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.)