Pseudonymity and Multiple personas
References for Supporting diversity with a new approach to software
Who needs it the most? People who are targets of abuse and harassment; people whose names subject them to discrimination; activists; people speaking about sexual activities; people with employers who restrict their speech; people with different professional and personal personas; and many more -- see Geek Feminism’s Who is harmed by a real names policy.
Who else benefits? People who want to explore new personas. Writers, artists, performers, or others who use a “professional” name.
Pseudonymity is a great example of where it already is simpler to implement a diversity-friendly solution: let people choose whatever names they want without trying to enforce restrictions. There are still hard problems (impersonation; trolls, harassers, spammers, politicians creating sock puppets) but trying to ban pseudonyms doesn’t actually help.
- let people choose whatever names they want without trying to enforce restrictions
- allow multiple personas
- Have explicit policies about whether multiple personas of the same person can participate in a single discussion (or “like” each other’s posts, etc.)
OS Bridge sessions
Geek Feminism’s Who is harmed by a real names policy
The Real Name Fallacy, by J. Nathan Mathias on the Coral Project's blog
Digital Social Norm Enforcement: Online Firestorms in Social Media, Katja Rost, Lea Stahel, Bruno S. Frey, PLOS One; summarized in Internet trolls are even more hostile when they’re using their real names, a study finds, Michael J. Coren, Quartz
Nymwars, on Liminal States, has links to perspectives from Kathy Sierra ("keep the pseudonyms, lose the assholes"), s.e. smith of Tiger Beatdown, Denise Paolucci of Dreamwidth, Latoya Peterson of Racialicious, Caterina Fake of flickr, danah body of Microsoft Research, Kaliya (aka Identity Woman), and more