that, friends.

      That said, my facebook account is largely dormant now as a result of this. Well that and the pointlessness of so many status updates thes

    • I and a lot of my friends do this. Specifically, all of my friends who work as teachers, are all on there with pseudonyms, and other friends who don't want their careers tarnished by their profiles.

      I know it's a serious problem for me, and many others. Fuck Facebook's rules, I'll do what I want.

      • The teachers I know just set everything to private so only people they choose can see them. It's the lawyers who seem to be using pseudonyms...
    • I have a friend that has 3 PHD's in Archaeology...


      Three PhDs? In the same subject?


    • If HR is demanding to be let into your personal life, its time to find a new job. And contrary to your statement, an employer CAN fire you for having a blue house with yellow flowers, if they so desire. Peolpe with blue houses are not a protected class in any way shape of form. Stop looking at your employer as your slave master. If they do crazy things you dont like, LEAVE.
      • by c0lo ( 1497653 )

        Peolpe with blue houses are not a protected class in any way shape of form.

        My religion requires me to paint my house in blue. Do you discriminate against me because of this?

        • Prove that it is an established religious tenet and you may have a case. Good Luck with that. Contrary to popular belief (heh) you cant jsut make up and found your own religion jsut because that what the established religions did. You need money, people, INFLUENCE, to establish a legally recognized religion.
      • by Jiro ( 131519 )

        They can fire you for having a blue house, but while this may happen once or twice, they're not going to be able to go through all the people in the company and pick everyone with blue houses to fire them. It's just not practical to drive around to everyone's address just to see if their house looks weird enough.

        As long as the information is not available in a couple of seconds on the Internet, they can't in *practice* fire people for having blue houses.

        But it takes a very short time to examine someone's F

        • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

          I think firing is not likely to be a big problem, so much as hiring in the first place.

          You send out a resume to 100 companies, and you don't get any requests for interviews. Is it because they just don't need you or have much better resumes, or is because you have photos from Comic-Con on your facebook page? You'll never be told.

          Or, suppose your boss is told they need to lay off one person. You're the guy who gets let go. Did facebook have anything to do with it? All you'd be told is that your services

    • This even happened before social networking was a big thing.

      I remember a story about a high school art teacher who was secretly a critically acclaimed pseudonymous artist. Who painted mosaics using his naked buttcheeks as stamps.

      When he was found out, he was shamed and forced to resign, even against the wishes of his students. So when you bring up the story about the teacher forced to resign for drinking *something* in a picture on Myspace, remember that story.

    • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @11:54AM (#37057566) Journal

      They cant fire me for living in a blue house with yellow flowers growing outside

      If you live in an ironically named "at will employment" state, then yes, they absolutely can fire you because they don't like your landscaping.

    • by monique ( 10006 )

      Er. They *can* fire you for living in a blue house with yellow flowers.

    • I have a friend that has 3 PHD's in Archaeology and is a Viking Historian that heads up the local SCA Viking group. he had to change his name to a viking name to keep schools from googling him and labelling him as a "wierdo that dresses up" and losing teaching positions.

      Given the number of people I know who are professors, or other high level professionals, or military members with TS clearances and arcane accesses (including both intel and nuclear weapons) who openly play in the SCA... Either he's embell

    • Geeze, viking costumes? Imagine what they would do to him if they found a picture of him having a beer or wearing a skirt at a Halloween party.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 11, 2011 @10:36AM (#37056304)

    This really bothered me, don't know about the rest of you: []


    "According to an embedded MS Word document found in one of the HBGary emails, it involves creating an army of sockpuppets, with sophisticated "persona management" software that allows a small team of only a few people to appear to be many, while keeping the personas from accidentally cross-contaminating each other. Then, to top it off, the team can actually automate some functions so one persona can appear to be an entire Brooks Brothers riot online... And all of this is for the purposes of infiltration, data mining, and (here's the one that really worries me) ganging up on bloggers, commenters and otherwise "real" people to smear enemies and distort the truth... "


    "They are talking about creating the illusion of consensus. And consensus is a powerful persuader... And another thing, this is just one little company of assholes. I can't believe there aren't others doing this already. From oil companies, political campaigns, PR firms, you name it. Public opinion means big bucks. And let's face it, what these guys are talking about is easy."


    "To the extent that the propaganda technique known as "Bandwagon" is an effective form of persuasion, which it definitely is, the ability for a few people to infiltrate a blog or social media site and appear to be many people, all taking one position in a debate, all agreeing, for example, that so and so is not credible, or a crook, is an incredibly powerful weapon."


    * I'd suggest reading the whole article in the link I put up above & not only because of the quotes I pulled from it to get your attention here, but also because it largely BACKS THE FACT THAT EVEN PSEUDONYMS DON'T MATTER, because they're easy to create via alternate email accounts, TOR endpoint proxies usage, OR anonymous proxy server usage on the part of those seeking to be "many from 1"!

    (Yes, I'd read that folks - because it MAY ADVERSELY AFFECT YOU ONE DAY ALSO & be "levelled against you" (I hope not)... & I KNOW I've had it happen to me, here, & others spots online (I busted clone52431/clone53421 & others doing it in fact, the "" pack of admitted trolls around here in fact & years ago from arstechnica people @ Windows IT Pro -> [] (Jeremy Reimer mainly))).


    P.S.=> That's for anyone that tries to say I am "full of it", etc./et al - though I know that most of you KNOW this type of crap really does go on online, & how/when/where/why IF NOT BY WHOM as well as why...

    ... apk

    • I love you APK.
  • Especially considering that as long as you don't pick an overtly false name, you won't be banned. I know people that use fake names on facebook and google+, and they haven't had problems. If this comes down to human rights and privacy, pick a name that isn't obviously false. It doesn't get at the root of the problem, and the managers of these networks never will, but it's a simple solution to use until these social networks realize how futile these bans really are.
    • Voluntarily using a service has nothing to do with human rights. There is no basic human right to blogging. Social networks are PRIVATELY run companies, they can run their network as they see fit. If you choose to participate, i dont see why you cant follow the rules. If you dont like the rules, DONT USE THE FUCKING SERVICE. THre are plenty of places on the interwebs to be private, use them. Its like all these feebs who are now discovering how to talk to each other online but never had the experiences of fo
  • So what follows? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by franciscohs ( 1003004 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @10:48AM (#37056478)

    I wonder what follows to real names.

    Real profile picture photo?
    Real town, school, work place?

    Why?, does it make any difference to advertisers to have a name attached to a profile?, would they target that specific product differently if my name is A or B?, I would guess they will try to sell to who I am, and that doesn't change with my name...

  • by robbyjo ( 315601 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @10:49AM (#37056490) Homepage

    What constitutes a "real" name? Take a look at Sun Yat-Sen [], for example. Which one do you think is THE real name? The original name? Baby name? Genealogy name? Courtesy name? School name? Eventually, Sun Yat-Sen was famed in China because of the pseudoname he used in Japan. And Yat-Sen itself is a school name.

  • by gubers33 ( 1302099 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @10:53AM (#37056578)
    I think it is needed because even though I have locked down my security settings as much as possible I know that HR people snoop around too much. I use my nickname from when I played football and rugby. I am only friends with my friends and family who know this nickname, so I don't think I am hiding behind. Am I hiding from HR and background companies that snoop out on social networks, absolutely. I don't have to the social network so my employer or potential employer can look for photos of me drinking or what not. Maybe if HR did not look for things not related to work or background companies didn't exist or security settings were actually real fake names wouldn't be needed. However, they do and fake names are needed
  • it's bad for business. the same policy killed friendster: []

    friendster started deleting fake names. this was the height of friendster's popularity, 2003. so people left in droves for this new funky site called "myspace" []

    1. if you do not learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it, GOOGLE PLUS I'M TALKING TO YOU

    2. the BOTTOM LINE you idiots. this policy hurts your BOTTOM LINE. just ask friendster, circa 2003

  • by sandytaru ( 1158959 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @11:16AM (#37056914) Journal
    I have a series of 30 fake Facebook accounts that I created back in the day for Farmville (before I came to my senses and quit that particular timesink.) They all have legit looking names at first glance, such as Betty Farmer or Charlie Gardener, using the eLouai Candybar Dollmaker to generate unique looking profile pics. They all have working email addresses generated from my personal domain. The login information was shared with about 20 other people for Farmville purposes, and the accounts are still in use by those silly people still playing. (The accounts also now play Mafia Wars and a bunch of other games.) Other than an initial "this email address doesn't appear to be valid" notice and verification check, Facebook has been mum about these highly suspicious looking accounts.
  • What I don't understand is why there is the constant expectation that every service offered MUST provide for everyone.

    If a social network doesn't permit fake names, and you want to use a fake name, then go elsewhere. If there is no elsewhere, then isn't this a great opportunity for some entrepreneur to create an anonymous social network?

    • If it's a niche site that's not intended for everybody then it's not an issue. But if it's the number one site, like Facebook is, then it really needs to comply with typical norms. Which includes privacy policies and settings that don't drastically change at a moment's notice and the ability to post in a pseudonymous way.

    • by Daetrin ( 576516 )
      What i don't understand is why there is the constant expectation that people who want to use a service shouldn't tell the owners of that service exactly what they want out of it.

      I've failed to see anyone express the opinion that Google MUST allow pseudonyms, but i've seen a lot of people express the opinion that Google SHOULD allow pseudonyms. Yes, we can all go elsewhere if Google refuses to go along with the idea and we really think it's that important, but i'm failing to see why it's a bad idea for us
  • Is anyone else reminded of the Seinfeld episode where the whole apartment building had pictures up and Jerry didn't want his picture up? Or when Jerry didn't want to use a name tag? Real life is anonymity, you don't instantly know someone's name just because you walked up and talked to them. Did Voltare or The Artist (formerly known as Prince) have any problem hiding under their pseudonyms? I mean I can list great people who used pseudonyms all day long!

    If I walk up and introduce myself as Ted, and
    • Did Voltare or The Artist (formerly known as Prince) have any problem hiding under their pseudonyms?

      Prince Rogers Nelson is his real name and he had to use a pseudonym, the unpronounceable Love Symbol, because Warner Bros. trademarked his real name which is pretty much his identity. It's no better than stealing someone's soul if you ask me. If we are not allowed to use pseudonyms on social networking sites, how will we be assured that we won't someday be hoodwinked out of the right to use our given names like Prince was? I'd much rather lose a pseudonym that I created than the name that my parents gave

  • For a long time I was in agreement that requiring real names was pointless, against privacy, blah blah blah.... More recently however I have begun to think otherwise, these social networking sites are based around YOUR identity, that way people find you, recognize you, and identify with you. I got sick of myspace because many people where changing their names weekly, trying to incorporate as many random characters as possible. Actually finding people I knew became next to impossible, on facebook I have foun

  • by a whoabot ( 706122 ) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @11:55AM (#37057590)

    I only recently discovered a workaround. I had previously stayed away from places that demand my real name like Facebook. I used the form of my name in a different language, not a translation but a standard transliteration. Their requirements never say which writing system I have to include my real name, only that I have to include my real name. My real name written in the Arabic or Japanese writing system is still my real name, but it's not much use to those who would otherwise find me.

  • Over on G+, ESR has been arguing for the removal of anonymity, pseudonymity, and noms de plume. He claims, repeatedly, that if people are "accountable for what they say" they will behave better online. He calls it the solution to the "Sexygirl69 problem." a "problem" only in his own mind.

    Everyone who points out how badly people behave on Facebook under their real names is dismissed with a wave of the hands, as if reality doesn't trump hypotheses. And to add to the insanity, he said that "important people

    • by Daetrin ( 576516 )
      Ironically, i just tried to search for "Erik Raymond" on G+ so i could see for myself what he's been saying, and apparently there are more than ten people with that name currently on G+, and it's not readily apparent at first glance which is the relevant one in this case. It's too bad he doesn't have some kind of unique nickname, something we might call a "pseudonym", which would make it readily apparent which one is the person i'm interested in.
  • Facebook would not be where it is today if people chose names like sexykitteh69 or RedskinsFan420.

    Besides making it easier to find people you know, using a real name makes the site look more professional. If you want to hide your identity, use a fake name that sounds real so it gives the appearance that everyone uses their real name. Obviously fake names cheapen the site.

  • Appear to come from a different country and name yourself "Raoul Sexout", and say that you are a male escort specializing in cougars. []

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith