Handles, the way to hide ...

 
SkepticX
 
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SkepticX
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07 April 2011 13:59
 

... er ... from people who are, uh, sitting at their computers ... somewhere.

Yeah.

That’s it.


Original Post here.

Jason Williams - 07 April 2011 10:15 AM

Finally, as to my comment regarding taking ownership of one’s comments, while this may appear “infantile” I do put more stock in the comments posted by individuals who identify themselves in online forums.

I guess if you’re not inclined or able to make substantive judgments about things like content, it’s at least good to have some kind of regular standards, even if they’re arbitrary and ineffectual other than to at leas provide some consistency.

It was the school-yard posturing that was infantile though, not the arbitrary perception of identity and ownership you seem to attach to an RL name online.

 

Jason Williams - 07 April 2011 10:15 AM

It is all too easy to spout of extravagant and insane claims without having to take ownership of them.

And exactly why and how do you think using a handle somehow relieves one of this ownership?

 

Jason Williams - 07 April 2011 10:15 AM

As part of this discussion focused on “Freedom of Speech” I believe part of freedom is accepting that their may be consequences to what we say or write and we must be willing to “pay the piper” if need be (as I have in this particular thread).

... there may be consequences ...

Again there, why do you think the handle that’s attached to you somehow detaches because you’re using it online?

I used to “sign” my posts, but it seemed on the egocentric side to me, but I’m SkepticX pretty much everywhere online (socially, anyway—i.e. on the forums). My personal email is SkepticX@... and has been since the early ‘90s—since there have been civilian interwebs, basically—so how is that any different than using my real name in RL? Am I avoiding the Forum Police or something? When and where would interwebs fora ever intersect with RL such that this could even be an issue?

i.e. ...

Can you make a case there’s any actual substance behind this issue you seem to have with handles?

 
 
bigredfutbol
 
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bigredfutbol
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07 April 2011 14:38
 

As long as people post in online forums from their work PCs on company time, there will be ample justification for online usernames.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think it’s time for my lunch break.

 
 
Jefe
 
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Jefe
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07 April 2011 16:29
 
Jason Williams - 07 April 2011 01:30 PM

My reasoning for the idea about ownership, and therefore having ones true identity, comes from discussions I have had on the forums on CBC.ca (news website on Canada), specifically debates with a creationist who went by the handle Reasons2Believe.  When finally challenged by another poster who was also tired of his relgionist tripe to have him/herself identify who they were to stand by their comments (as well as the other regular posters in the forum) the person refused to for fear of reprimand, whilst the rest of us went ahead and showed ourselves. 
...

However, if a person is not willing to take complete ownership of them by a willingness, if asked, to identify themselves then I believe that the overall validity of any argument is degraded, if only slightly (not completely).  Take into consideration my poor argument and, as you pointed out, juvenile posturing.  I take ownership of what I wrote, and realize that I errored.  In part because I recognize that I am easily identifiable from my profile and I have to be prepared to accept a rebuke.  I highly doubt that any of you are going to hop in your cars and drive up to my small town in Saskatchewan, but you could if you wanted to, so I have to be willing to accept the results of my posts, and therefore, need to do a good (an apparently better) job of making sure my points are valid and fair.

Allow me to respectfully disagree.

In many cases points will stand on their own by the rules of logic and discourse - and do not necessarily require the personal identification of the person posting them on the internet.  While some public standing is good - and in some posters’ cases allows us to afford them a degree of professional courtesy by the knowledge of their background, this knowledge is not necessary for us to afford their points the status and verisimilitude deserved - if the posts stand up to examination and peer review.

As a professional working in a field that laps the internet in a variety of ways, I personally feel it is appropriate and even prudent for me to shield my identity on this website and to keep a distinct separation between my professional online identity and my shielded online identity - for many reasons, not the least of which include personal and professional security.

Feel free to disagree with me.  Feel free to treat my posts as less valuable than those from folks using real names and identifying their region and professions, if you like.  Makes no matter to me.  But I will stand behind my positions and posts on this forum - made under an intentional pseudonym - a pseudonym of a consistent and unchanging nature, but a pseudonym nonetheless, and made from a position of intentionally sharing limited personal background information.

Regular posters who follow me have been able to gather much about me as a person from my posts, and interactions.  Occasional posters and/or internet stalkers, scraping-scripts, identity-thieves, quote-miners, and other mis-users and abusers of internet data will have a hard time linking my posts here to my various professional online presences…and that suits me just fine.

Not to mention the well understood fact that even though a person declares their identity online, they could still be throwing up a facade of identity that is not accurate or representative of their actual self.  (Note: I’m not accusing you - or anyone else here - of this practice, but it is a well known and documented tactic in the virtual worlds of online chats/forums/newsgroups.)

When it comes to the internet and personal privacy, the old adage “Better safe than sorry” is not a bad starting point.

 
 
SkepticX
 
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SkepticX
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07 April 2011 17:27
 
Jason Williams - 07 April 2011 01:30 PM
SkepticX - 07 April 2011 11:59 AM

It was the school-yard posturing that was infantile though, not the arbitrary perception of identity and ownership you seem to attach to an RL name online.

Fair point, you are correct, the schoolyard posturing was definitely juvenile.  Further to your point, I think that I would be incorrect if I said that someone’s point is not valid just because they post it behind the vail of a pseudonym.

Which you didn’t ... kind of like the whole issue that developed early in the Burning Koran Screen Saver? topic (confusing your position against heedlessly burning the Koran in general for defending the religion and/or political correctness).

 

Jason Williams - 07 April 2011 01:30 PM

My reasoning for the idea about ownership, and therefore having ones true identity, comes from discussions I have had on the forums on CBC.ca (news website on Canada), specifically debates with a creationist who went by the handle Reasons2Believe.  When finally challenged by another poster who was also tired of his relgionist tripe to have him/herself identify who they were to stand by their comments (as well as the other regular posters in the forum) the person refused to for fear of reprimand, whilst the rest of us went ahead and showed ourselves.  Subsequently, the website has changed forum rules and dose not allow discussion on controversial issues (although I do not believe this came about because of that particular debate but was due to constant violations by posters on the site in general).

That doesn’t sound like a case in which the creationist was hesitant because he didn’t want to take ownership of his position, but rather because he was concerned about actual reprisals. Consider that position in a very different context—gay rights, or even “New” Atheism. It’s a very different thing for anonymity to give someone the cover to spout off, and anonymity protecting someone for suffering actual reprisals for advocating a given position.

I don’t see the relevance between that case and what’s going on in here in any case.

 

Jason Williams - 07 April 2011 01:30 PM

Regardless, the medium is the message.  Take into consideration what has happened to Al Gore’s arguments about Global Warming and Climate Change due to inherent hipocracy on his part.  The question becomes, is his point no longer valid because of who he is, or do his points hold merit, but he is the one who has no credibility.  ie, if Al Gore is a hipocrit does this mean Global Warming is a farce, or, more correctly, is Al Gore just a hipocrit.  Turn that around and say then that his points and the science they are based on is correct, but if he were not viewed as a hipocrit then his points would have even more merit.

Again ... relevance?

 

Jason Williams - 07 April 2011 01:30 PM

So therefore, points may be clear, well thought out and valid.  However, if a person is not willing to take complete ownership of them by a willingness, if asked, to identify themselves then I believe that the overall validity of any argument is degraded, if only slightly (not completely).  Take into consideration my poor argument and, as you pointed out, juvenile posturing.  I take ownership of what I wrote, and realize that I errored.  In part because I recognize that I am easily identifiable from my profile and I have to be prepared to accept a rebuke.  I highly doubt that any of you are going to hop in your cars and drive up to my small town in Saskatchewan, but you could if you wanted to, so I have to be willing to accept the results of my posts, and therefore, need to do a good (an apparently better) job of making sure my points are valid and fair.

I don’t think there would be any difference at all if you were to “take ownership” as Jason Williams or FunkyTrucker42 or JoeBlowMoFo (etc). Your online moniker still IDs you online just as much as your real name does, for all intents and purposes (the rare exception would be if you happen to deal with someone in here in RL, but even in that improbable and unique case it’s still unlikely there would be any realm overlap—that your real name would ID you whereas, of course, your use of an online handle would preserve your anonymity).

So, again, relevance?

 

Jason Williams - 07 April 2011 01:30 PM

Ultimately, I believe we are all on the same page and should work together to develop sound and coherent arguments for secularism and reason.  This is why I chose to come to this forum, and as such, I welcome criticism and comments.  One way to continue to learn and grow is to make mistakes (ie bad or foolish aruments in my case) and then to learn from them when pointed out.  I recognize I am in not way a skilled debator in the vein of some of the posters in this forum, and from them, I hope to read and hone my own skills.

Well, Jason, in spite of the fact that I have no idea who you are I tend to agree here. And in spite of the fact that you don’t know who I am (as SkepticX or as Byron Smith) I invite you to treat my comments and positions and arguments as any other comments or positions or arguments. I appreciate criticism as well, particularly if it allows me to correct an error, but also if it allows me to explain or illuminate or illustrate and promote better understanding, personal, general or whatever.

Welcome aboard! by the way ... and watch Jefe, man. The dude’s a freakin’ animal. He’ll lull you into a false sense of security and then strike and take out your throat before you realize anything’s at all out of the ordinary. It’s pretty ugly.

 
 
GAD
 
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GAD
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08 April 2011 13:59
 

Don’t under estimate anonymity, just ask the millions of people who have been victimized by posting personal information on the web or our host Sam Harris who has to travels with bodyguards.