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This page is for discussing the content of the Identity page. There is also a page for documenting abuses by those who avoided establishing identity.

I would suggest using identity rather than real name as a means of identifying someone on the Wiki. It's the reputation we care about, not who they are in real life. Thoughts? —IDoNotExist

I think real names are good here as a general principle. All internet communities have the concept of 'identity' and most are disconnected from real life. This is a real life community, not a purely virtual one.

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2009-02-27 17:45:35   In spite of the fact that I don't use my real name here, I do understand the importance of using my real name. But I have specific reasons for not wanting to do so here, reasons that I'd rather not discuss. And of course, I am not the only one who has reasons for anonymity. For example, a person might fear retaliation of some sort, or be trying to avoid a stalker. Or someone might simply want to dip their toe in the wiki's waters, not fully sure yet if they are ready to commit themselves, something that giving their real name would do. Yet instead of understanding that people might have legitimate reasons for their anonymity, the general attitude here seems to be that the only reason to be anonymous is to flame irresponsibly. Anonymous people are thus treated as second-class citizens, and a few times I've contemplated abandoning the wiki as a consequence (instead, I've just taken a breather and tried again later). It seems to me that a better approach would be to encourage people to use their real names without stigmatizing those who don't, and then to criticize the real culprit: people who are behaving badly, regardless of the name they are using. —CovertProfessor


2009-02-27 19:38:02   I am fine using my real name on the Wiki, but I do censor myself sometimes as a consequence. There are some things I may know but won't write since I know that every edit I make is literally tagged with my name. Granted, in criminal matters it doesn't really matter what username you choose since you can be traced by your IP address if someone is determined enough to figure out your identity. But I don't think people are worried about this so much as being 'googled' by their bosses or family and having their name come up with a bunch of random edits that may or may not reflect the persona they try to project in the real world. —MaryLieth


2009-02-27 19:45:56   Mary: IP addresses are not, in most cases, suitable for use as a unique identifier for an individual. (This is why we *think*, but can't be sure, that multiple postings from the same IP are the work of sockpuppets.) In general, an IP address can change over time, can be used (or even shared simultaneously) by multiple machines, and aren't in any way bound to a specific user, since there may be more than one person using that machine. —IDoNotExist


2009-02-27 20:01:03   This is a custom, not a rule. Of course, there are exceptions. Of course, we can't actually enforce it (and we've never tried to)! Don't you think it's valuable, as a general principle, to have people using their real personas on the wiki? I certainly do! —PhilipNeustrom


2009-02-27 20:48:29   I agree with Philip, it's a custom and not a rule. It has value for some people, for others it doesn't, I wouldn't say it is even generally valuable. It is only valuable to those whose goals align with the benefits of using their real name, and that is only if they know other people in the community and be recognized for some reason. If real name usage is promoted as a custom, and not an "important" custom (as if you are somehow doing something wrong if you do not comply). Everyone thus far agrees that it isn't a big deal since everyone is "treated based on their merits." —KellyM


2011-12-22 17:13:44   I am extremely disturbed by the pressure on DavisWiki to use one's real name. If you mean to create community through DavisWiki, requiring one to use their real name is a disservice to those efforts. It disenfranchises many people who might otherwise be timid to share their voice and leads to a lack of diversity in opinions.

I can’t help but notice that those most vocal about using one’s real name and those who seem to edit the most are men who use their real name. The advocating for use of real names on this site is both Orwellian and Stepford-esque. I suspect DavisWiki might have a gender gap similar to Wikipedia.org, where only 13% of women are contributors. You can read about that here:
[WWW]http://feministing.com/2011/02/02/why-are-only-13-of-wikipedia-contributors-women/
[WWW]http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/31/business/media/31link.html?_r=1&src=tptw

It would be interesting to see the results of a survey on what percentage of DavisWiki contributors are women, and what percent use their real name.

At the very least, the prompt when one signs up should be re-worded to say it is ‘highly suggested one uses their real name but it is not required.’


2011-12-22 20:57:37   PhilipNeustrom, many thanks for that link. I had tried finding something like that but couldn’t. Interesting that there are more women on DavisWiki than Wikipedia.org. But still, “The top 10% of contributors (n=14) are 85% male.” I do wonder what percent of women use their real names. That couldn’t be judged simply by looking; JaneDoe might really be Pernilla McVillersonton.

I strongly believe that anonymity should be more welcomed here and that the sign-up prompt should be changed. On this page [WWW]http://daviswiki.org/Importance_of_using_your_RealName it is asked: “Would you show up to a City Council meeting, or Farmer's Market wearing a ski mask?” No, of course not (unless it was an unusually cold winter). But I also do not go around the Farmer’s Market telling everyone my name! If everyone was doing that, that would be very weird. Many of the people we interact with in our daily lives are strangers of whom we never know their names, but still share a sense of community.

Pick nits about my hypothetical why don't you —SD

For you to latch onto the farmers market is what I referring to. -SD

[sorry, I guess I don't know how to post comments yet in an increasingly indented fashion like above]
This is a fascinating discussion.

JeffTolentino, CP has built a wonderful reputation here—she/he still needs to make others happy? If one who uses a pseudonym was to establish identity, one way to do that is by gnome-ing, is it not? What good would it do then to operate under two different names?

CP has twice now tried to bring the question back to community participation and realnames but hasn’t received an answer. I’ll be blunt: JeffTolentino, Ste(ph)venDaubert, and tg, you all appear to be men. Many of the main editors (and possibly decision-makers) here who are open with their identities seem to be men. Public participation is different for men and women.

It would be a great world if women and other disenfranchised folks could speak more freely. The reality is, we have more to lose in terms of career and reputation. This is an interesting case of new technology reinforcing social inequities.

I don’t see myself as an ‘anonymous coward’ by using a pseudonym. I am not hiding behind a pseudonym. I see myself finding the courage to stand up for what I believe in and speak out, both good and bad.

No doubt that Internet bullying is a problem. DavisiWiki is quite exceptional in the level of civility among participants, but it is not open to everyone. I really think the pressure to use ones real name needs to be considerably toned down, starting with the sign up function. —ActionFigureBarbie

I stand by my first post. My experience is important to share. It supports the anonymous argument—for one why should I post my health issues openly? What you see as snarky or sarcastic I see as very sincere and serious.

There have been quite a few times that I've gone to a business in Davis based on positive reviews in the wiki, only to have an awful experience. It works the other way too, many places that have had negative reviews I've had wonderful experiences. Essentially, everything is subjective.

I’ll say it again, the current attempts to control things on DavisWiki is Orwellian and Stepford-esque. I might be a bit of a rogue element or a rebel or what have you, but my views are important. I love Davis and I can’t wait to share ALL my experiences.

Sorry I misunderstood you Jeff on CP. I really do think it would be great if we could be all open. I know I can't be at this point. That doesn't make my experiences any less valid though.

Not sure how much more time I can devote to this thread. I've said what I've had to say at this point. I wish you all a Happy Holiday Season!!

ActionFigureBarbie


The accountability associated with using your real name is still an important point, particularly when critical statements are posted to Daviswiki. Periodically anonymous users will say harsh things on the site, and when you're the target end of that event after you've been open about who you are, its pretty frustrating. I've been there and it lame. Being accountable for your actions shows integrity, hiding behind a false identity can be less so. —AnonymousInternetTroll


This is completely off topic here, but if anyone's interested I highly recommend checking out [WWW]SacWiki right now. There's lots of space to edit, and the maps are really fun to make. Better yet, hardly anyone's over there and the drama factor is super low. Yeah totally has nothing to do with identity, but for anyone trying to get away from the long threads over here, its pretty nice. —JT


2011-12-23 21:39:59   This is my experience about identity: Around the time I joined this, I was depressed over dishonest and manipulative behaviors in the world, and how honest people are always at a disadvantage and are effectively oppressed. This place where people used their real name was like an oasis, and I used my real name because I wanted to support the notion that are still honest people around. At that point, if Davis Wiki had a culture where people were using pseudonym, I probably wouldn't have joined, because if that was the case, I would have saw this as another forum where the content would stay at 'opinions' instead of having discussions about the truth. In general I don't like privacy laws. I don't see why things can't be transparent. I don't understand why Nov18 needs an investigation. Why couldn't the people involved just all come to town hall and talk it through? Now no one is talking due to these laws. If you look at the root cause of crimes, I think one of the main causes is the existence of anonymity. If everyone can do anything in an anonymous way, I bet the world will become very bad. But the solution is not to enforce transparency. If you force everyone to be transparent, you would just make everyone fake, perhaps including those who would have been transparent otherwise. I think the solution lies in people voluntarily becoming transparent. When this becomes the norm, people would naturally become transparent, because being honest is joyful. Someone needs to be part of the culture to make this happen, and that starts with the self.

I believe that people who use real names are part of the solution of this big picture. However, I need to explain that the people who don't use real names are not 'the enemy'. I see someone who does not use real name, it is less of a statement about that person, but more of a statement about the status of the society. There are reasons why a person choose to be anonymous. If you cover a cup of water, some of the water molecules would be gas, some would be liquid. The proportion mainly depends on the temperature. The molecules in different states are not enemies. Even though I believe that the world would be better if everyone gets to be transparent, I am content that people are transparent when they can, and I want to help people who fear doing so. The way I see it, is that now that I am lucky enough that I can be myself, what do I need to do to help people who would prefer to be transparent, but are stuck in a situation where they can't do so?

However, before thinking about how to help people, I need to figure this out: Do I become part of the oppression for using my real name? Does my being here automatically makes me part of the oppression because I am male? How should we understand the ratio? Is there a problem, or is it just the way it is—like the cup of water?

Along that line I have a question: Is there a professor on Davis Wiki who uses real name? I went to a teacher's forum and the majority (if not almost all) of them are anonymous. When viewed from this perspective, I feel sort of glad that at least someone from the faculty community care to come here and acknowledge this and stick around. It is like frost on a glass of water. The only reason it stay long enough to be seen is because it is not gas. The situation won't let them stick around if they are gas.

Lastly I want to know this: Is there something I should be doing that could help those who want to be themselves do so? I will be content with the answer that I don't need to do anything, that it will be solved on its own, at its own pace. But if there is something that I should be doing, may I know it? —EdgarWai

musing

you were postulating about realname on the Davis wiki, that started out as a wish of the wise creator (Phillip and Mike ?) so that people realized that Daviswiki isn't just another site online it's something to help affect change on a local level for the area we (With the exception of Peter I guess) live and work in... I came up with the word musings in the flow of responding to you while I was focused on your apparent the wiki is yet another site reasoning, moreover you touched upon a myriad of subjects in that specific paragraph / section therefore I consider it to be a musing, it has nothing to do with your identity/sex/race/Color/creed I would call all pointless conversations on the wiki (Not to say this conversation is without merit, it's just more often then not a bunch of talking with nothing being said occurs) musings cause we (the Daviswiki) frequently just run around furiously circlejerking each other on non issues (once again, not to say that sexism/glass ceiling is a non issue..). Can I give you a copy of pigments of the imagination? Also see how you make me quantify my thoughts? This is so people don't take what I say the wrong way, but it's probably a futile endeavor anyways ♥ —SD

The die have been cast! Just let it ride, you've stepped into a big pile of wikiness... —SD


2011-12-23 23:00:16   EdgarWai, your comment is interesting and insightful— poetic really with the glass imagery. I am all for transparency of government, corporations, and industries, but not individuals. In full disclosure, I am an odd creature as I do not have a facebook account or myspace page. I still like being a part of a community though. Again, very thought-provoking comment. —ActionFigureBarbie


2011-12-24 13:17:44   Wikipedia does not explicitly encourage users to use real names. It acknowledges that the option to use real names exists, and it mentions that there are advantages and possible disadvantages that may result. If the proportions of male and female users are similar on both Davis Wiki and Wikipedia (where real names are not explicitly encouraged or discouraged), this implies that a real name "policy" does not significantly sway females from using DW. I have noticed a tendency of many female users to use their real name initials or their full first name with their last initial. Unlike anonymous users, these females seem to avoid the brunt of criticism, implying than many in the community find this to be an acceptable compromise. —ScottMeehleib


2011-12-24 14:31:43   I find it deeply ironic that a person can virtually befriend another person. You can learn pretty much everything about their hobbies, favorite stores and eateries, pets, lifestyle, and personality quirks, and yet they may forever feel uncomfortable about giving you their real name. And then you go a random restaurant in the evening, and the first thing you hear is "Hi, my name is John/Joan, and I'll be your server." —ScottMeehleib


I have a couple questions. I agree that the gender gap on DW is unfortunate, and I too, would like to find ways to encourage more women (or any under represented class) to participate. I'm wondering, is the identity issue is really the sole driver the gender imbalance here? If it is, I'm interested in fixing it, but is there some way we can still address the accountability issue? That is important to a lot of us as well. —JT


Two comments: one is that, in the words of one article, [WWW]women often walk a tightrope between 'bimbo' and 'bitch.' (I recommend reading the article). That is, strong language that would be seen as perfectly acceptable when coming from a man is seen as overly aggressive when coming from a woman. I think the wiki has seen, and tolerated without comment, far stronger language than that seen here. My second comment is that, statistically, women and those who do not fit traditional stereotypes are more likely to be stalked, attacked, raped, etc., and thus, may prefer anonymity in the face of those who might find their comments challenging. I would have thought that wouldn't need saying, but apparently it did. Note that none of this is an attack on men. Women are just as likely to judge other women as too aggressive, and to attack them for it — if not physically, then in other ways, and those who don't fit traditional gender roles are often attacked in many ways from many sides. —CovertProfessor

I think the problem is that on Identity page, some of the comments are offensive to people who come with good intention but cannot use their real names. The potentially offensive lines are the ones that sound like taunts, such as this one: Do you trust faceless changes with an unknown origin? Other people will naturally not trust yours, if you don't establish an identity. One reason that it sounds like a taunt is that it has a rhetorical question. When I join a forum, I usually try to get some sample on whether people uses their real names. Before I read the Identity page, I already had some sense that on DavisWiki people do use their real names, and reading the Identity page confirmed that it was okay to use real name (I think that on some forum, if you use your real name it makes you sound like a salesman). But at that time I did not mind the comment, because I just thought it was a harmless line. On the other hand I don't why it cannot be removed. Another example of potentially offensive line is in here about the ski mask. To someone who cannot use their real name, that line is offensive because, as a rhetorical question, it judges the anonymous to be in the wrong. Lines like that can be edited. I have not experience this, but I think it was pointed out the attempt to ask anonymous users to consider using real name was offensive. To those that had already chosen to be anonymous, the act was seen as disrespectful. For whatever reason, they had already chosen to use the name they chose, if you ask them to use their real name, you are potentially asking a question that they cannot explain, that makes the conversation inadvertently one-sided. I think these are the actions requested related to DavisWiki. For people who are on the borderline between choosing a nick name or using a real name, I want to know who did so because they were convinced by one of those pages. If everyone had already made up their minds before reading those pages, then there should be no problem editing those pages. If there are a significant number of people who were 'saved' by those pages, then potentially a tricky trade-off problem to deal with. But I don't see how there could be harm to simply say, "On DavisWiki it is okay to use your real name or a nick name, whichever you feel more comfortable that would let you contribute to the community." The underlying reasoning is this: if someone tells you that you are hurting them and it does not cost you anything to change, then it is natural to just change it. Is having anonymous users a huge problem if those pages are edited? If is it a huge problem, and for some reason it can be solved by editor asking those users to consider using real name, could this be stated, and could those people offended forgive the editors? It is not always easy for an enforcer to tell when they are responding to a false alarm especially if they do get many alarms. To you, it may seem they are picking on you, but that is because you don't know how many other cases they have handled successfully. —EdgarWai


2011-12-25 17:11:23   About the ratio of male/female editors: I agree with Don's comment that male editors would lose credibility if they try to say that having more male editors is not an issue. But I think that the underlying proof should come from the data about the reality. If you take a snapshot of our current community, and everyone who wants to write on DavisWiki gets to do so, the ratio may not be 50:50. It could be 60:40 (that male has more to say about businesses and events in Davis); it could be 40:60 (that there are actually more female who want to say something about the businesses but were deterred by the pressure to disclose their identities). Perhaps a relevant piece of data to compare would be the gender ratio of other business/service rating websites such as yelp. We could compare the male/female ratio there... (When I got on Yelp, I found that that website actually has users with real name, and that "Real People. Real Reviews" is their slogan.) Does it mean that the hope for 'anonymous review' is a fantasy? Having discovered that Yelp seems to mandate real name, a logical question would be to ask if Yelp's ratio is worse than that of DavisWiki. (According to our expectation, it should be worse because DavisWiki does not mandate real name.) The business I searched is Namaste Nepal Restaurant. On [WWW]Yelp, there are 86 reviews. On DavisWiki, there are 68 reviews. If someone wants they could tally the male/female ratio to show (in this sample), if Yelp and DavisWiki have comparable ratios. Do you think that this is a meaningful comparison? (I am hoping that someone would tell me it is not meaningful so that I don't start counting. It is a daunting task.) —EdgarWai


A private messaging proposal was put forth as a possible compromise to the privacy vs accountability issue, but some of that discussion has been moved to this [WWW]page for organizational purposes.


2011-12-26 10:15:59   Although Yelp is not exactly like Davis Wiki, I don't see why a comparison of the community ratios would be unfair, especially since most tension and animosity on the wiki is business related. It seems that Yelp actually has more female users than male users, and yet they encourage real names and real pictures. Granted, the full last name isn't given out to the public, but most people do seem to use their real first name and pictures. —ScottMeehleib


With re: the original comment "I am extremely disturbed by the pressure on DavisWiki to use one's real name," I suggest that ActionFigureBarbie and others simply edit the Identity page to reflect their preferences.

I also feel incredibly uncomfortable making any changes given the way the importance of RealNames permeates the DavisWiki: I offer some suggestions below. Comments/rewrites are of course welcome. —ActionFigureBarbie

1st change:

On the sign up page

Change this:
Your real name, written WithoutSpacesLikeThis(e.g. MichaelJackson. Please do not use nickname or business name.)

To this:
Choose a user name, written WithoutSpacesLikeThis. Either your real name (JaneDoe), partial name (JohnD or JDoe), or a respectable pseudonym (DavisIsGreat).

2nd change:

On the welcome to wiki page

Change this:
The Importance of using your RealName cannot be underestimated.

To this:
Should you use your real name? (and obviously insert hyperlink when page below is made)

3rd change:

Delete this page:
Importance of using your RealName

And make this page:
Should you use your real name

4th change:
Once the above page is made, add content (below is suggested):

One of the most important features of DavisWiki is the sense of community it fosters. Together, we aim to maintain respect, accountability, and credibility. There are a number of ways your choice of identity here can achieve this:

Using your real name:
One of the best ways to maintain a respectful community on DavisWiki is to use your real name. In using your real name, you show responsibilty for the things you say on Daviswiki. It encourages you to edit in a neighborly fashion within the community. Furthermore, your real name allows you to get to know those in Davis in a more neighborly fashion. Imagine the instant sense of camaraderie you would feel when meeting someone at the farmer’s market or a city council meeting whose comments and edits you have been enjoying on DavisWiki.

Using a variation of your name or a pseudonym:
Obviously, there are many reasons for why you might not want to use your real name. For one, you might want to consider your personal safety. Whatever the reason may be, you may instead chose a variation of your name or a pseudonym. In either case, you should feel compelled to contribute as productively as if you were using your real name. A number of people have made enormous contributions to society using variations of their name (e.g., J. K. Rowling) or a pseudonym (e.g., Mark Twain). If you chose the pseudonym “bicycle” and make productive use of DavisWiki, the whole town will have a sense of wonder about who the editor might be, and look with respect upon all bicyclists.

Persistent negative comments or malicious attacks are not welcome on DavisWiki. Remember, whatever information you put on the DavisWiki will always be accessible, even if you delete it. You might bring substantial harm to yourself or businesses.

[and then add all that stuff on businesses and legalities on impersonating others here]

5th Change:

Can we please get rid of the banner on the top of this page?— hey, did that banner just disappear? Awesome!!


I think the issue of gender on the DavisWiki should be discussed & debated. That said, I'm not convinced that the widespread usage of real names on DavisWiki is related to the male/female editing ratios (which, it should be noted, are not the absurd ratios that Wikipedia has by a long shot). I understand that women and people from marginalized and underrepresented communities may have more of a problem using their real name on the DavisWiki. That said, it doesn't follow that encouraging (encouraging is the wrong word here - I'm in a hurry so please pardon me) less real names on the wiki will spark more female participation. I think the issues are separate here — both worth discussing and debating, but I think we'd be well served by considering them independently. —PhilipNeustrom


StevenDaubert's proposal:

Do absolutely nothing, keep it as it. Nothing truly prevents people wishing to remain anonymous from having meaningful interactions on/with the wiki (shining examples: Alpha Dog / CurlyGirl) As far as the chilling effect goes, if people are going to talk themselves out of participation for whatever reason that is their choice to make.

Or even better: We do like Don Shor suggested and let the anonymous posse add their 2 c to the identity page

The current wording on the help pages is basically (or should be, IMO) "We encourage you to use your real name. You don't have to. If you don't, please be mindful that your reputation is important." What's the problem with that? —PhilipNeustrom

I think EW has some good ideas here on the accountability front. I still believe anonymous users still need to show some responsibility when accusations or other harmful edits are made. If we want to provide some insulation for users with identity issues, I think it's fair to ask for additional backup to inflammatory posts. Of course, how they proceed from there is up to them, but it provides some additional background for everyone else. In my mind, using your RN is very efficient, but I can recognize that other means of legitimacy is still valid. -JT


2011-12-27 10:36:05   I've stayed out of this discussion, but for many years now I've been against the heavily "real name or else" position. It used to be a lot more stringent a few years ago, and I remember a lot of friction between myself and certain other editors about it. Since I'm posting a few comments now, I'd want to inform those who didn't know that I changed my wiki name (Ed Wins, EdwinS, whatever) because a person I had never met before in my life recognized me as 'the guy on the wiki' when I was paying for something with my credit card. It was weird. At the time, I was a very prolific wiki editor, though I don't think I've contributed anything of actual worth to the wiki since 2008 (my apologies. I miss Davis).

I've also always hated the 'ski mask' analogy and I've probably ranted about it dozens of times over the last few years, and always brought up the 'online vs offline' thing. BTW, like CP, I'd almost never give my last name in a casual interaction, and I think most people don't. Usually "By the way, I'm Mary. "Hey Mary, I'm Ed, nice to meet you" is what I've seen/done. Anyway, an offline meeting at the Farmers Market is transient, isn't it? An online meeting? I've always understood the concept and desire to have an online community emulate a real world one, but you can't gloss over either the negatives or differing aspects that 'offline' has vs 'online' - especially in this online, which is completely open. It's recorded in wiki history. Someone can come by five years later and see it. Minutes of it happening, a complete stranger from any part of the world (China, Russia, whatever) can look it up. It's a bad analogy, period. And remember, under my 'real name' I was a top 10 editor, so I really was 'one of the wiki guys' around town for a while.

And unrelated to the top part of this post, the community of active editors changes every few years. The first Wiki BBQ had 32 wiki editors listed on the page for it OMGLOLWIKIBBQ, 9 of which are female. I think there may have been a few more females there (a few girlfriends, and/or friends of other editors), but there were also a few more males (a few boyfriends, and/or friends of other editors). Interestingly at the time of the first wiki BBQ, every single user [except Tar] used their 'real name' as their wiki id). The conversation over how large the 'active community' actually is comes up every few years. This may be the first time the question of female participation / real name has been brought up directly linked like this. I think it's difficult to address because the wiki is constantly evolving and in a state of flux. What "was" the way things were changes frequently, and what "will" be the way things are are unknown. I think that's part of why it's difficult to converse about this, as seen by some of the edits above, especially when some editors joined at different stages of the wiki and may have certain views about it, whether it's an issue that needs to be addressed or whether it's just part of the evolving wiki and if you wait, it'll change on it's own.

My views also changed on certain issues as my fiance worked at SADVC and WEAVE, which is why I tend to chime in heavily on certain types of issues, and even further understand ramifications of real name vs pseudoname and privacy. (It's also why I tend to almost always support user comments in some allegations often seen as 'anti-business' or 'damaging'....)

Back to pseudonames, I forgot to mention I originally joined under one when the wiki was brand-spanking new. I pretty quickly changed it to my full name because I liked the idea and wanted to support it (and everyone else was doing it). Later, I had a few interactions that made me change my mind and I switched to Edwin S. Consider what I just wrote 'everyone else was doing it'. This affects current and future sign ups. The more pseudonames there are, the more accepted they'll be, the more people will use them. The 'real name' pressure feels antiquated to me, and the whole 'establish identity' thing came about as a sort of compromise to try to reduce that push. (Though I used to argue that the 'establish identity' was too harsh as well when first being implemented, some new editors got caught in a catch 22). Ultimately, the floodgates were opened and I think you all would be hardpressed to try to go back to the 'primarily real name community' we had in ~2005 through early 06. It's like baby boomers pining over the good ole times. Nostalgia be damned, the world changed. In this case, it eventually comes back to 'online vs offline.' It's not necessarily that the people of Davis changed...it's just the last few years, the pitfalls and dangers of being overexposed online have been ramped up in the media, and there are people that have been affected. And that's a broad overview, not going into the various specific scenarios, though I hinted at them above.

Shame on me, I'm ranting again. Incoherently at work, I typed this up while serial-tasking, so it might be more fragmented that I originally planned. Apologies. —EdWins


2011-12-27 17:47:46   I'm opposed to making more pages that talk about the same thing. If anything, we should edit Identity to reflect the various perspectives on the issue and incorporate/delete importance of using your real name. It's currently moderately duplicative, and it sounds like once the changes being discussed here are made to Identity, it'll be even more duplicative. —tg


2011-12-27 18:40:24   How do you know ActionFigureBarbie isn't just a clever troll who just punked all y'all with some super pro gender baiting? It's not like you'd know if he/she was a regular user hiding behind anonymity to say or do things he/she wouldn't say or do with a real name attached. And look how much time you've all wasted on not alienating a group of people who already participate more here than they do on most other websites. I know I was scared away from using a pseudonym on here when I registered. Just like all the other anons who leave comments and crap. —Supernonymous


2011-12-27 19:27:26   I look to the truth of comments far more than their source. And what AFB had to say about anonymity had the ring of truth to it, regardless of who she is or how long she has been editing here. —CovertProfessor


2011-12-27 22:15:38   Just a hypothetical here, but would the pro-pseudonym camp be ok with an anonymous user adding sexist material to a page like Wiki Community/Women, and justifying their use of a pseudonym with a claim that they have been harassed by pro-feminists? —jefftolentino


2011-12-28 05:18:55   Something about all this makes me uneasy. Although I now better understand the concerns and fears that make some editors choose to remain anonymous, I also feel that there is good reason as to why real names are so strongly encouraged. The fact of the matter is that some people who use anonymous accounts will act differently than if they used real name accounts. For example, if I was using a pseudonym, I would be a lot more brash in the way I express myself (as if I wasn't enough already). If we soften the encouragement of real names to the point of neutrality, I guess I may as well change to a pseudonym also. I mean why put my ass on the line if I don't have to? And to be honest, when I first signed up for the wiki, I thought I really did "have to" use my real name, or at least if I didn't I figured I would be be under some pressure. —ScottMeehleib


2011-12-28 13:20:11   I want to add something to my last comment. But I'm an iPhone, and it takes a ridiculously long time to scroll down the edit window, so I'll say it here. To put it simply, I find the idea of women hiding their names in fear insulting in the same way I see the fundamentalist Muslim burka insulting. You see, the idea of a burka is often purported (by men) as a way to keep women safe from sexual assault. I honestly see this topic as quite analogous. What kind of life is a life lived in fear? —ScottMeehleib


When does a new editor see the explanation of the Importance of Using Your RealName? I logged off and clicked on the new account button. Then I am at the sign up page. There is no link that explains why I should use RealName, and that page is not editable. I think there should be a link to RealName on the sign up page. The person signing up should know what RealName means for DavisWiki before they decide not to use it. —EdgarWai


2011-12-28 14:10:50   Ed, first of all, sorry for the lack of threading. I remember the AM incident somewhat and of course it was unfortunate. But what does that have to do with her being female? Are you saying that it seemed likely that she was likely to have been assaulted on the basis of all that? I'd say there's always a slight possibility, but I still bet she was more likely to be hit by lightning. —ScottMeehleib


2011-12-28 14:24:14   Anyway, I'm sorry if I'm coming off to harsh which I undoubtedly am. I feel like some valid points are being made here. I would be okay with making some changes to the various identity pages and sign-up pages. But I think it's a big enough change that we shouldn't just rush into it. —ScottMeehleib


2011-12-29 00:30:29   To say it is sexist to encourage people to use their real names makes no sense. It implies that women need special treatment which is itself sexist. That said, I have no problem with people being afraid to use their real names, as long as it is understood that they their statements are subject to a higher degree of scrutiny than someone who is willing to attach their name to what they say.

On a side note, I also think anyone who uses the words "orwellian" or "stepfordesque" on a public forum is in desperate need of social confirmation of their intellect. —MikeyCrews


2011-12-29 02:14:00   I have just edited Importance of using your RealName. It reflects all changes I know (From AFB, JT, and myself) and can do. I have no plan to make any further change. If it simply gets reverted, I will not revert it back, because I have done my part, I cannot force people to accept the changes. Thank you for review. —EdgarWai


2011-12-29 13:02:37   TL:DR

My two cents from what I've summized:

1) People don't like to give their real names. Lots of reasons for that (gender issue to follow) but there's o reason to stop supporting it as a primary form of account holder on here. Plenty of people establish their identity with anon accounts and plenty of people use throwaways with real names. It's also pretty easy to make an account name that sounds real but isn't. People do what they are comfortable with on the internet. If this is really something worth pursuing it should be "Let's encourage people to generate a presence on the wiki. One way of doing that is by using your real name. Another is by contributing to more than just one good/bad review. Help bring your voice to the wiki" blah blah blah Can the world go back to spinning now? Thnx

2) Gender issue. I'm a girl. There are times I'm uncomfortable with conflict on the wiki, usually when phone calls start getting made to agitated and violent males. That is true. But I don't think that's the primary reason there are fewer women on the wiki. You know why there are fewer women? This shit is still seen as a "male" activity. It's dumb, it's gender stereotyping and the crap that happened to the one girl with the cab drama helped reinforce the boys club of the "internet" or forums or what have you. Largely though, it's because my gender is still semi-retarded and more interested in getting nails done than getting online. It's not the majority mind you, and there are plenty of girls I know who **use** the wiki, but can't be bothered to think enough to figure out how to use it past that. It's annoying but it's not something I'm going to blame the men on here for entirely. Just help stop the harassment of the chicks who ARE on here and then go out into the world and stop reinforcing negative gender stereotypes. Have a daughter? Great. Get her involved in this kind of thing and keep the Kardashians off the television screens. I'm sure I'm going to get screamed at for this as a traitor to my sex, but it is pretty true. I don't know many girls who use the wiki past looking up times businesses are open and they think I'm weird for being on here. Just like they think my comic collection is weird. It's dumb and annoying but it's not the wiki's fault so can we stop blaming each other for it entirely? Also certain people I know who use this thing need to stop objectifying women and making these "no homo" comments. Girls hate that shit. So do a number of men I'd wager.

Peace and goodluck on this. Focus on getting people to establish an identity first but don't underestimate the power of the real name. Just emphasize that it's **one** way to get faster cred but not essential and I think it's all good.


Why do some USERS have fake names or pseudonyms? Aren't we supposed to use our real names? Isn't there a rule for this? —JanetY

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