Real Names Please

RealNamesPlease. There are heaps of RealNameUserAdvantages. RealNamesOnlyOrAnonymous should be able to cover most needs of a wiki contributor. See for example, SignedWithaPurpose.

The following Q&A is compiled for newcomers and veterans alike.

Q: Why can't we use NickNames ?

A: In general, it is observed that people who use online nicknames care less about what they write. The discussion is usually taken more seriously when people do not use NickNames, but use their real names.

Q: Who came up with this rule?

A: This page has existed for quite some time despite the fact that anyone here can edit or delete it. This means a significant portion of the WikiCommunity agree that this site not take on the tone of other communities where fake names are used. Wiki participants generally prefer the idea that they are communicating with real people much as they would in RealLife.

Q: OK, but I could use any real-looking name instead! You will not even notice.

A: We simply trust that you will not do this. Some participants, both new and old, don't like to reveal their identity when editing. The easiest way to keep your identity out of the conversation is to avoid giving your words/edits any attribution at all. To distinguish voices it generally suffices to switch between italics and normal case. Does it? Yes.

Q: I have a name on my birth certificate, one I use online and another which my friends tend to call me. Which one is my real name?

A: Generally, you are expected to use some recognizable variation of your legal name. There are very occasional exceptions to this rule, however. For example, see TaralDragon, PhlIp, RiVer, or TorneWuff. Note that in almost all cases their real names are easy to find. The distinction is we prefer names that are primary, invested, and permanent. The disposable names cause flak.

Some WikiZens with online identities sign their contributions with both their real and online names, e.g. "Chris Purcell (KritTer)".

Q: I don't want to be completely anonymous, but I have a very good reason why I want to use a pseudonym instead of my real name.

A: As noted above, exceptions may ultimately be tolerated. If people write RealNamesPlease on your user page, it is because they assume you are unaware of this convention, and they are trying to be helpful. If you understand the rule and still want to use a different name, despite the objections, nobody is going to stop you from doing so. Please review the RealNamesPleaseDiscussion, note your reasoning on your WikiHomePage (to prevent later RealNamesPlease requests), and please try to be as respectful of the community's wishes as you would like it to be of yours. Whatever your reasons, don't use somebody else's real name, and use OneNamePlease.

Q: Despite this warning I wish to continue to use a pseudo name.

A: The RealNamesPlease convention on WikiWiki is both well-established as a WikiSocialNorms and expected by a lot of Wikizens. Continuing to flout this convention after a RealNamesPlease warning can be considered to be WikiTrolling (see TrollDefinition) by some WikiZens. It may even motivate some to start the undesirable procedure of RefactorMercilessly.

[Hrm. This answer seems to contradict the previous answer... Which is it? Are informed violations of this rule tolerated, or are they "trollish behaviour?"] There are a few well-established users for which switching to a real name would merely confuse people (ie PhlIp). Nicknames for new users are heavily discouraged.

Peer pressure is not a rational argument, and this answer (and the whole page) basically boils down to "We, the (ironically, unnamed) subgroup" want this to be how it is, so everyone should fit in or face our disdain". That's nowhere near good enough, I'm afraid. The definition of "name" here is arbitrary and irrational given the lack of proof needed to back up any real-sounding name. The Internet is global, eternal, and searchable and websites can not reasonably expect to use the same rules of communication that suffice for face-to-face or localized and possibly ephemeral communication.

{There's no intent to prove that a "real" name is real. The intent of this page is to avoid the taint of juvenile "fanboi"-ism that typical Internet pseudonyms, for better or worse, tend to engender. If you don't want to use your real RealName, that's fine, but at least use a made-up real-sounding name (if you're going to use a name at all) so that we appear to be a serious forum about software development rather than a nerdy chat forum of pale, pimply-faced teenagers calling themselves DarkDragon and ArcturionTheWarrior whilst they argue about computers from their parents' basements. Use of names is largely in the same spirit as academic journals -- in which contributors use their real names or real-seeming pseudonyms -- to which WardsWiki adds to the option of using no name at all.}

In rare instances community members use a RealName, a pseudo name and sometimes mixed with IpUsername (which is anonymous). In one example the person uses the RealName when he offers a "considered opinion", or when he requests information from other community members. The pseudonym is often used to let other regulars know he is online editing pages, as he has more than one IP address, and more than one person from that address have used WardsWiki.

Q: I have an OnlineName that I use regularly; it is a name that is "primary, invested, and permanent" and certainly not disposable. My real name is easy to find. Yet I am not TaralDragon, PhlIp, RiVer, or TorneWuff (or UncleBob, for that matter). How do I convince the community that my OnlineName qualifies for the aforementioned exception? Or are the above-mentioned folks only allowed to use a nickname due to an unwritten GrandfatherClause, a privilege unavailable to newer WikiZens?

A: [Be discreet, spell correctly, ... and fit in... then it's probably okay.] There is no need to convince the community. The community will ultimately respect your wish to use any name you choose, particularly if it respects your contributions and can tell that you have understood the community's normal practice but choose not to follow it. If you "battle" for the "right" to use a name that is not real, some sectors of the community may object to this as trollish behavior. If, however, you politely decline to adopt this practice whilst continuing to make valuable contributions, the community as a whole will support you against petty-minded persecution, albeit somewhat reluctantly.

Q: But I have seen people using things like AnonymousDonor, PositiveOne or WhiteHat. These are not real names, are they?

A: No. PositiveOne and WhiteHat are examples of DramaticIdentity. DramaticIdentityAsUserName is not an accepted social norm. These should not be used as UserNames for RecentChanges, and only rarely to sign contributions. They are understood to be dramatic identities usable by any author. [AnonymousDonor is meaningless, redundant, and confusing. -- AnonymousDonor. I find it handy. -- AnonymousDonor. Better to use italics instead. Oh, thanks, I see what you mean. You're welcome.]

A: Unsigned is OK, fake name is not. See ToSignOrNotToSign.

Q: PleaseComment. I use RealName, IpUsername, and DramaticIdentity depending on situation. Realname when I may want my homepage changed for messages, IpUsername when I don't want unnecessary interaction (e.g. confirming a delete started by others), and DramaticIdentity (one that probably no-one else wants to use) so other RecentChangesJunkies can continue a dialog with me on a subject matter. I do not find reasons why other reasonable person would object to this. IpUsername is often used as a last resort.

A: Use OneNamePlease for signing contributions; this should be your real name. As for whether ToSignOrNotToSign: leave unsigned if you prefer. Use DramaticIdentity, if appropriate, with either signed or unsigned contributions. UserNames that appear in RecentChanges etc should be either your real name or your IP address.

A real world example for the usefulness of RealNamesPlease is given on <-> WikiBankOpenNegotiation, where real persons and real money is involved -- FridemarPache

Discussion moved to PseudonymityAndHonesty.

See UserName, RealNamesPleaseDiscussion, SubtletiesOfUserNames, PseudonymityWithUntraceability, RealNamesOnlyOrAnonymous, NoRealNamesPlease


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