Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Internet and the Case For Online Pseudonyms

Remember Snowden's pseudonyms?*

"... many websites, including Google+, adopted “real name” requirements whereby users were forced to register and post under their actual given names rather than ... or ... But many studies have failed to find any improvement in the quality of web discussions when conducted transparently, and Google+ abandoned its “real name” policy... noting that the requirement “excluded a number of people who wanted to be part of it without using their real names.” A new book by Harvard researcher Judith Donath, The Social Machine: Designs for Living Online (MIT Press, 2014), suggests that Google+ is now on a better track. As Erin O’Donnell’s headline suggests at Harvard Magazine, Ms. Donath believes pseudonyms make for “better online citizens.” There is both a self-interested and a societal function for “handles,” or virtual noms de plume... " read more: Why You Need To Get Yourself a Pseudonym | Big Think | Praxis

*Answer:  at least 2 we know of--

Code name ‘Verax’: Snowden, in exchanges with Post reporter, made clear he knew risks - The Washington Post"... Verax was the name he chose for himself, “truth teller” in Latin. I asked him early on, without reply, whether he intended to hint at the alternative fates that lay before him. Two British dissenters had used the pseudonym. Clement Walker, a 17th-century detractor of Parliament, died in the brutal confines of the Tower of London. Two centuries later, social critic Henry Dunckley adopted “Verax” as his byline over weekly columns in the Manchester Examiner. He was showered with testimonials and an honorary degree... "

Snowden filmmaker: Lawmakers ‘failed the public’ | TheHill: "... "Citizenfour"— a reference to Snowden’s pseudonym during his early contact with her... "

There are several websites that will generate pseudonyms for you.

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