This is very long and very excellent. The author is thoroughly exploring concerns about anonymity and pseudonymity online and why a Real Names policy is incredibly stupid.
On Pseudonymity, Privacy and Responsibility on Google - TechnoSocial
Anonymous speech on the Internet is a mess
This is absolutely true. Go to any site where people can create accounts just by entering a fake email address, and where there are no valuable relationships between users to maintain, and you'll find a mosh pit of spam and just plain garbage. Fortunately, nobody is asking for anonymous speech on Google ; we're asking for the ability to use pseudonyms—persistent names that aren't tied to our real life address, home and personal information. All the usual validation processes (SMS messages, voice activation on the phone, etc.) would apply to them. When people give examples of how pseudonyms create hostile environments, they are almost always referring to comment systems, not social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal, or Google . I'll address that difference below.
Shava Nerad expressed this very well in a comment on G :
People confuse two concepts: anonymity (no one knows who you are at all, no persistence over time, the most prolific author of all time is Anonymous) and pseudonymity (no one knows who you are, but there's a persistent identity over time like a pen name, think: Mark Twain, George Sand, Lewis Carroll, Thomas Pynchon, John Wayne, or Stalin). No one doubts who John Wayne was, but then again, no one reading Thomas Pynchon's books seriously doubts they are by the same author (well, maybe, but really...) even though no one but perhaps his editor has seen him (or her?).
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