Author Topic: Anonymity vs Real Identity  (Read 2557 times)

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Offline Mylo

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Anonymity vs Real Identity
« on: August 23, 2011, 12:17:35 am »
There are a lot of conflicting views on what your identity should be on the Internet.  I've found two articles that argue for two vastly different forms of online identity:

People should use their real names online
People should be anonymous online

Taking into account all the advantages and flaws of each stance, which one do you think is the better idea?

Offline Yip

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Re: Anonymity vs Real Identity
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2011, 12:45:00 am »
There are places where having something directly associated with you are important, but there is also a great value in anonymity. It allows freedom to explore where you otherwise wouldn't be able to. For example, it would have been much harder for me to have come to terms with being androphilious if I didn't have the safety of anonymity to explore such things.  There is the downside that it allows people to act like jerks with little to no repercussion, but I would say the positive far outweighs the negative.

Offline Alsek

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Re: Anonymity vs Real Identity
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2011, 01:00:37 am »
People will always act like jerks over the internet,  and in real life.  I know people in real life who will say things to me in email that they wouldn't dare if i were standing right next to them.

Anonymity gives people not only the power to explore but to share ideas that might they might otherwise fear sharing.  It allows for freedom of speach without fear,  which can be a really,  really good thing too.

It's a bit of a double edged sword,  in that while it allows people to speak out against things,  and to spread new ideas without fear,  it also means that people can be crude and inconsiderate without fear.  Personally,  i believe the pros far outweigh the cons.  ;)


That being said, those who want to share their information are also welcome to do so... And many people i know do.

Offline redyoshi49q

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Re: Anonymity vs Real Identity
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2011, 02:23:50 am »
There really is no reason to choose solely one over the other.  One can profess their real identity online and simultaneously act under a completely anonymous identity elsewhere; the two are not mutually exclusive.  Also, one can adopt a persona, which has the unifying effect of an identity yet the personal separation of anonymity; again, this option is not mutually exclusive with the ones before.

I don't think the question should be "Which one of these two is better in general?", but rather "What place between these two extremes is most appropriate for various tasks?"

Having said that, I personally find the two extremes to be the most frightening.  Professing too much of your real life identity online leads to the risk of harassment and worse, and attempting to put aside your identity completely comes with the risk of also putting aside the important parts of your identity, such as your morals, empathy, sense of self, and independent thought.  Being somewhere in the middle, therefore, really is a must.

(I must admit that I have not yet read the articles; I plan on reading them later)
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Offline Alsek

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Re: Anonymity vs Real Identity
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2011, 02:42:43 am »
Redyoshi,  i believe the topic of debate is RealID as a forced policy.

Offline Mylo

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Re: Anonymity vs Real Identity
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2011, 11:58:17 pm »
I probably should have been more specific. 

There are several people who believe that people should use their real life identity online at all times.  There are also people who disagree, believing that anonymity is an important part of the online experience.  The articles talk about their defense of their stances.

There are certain online services that require a real identity (banking, etc).  The question I am asking is which one do you think is the best for general online presence if you had to choose between anonymity and real identity?  Keep in mind that everyone in the world would have to follow this stance.   

Offline Fenny the Fox

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Re: Anonymity vs Real Identity
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2011, 03:20:20 pm »
If I am going on, say, a website such as this? I am perfectly comfortable saying who I really am, were anyone to want to know. But at the same time, I feel that it is not in my best interest to put it out in the open as a default - kind of a "ask and I will tell, otherwise we will leave it at a nickname".

So I suppose, by default, I set to anonymity. Not putting real info out in the open online.

Why? Comfort and security. Simple as that. If I am relatively anonymous, then I have no problem with harassment, stalking, generally creepy-ness, etc. [which I have had some issue with IRL when not being anonymous].

But, don't take that as a general answer for my opinion for all people. I feel that both have a place, both have advantages and disadvantages. In some case I feel it best to go with openness, in others to default to anonymity.

[Yes, I am being purposefully indecisive. Sorry.]
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Offline Ziel

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Re: Anonymity vs Real Identity
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2011, 10:59:29 pm »
Is 'consistent anonymity' an option?

I've gone by Ziel or Zielmann for about 4 years at this point. My friends and family all know this, and I respond to Ziel almost better now than I do to my real name.

So my online presence pretty much anywhere is under this name. Partially because I'm just too lazy to come up with and remember a different username >.>

The result is that if my family/friends really felt like doing so, they could find me because they know my internet 'identity'. But it doesn't really work the other way around. I don't give my real full name out, so it would be difficult for somebody who only knows me as Zielmann to find my real identity.

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Offline Mylo

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Re: Anonymity vs Real Identity
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2011, 12:09:08 am »
Is 'consistent anonymity' an option?

I've gone by Ziel or Zielmann for about 4 years at this point. My friends and family all know this, and I respond to Ziel almost better now than I do to my real name.

So my online presence pretty much anywhere is under this name. Partially because I'm just too lazy to come up with and remember a different username >.>

The result is that if my family/friends really felt like doing so, they could find me because they know my internet 'identity'. But it doesn't really work the other way around. I don't give my real full name out, so it would be difficult for somebody who only knows me as Zielmann to find my real identity.

See, that's the same with me...I use the name Mylo everywhere, but I don't link it with any of my IRL information.  That also brings up another question, which I'll make a separate post about...

EDIT: Here's the post: http://forums.furtopia.org/index.php?topic=42173.0
« Last Edit: August 25, 2011, 12:39:26 am by Mylo »

Offline Foxpup

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Re: Anonymity vs Real Identity
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2011, 02:41:24 am »
I choose a third option: pseudonymity (which it seems some people are confusing with anonymity). This article pretty much sums up my view of the matter.
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Offline Mylo

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Re: Anonymity vs Real Identity
« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2011, 10:58:04 pm »
I choose a third option: pseudonymity (which it seems some people are confusing with anonymity). This article pretty much sums up my view of the matter.

So pretty much like Furtopia?

Offline Foxpup

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Re: Anonymity vs Real Identity
« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2011, 11:21:23 pm »
I choose a third option: pseudonymity (which it seems some people are confusing with anonymity). This article pretty much sums up my view of the matter.

So pretty much like Furtopia?

Pretty much. Not many people know my real name, and not many people need to. All you know is, this post was written by some guy calling himself Foxpup, all the other posts under that name were written by the same guy, and that's all you need to know. 8)
“Hmm... They have the Internet on computers now.” - Homer Simpson

“Art doesn't work without pain. Art exists for compensating pain.” - Till Lindemann

“There's a fine line between sayings that make sense.” - Too Much Coffee Man