Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: It's Not Sex, and It's Not Education

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  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    Symphony for the Devil...

    I give you Aeterno Elementum.

    Leaden stuff, nickel-backed with lotsa chrome...

    And hasn't The Rocky Horror Show tapped
    a more diluted strain in this vein?

    I prefer the less toxic Light Metal Operas
    - Aluminium, Magnesium and of course that
    Marvel creation - Adamantium...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5169 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I have wondered in the past about setting up a discussion about sex...

    ... and an open science one would be good too...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5169 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    temporary pseudonym

    While I can see the value, I'd also say that there is a value in the honesty and openness that comes from people speaking with their usual pseudonym.

    Somehow I think there is a loss of intensity with pseudonyms that is felt in both the reader and the speaker.

    And that is really really not meant as a criticism of folks here who use a pseudonym. In many cases here those pseudonyms have a strength of voice of their own now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3472 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    While I can see the value, I'd also say that there is a value in the honesty and openness that comes from people speaking with their usual pseudonym.

    To balance that, there are things that I would say on such a thread that I wouldn't say anywhere else. Because it's not so much about protecting myself, but protecting my family and my partner and my exes.

    Though, thinking about it...I'd like to think that everyone would be generous of the concept and reading kindly. I do wonder about the potential for people playing 'detect the writer behind the pseudonym using distinctive writing-style clues'.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4378 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I do wonder about the potential for people playing 'detect the writer behind the pseudonym using distinctive writing-style clues'.

    Inevitable. I'd quite enjoy the challenge of disguising my prose style, tbh.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19116 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Inevitable. I'd quite enjoy the challenge of disguising my prose style, tbh.

    You have the power now ... You could make it a competition, like where's wally :P

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3472 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    In many cases here those pseudonyms have a strength of voice of their own now.

    There’s been a massive stoush on one of the main science blogging networks after it got bought out by National Geographic and the new owners insisted everyone start blogging under their real names. A lot of these people had given speeches, written articles, and had robust online existences for years under their pseudonyms, over all corners of the web. Pretty much all their best bloggers, pseudonymous or not, left over it. NG had totally failed to understand internet culture.

    On the internet, after all, a name is mostly a label (even more so than in real life.) As long as your online presence is consistent, coherent, and accountable – who cares whether the label is your legal name, your porn star name, or a keysmash? All three have the same validity. You earn that validity through the body of your interactions under that label, not your Googlability.

    It’s true that beginning a discussion under new pseudonyms doesn’t have the same force, for a community like this, because that history wouldn’t be there. But as the discussion continued I think that intensity would return.

    (The main problem would be that a lot of the more vocal – voluble? – community members here would probably be just as identifiable through their writing style as through their names, even if they took up pseudonyms. It’s hard to be anonymous among people who know you, sometimes.)

    ETA: Snap, Russell, Emma, on the writing style bit.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    It’s hard to be anonymous among people who know you, sometimes.

    Clark Kent's spectacles should do the trick.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16996 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    On the internet, after all, a name is mostly a label (even more so than in real life.) As long as your online presence is consistent, coherent, and accountable - who cares whether the label is your legal name, your porn star name, or a keysmash?

    I'm much more protective of my pseudonym than I am of my real name. I doubt anyone here even knows what it is. It carries a lot more personal investment for me than the name of a pope, an apostle and the son of Will, 3 things I couldn't give a crap about except that they form a not especially memorable or uniquely identifying handle. I mostly use that just to keep myself honest. My pseudonymed personality is a fucking gangster.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8737 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Inevitable. I'd quite enjoy the challenge of disguising my prose style, tbh

    You write yours, I write mine, then we send them to each other and append style markers. You don't mind going "srsly" and "anyway" every couple of sentences, right?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4378 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    NG had totally failed to understand internet culture.

    Hell, when even Google fails to understand (or rather, doesn't give a shit about) Internet culture, we're doomed.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to BenWilson,

    3 things I couldn't give a crap about except that they form a not especially memorable or uniquely identifying handle.

    I had honestly assumed it was your real name - the style around here does tend to be obvious pseudonym or real name, not pseudonymous real-sounding-name. Good choice in that regard, though. (Certainly puts a different light on the rest of the thread!)

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to James Butler,

    Hell, when even Google fails to understand (or rather, doesn't give a shit about) Internet culture, we're doomed.

    This makes me so angry. Surely, a good test when you're designing a social networking platform would be something like: "I am a woman who has an abusive ex. I wish to interact openly with my friends. Can I make myself safe?" Google's answer is apparently "We don't give a shit."

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4378 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Even behind my pseudonym I've found this thread challenging. Possibly because, with a few exceptions, (hello Lucy et al) I've met most of you. It's not that I feel I couldn't hold my own, it's just... oh crap.

    For reasons which may become clear soon, I will probably have to lift whatever painted veil I have left and post under my own name.

    I'm sure it won't take anyone very long to work it out. The whole Ian D fanboi bit, etc. Not to mention the fact I doubt Russell will let me continue under two logins.

    Or will you? Since you seem to think that would be fun.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to James Butler,

    Hell, when even Google fails to understand (or rather, doesn't give a shit about) Internet culture, we're doomed.

    Yeeeeeah, that's been a right cluster-fuck. A few of the science-blog people were caught by both screwups - including some who had established the pseudonyms they were using as essentially a legal second identity (they'd received mail, speech payments, and so forth under them.) Totally legal, but did Google care? Nope. Did Google then shut down accounts they'd been using for years? Yep. Extremely uncool.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    I had honestly assumed it was your real name

    You misunderstand me. Ben Wilson is my real name. But I have a pseudonym I've never used here, that is my other internet handle. It's personal, having been my nickname to friends, and I'm careful with it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8737 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Emma Hart,

    To balance that, there are things that I would say on such a thread that I wouldn't say anywhere else.

    I am pseudonymous, but basically assume most of the people talking here, if not reading, actually know who I am. Which is why I am more reticent here, than I am on Twitter, for example, because I can control who can see what, over there.

    It has been brought home to me recently, in fairly spectacular fashion, how much I value that control.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    I've become deeply attached to my pseudonym! Initially it was what I scrambled to type because I wanted to say some stuff that was important to me but that I didn't want to be googlable to my name. And although some here know my everyday identity as well, I'm so used to living in the pseudonym in the PAS context that when Emma invited me round to hers for a party I introduced myself to people as Lilith because that just seemed less confusing. Is that weird?

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3494 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Lilith __,

    when Emma invited me round to hers for a party I introduced myself to people as Lilith because that just seemed less confusing. Is that weird?

    I had no idea that wasn't your real name.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to BenWilson,

    You misunderstand me. Ben Wilson is my real name. But I have a pseudonym I've never used here, that is my other internet handle. It's personal, having been my nickname to friends, and I'm careful with it.

    Ah, right. I do the same in other areas of the 'net, though someone digging around could connect the two if they tried without too much difficulty. It'd just require that they be looking carefully in the first place, which is enough protection for me. My admiration for your frank participation in this thread is now fully restored.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to recordari,

    For reasons which may become clear soon, I will probably have to lift whatever painted veil I have left and post under my own name.

    You keep dropping hints. It's intriguing, which I guess means it's working.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    I've never used a pseudonym, mostly because I'm too lazy to think of a decent one. Whenever possible, I would just register myself as "Josh". This did once lead to the the following echange on meeting someone at a party:

    "So, are you "Josh" Josh or just Josh?"

    "... yes?"

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • Max Rose,

    Well, it didn't take long for some people to suspect who I am behind this pseudonym, but I'm not so much after absolute privacy as plausible deniability and ungooglability. There are things I'm happy to say under my real name, and some that I'd rather not have attached to my name if a prospective employer, ex-partner or general nosey parker Googles me. I have other handles that I use on other threads and in other forums, since I want to be able to candidly discuss things in my professional field without risking a breach of my code of conduct. Anonymity can indeed lead to douchiness, but sometimes it's necessary for candid discussions.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2011 • 81 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler,

    Thing is, I would have trouble writing pseudonymously about things I don't want people to connect to "James Butler", without also touching on a whole lot of things I have said as "James Butler", which people might link together. I would be tempted to distort the pseudonymous narrative for that reason, which would kinda negate the point of the exercise.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    I had no idea that wasn't your real name.

    Yeah, ditto. Geez. Which I guess shows how little it matters.

    If you google either my real name or my pseudonym, you'll find the other. They're strongly connected and I don't have a problem with that, but it means that I can't say anything under my pseud that I wouldn't say under my real name. Also, I don't have to worry about things like working in a sensitive industry or offending a potential employer.

    Not to mention the fact I doubt Russell will let me continue under two logins.

    There is a difference between having two logins (not really a problem) and pretending to be two different people. Pseudonymity doesn't stop people dealing with each other honestly, but sock-puppetry does.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4378 posts Report Reply

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