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Pseudonyms — The Real Secret History

PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:59 pm
by jackdaw version
In deference to Kevin's request at http://www.charliegillett.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=54&t=15304&p=86582#p86582 in the Charlie Gillett stage at WOMAD topic, first post at http://www.charliegillett.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=54&t=15304, I continue (and perhaps end, who knows?) the discussion begun by Des concerning the use of pseudonyms.

Significant (and insignificant) points made are recapped here:
Des wrote:A sugggestion, Mr Ant - we're a friendly bunch and it always helps to use your real name.

jackdaw version wrote:Boring.

jackdaw version wrote: [ . . . ]
Maybe it is his real name. Who's to say?

[ . . . ] I think the insistence on real names is bollocks and have for a long, long time. IllegalCombatAnt is a rather cool name, although initially raised a little "is this a spammer?" hackle.

[ . . .]

Hugh Weldon wrote:I agree with Des on that one actually. I never used an alias when I joined here, I never even thought of it, rather childish I would have said if someone suggested I should. I do think a real name adds authority and credibility. Of course there may be professional or other good reasons for withholding, I understand that. But it's interesting to note the majority of regulars feel no need to hide behind pseudonyms and soubriquets.

jackdaw version wrote:For those who forget, pseudonyms and stage names are common in the creative fields and had a particular heyday in the punk era. It is also common in the online world to use pseudonymous screen names. I've used various pseudonyms since punk times and feel absolutely no need to conform to this idea that one must have one "real" name and always use it. If that's the rule you want to follow for yourself, fine — but, honestly, bar a few professionals who have a public body of work to be judged by, I have no "real" idea who people are here. They are only apparent names, some might be the name they were born with and that appears in the phone book and is used by the government to identify them for tax purposes while others are just first names, nicknames, names with an initial, and so on. Beyond that, what does it mean that you're called Hugh Weldon or, say, Rob Hall? I don't know that that's your real name. It just looks like a normal name. Maybe you're really Fred Jones. Would it make any difference? I find it hard to see how the answer can be other than 'No!"

Des wrote:I think Ian A encourages fRoots forum members to use real names and it always seems friendlier to do so in my very 'umble opinion.

When I saw Dominic and Chris Potts at Womad at the weekend I was glad I didn't have to say 'how's it going, Cosmic Militant Thunderthighs' to either of them.

IllegalCombatAnt wrote:Oh dear, I never meant to ruffle any feathers ;)

I always use a pseudonym on internet forums, as jv says, this is the internet... are there any real names on t'internet? How would we know?

I never use a hotmail account to sign up though, always a kosher one. If anyone doubts my motives feel free to PM me. But remember this is the internet.

[ . . . ]
Ant.

[ . . . ]

jackdaw version wrote:
Des wrote:I think Ian A encourages fRoots forum members to use real names and it always seems friendlier to do so in my very 'umble opinion.

When I saw Dominic and Chris Potts at Womad at the weekend I was glad I didn't have to say 'how's it going, Cosmic Militant Thunderthighs' to either of them.

It's one thing when Ian A. asks it right up front from the beginning in his own forum — but that rule was never enunciated by the guv'nor here.

I have no idea how the correlation between screen names and what one uses in real life goes. Lots of people use different nicknames, or even real names, under different situations or with different crowds.

And, Des, I gotta say there's a lot more to being friendly than using a real name. Something you might remember next time you feel whatever it is that causes you to post so many obnoxious bits of nonsense.

The ultimate irony is that I'm pretty sure it was from Des that I got the idea of changing names and locations!

And so, to get to the point I really wish to make:

Upon further misty-eyed reminiscence with me, myself and I, it is 100% guaranteed, absolute real fact, not just "pretty sure", that I got the idea from Des of using different names and locations on this forum. For whatever reason he saw fit at the time, he was the original executor of the concept, changing his name almost daily. I remember him as Bozo Bingtrousers, Nurse! The Curtains!, and something like Phoaarr!!!! as well as others that were less noteworthy. And, I might ask myself, why do I clutter my brain up with these?

So, now we get the sanctimonious smugness of the reformed sinner preaching loudly and attempting to impose on others rules, unexpressed rules at that, that he himself saw fit to ignore, even trample over, when it suited him.

One might ask whether there is more integrity in using one name and being an inconsistent character or in using a variety of pseudonyms to express the differing aspects of one's personality — and, don't fool yourselves, no one is consistent in their character all the time. One might also ask if I should ever have thought of Des as a role model, but I fear I would come out looking very bad if that became public knowledge.

Re: Pseudonyms — The Real Secret History

PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:12 pm
by Bozo Bingtrousers
You're looking bad anyway, you scruffy, ratty, stupid old bird. Never mind that Des set a bad example and is now reformed. He is a fine and upright citizen and deserves the respect of all. Why you have to dredge up this prehistoric old stuff, I don't know. It's not funny. Everyone makes mistakes when they're young. Even Des has moved on from Cosmic Militant Thunderthighs to FlatulentClimax. You know that ever increasing maturity like that doesn't come easily, especially in his case. In your case, it's probably utterly impossible — so shut up now and let me go back to sleep before I have to bing you. And you don't want to know what a bing means to Bozo Bingtrousers!

Re: Pseudonyms — The Real Secret History

PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:26 pm
by jackdaw version
Not you again! I think I'll croak.

Re: Pseudonyms — The Real Secret History

PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:41 pm
by Alan Balfour
This is the only internet discussion forum where I use my name. Why? I suppose because I knew the individual behind the enterprise and therefore felt safe to do so.

At other internet music forums I use pseudonyms Sam Hopkins (as in Lightnin'), Ben Covington (a 1920s blues artist who recorded as Bogus Ben Covington) or Bunker Hill (whose records have been discussed at SOTW) and everywhere else, Tristam Shandy!

Paranoid? moi? Perish the thought.....

Re: Pseudonyms — The Real Secret History

PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:55 pm
by jackdaw version
And we are relatively nice here most of the time — yet basically anyone can read whatever you write here and, as we unfortunately saw late last year, the forum was wide open enough to be cracked pretty badly. Posting here shows up on Google, sometimes pretty high. So, the apparent safety is, I think, a little more apparent than would be ideal if you worry about that. Not that I wish to encourage you to be paranoid . . .

Personally, I like the mystery behind some of the names, even some of the normal and short ones. I wonder who they really are, not so much in the sense of where they live but how their lives are, how they got where they are, what floats their boat. And when someone posts enough a certain picture forms in my head AND IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT THEIR NAME IS!

Re: Pseudonyms — The Real Secret History

PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:31 am
by judith
Alan Balfour wrote:This is the only internet discussion forum where I use my name. Why? I suppose because I knew the individual behind the enterprise and therefore felt safe to do so.

At other internet music forums I use pseudonyms Sam Hopkins (as in Lightnin'), Ben Covington (a 1920s blues artist who recorded as Bogus Ben Covington) or Bunker Hill (whose records have been discussed at SOTW) and everywhere else, Tristam Shandy!

Paranoid? moi? Perish the thought.....


When I first was reading the forum, I was stunned that people used their full names. I had been schooled in internet usage by the generation behind me, the first to grow up with computers in their homes. It began when I signed up for my first email account and was instructed by someone older to use my real name and to fill out forms with accurate information. My son asked, "Why? Make up a name." This appalled the older gentleman and I remember my son asking him why tell everything when you don't even know who they are, they could be using a phony name. To this day I am glad I listened and put in different birth dates and the like (I'm not talking about the IRS here, I'm talking about random stuff) and created names at whim. Back in that day (caution/paranoia aside) who in my generation would have dreamed how the information would come to be used by spammers and worse? There was warning though. It had taken me years to get my parents to not give private information out over the phone or to hang up on telephone marketers. They came from an era if someone called it was out of genuine necessity or if they claimed to be official, they were. Hanging up was an option they hadn't even considered and the perceived rudeness of it was difficult for them to overcome. They had to change their perceptions.

Suffice it to say, in my experience using a pseudonym can merely be an indication that the owner of the internet based pseudonym is younger than myself.

When I first came to the forum and saw the use of real names and occasional email addresses and locations readily available, I didn't know what to think - I wondered if the use of pseudonyms and internet privacy/paranoia an 'American' thing as Americans can be more paranoid due to our proclivity for litigation and distrust of Big Brother and who knows what all else? Like Alan, when I first signed up, I used my real name - though first name only with a somewhat vague location (Jonathan figured out the town I lived in straight off!) - because I trusted Charlie and having read the forum, it felt safe to do so. I really enjoyed (still do) being able read about some of the people I was communicating with, Charlie and his work being the prime example. For me, the use of real names gave an element of liberation which opened up communication and though one would think the opposite would be true, I was uncharacteristically at ease with self-expression.

One could go back and forth on this. On the one side of it, Jonathan is correct. Google brings up many many hits on the forum. On the other, it's a wonderful thing to be able to take/create identities other than those that are written in birth records and deeds. In the end, I don't care one way or the other. Everyone has their own reasons behind what identities they use be they the result of practical/creative requirements or harsh reality (the law on their tail) and that is none of my business...though I do wonder...occasionally...as to the origins...indications...

Re: Pseudonyms — The Real Secret History

PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:57 am
by AndyM
Interesting points, JudithjAs you can see, I go for first name & initial of surname. That made sense when I joined here, as (a) I noted it was a mostly real-names board and (b) as I do write published stuff when the wind's in the right direction I still wanted to be not entirely 'out'. (On reflection the latter is an unedifying mixture of egotism and coyness.)

Other, less reputable websites I frequent are treated to a variety of moderately foolish pseudonyms.

Re: Pseudonyms — The Real Secret History

PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:18 am
by Tom McPhillips
Interesting thread... I used my real name, so I can't go back on that... and with this group I wouldn't want to be some sort of alias anyhow ... (but of course others read this and never post), I felt my real name was already out there, so it was somehow less of a decision... And I'm only nearly famous... but now, as of yesterday I'm enjoying a local fifteen minutes of fame...
http://articles.lancasteronline.com/local/4/269527

I guess this seemed like a place where I'd usually want to be proud of what I wrote, and it was Charlie who inspired that....

I love my miserable life... no wish to hide, least of all here, 'cos this is a pretty formidable peer group innit?

Re: Pseudonyms — The Real Secret History

PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:34 pm
by judith
Tom McPhillips wrote:

I guess this seemed like a place where I'd usually want to be proud of what I wrote, and it was Charlie who inspired that....


Thanks for that comment, Tom. It encapsulates much of what I feel about Charlie and the forum.

Tom McPhillips wrote: as of yesterday I'm enjoying a local fifteen minutes of fame...
http://articles.lancasteronline.com/local/4/269527



Wonderful article, great work. Congratulations!

Re: Pseudonyms — The Real Secret History

PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:00 pm
by jackdaw version
Personally, and only personally, the question of pseudonyms or aliases has nothing to do with hiding or being proud of what I write or security or trust or any of the other issues and/or concerns that have been raised or mentioned. It's just a matter of fun and messing around and playing and seeing what's interesting — or sometimes obnoxious, I'll admit. That's a significant part of internet culture and SotWorld is part of the internet and there's no way around it.

Having watched Inception yesterday (I think . . . I'm pretty sure I did), I'm utterly unworried about the various understandings different people have of what constitutes identity or reality and who's dreaming who in existence (or not). Butterfly or man? I don't care. For some considerable period of time now, it's been completely obvious to me that "reality" is inherently subjective, although there certainly are areas of overlap between individuals, i.e. consensual reality — but even so, we each have our unique subjective understanding of that consensual reality.

Re: Pseudonyms — The Real Secret History

PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:45 pm
by Jarlath
Remember that it is a public forum, open to all to read. On some forums I read people can sometimes forget that fact.

Oh and it is always useful if your parents decided to give you a pseudonym to begin with.

Re: Pseudonyms — The Real Secret History

PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:28 pm
by judith
Jarlath wrote:
Oh and it is always useful if your parents decided to give you a pseudonym to begin with.


Yay! perfect Jarlath. I was just getting ready to post the following then saw your post. It made me laugh at all my seriousness and I wasn't going to post my response but I think I'll go ahead and do so anyway.

I wouldn't think being proud of what one's written and whether it's signed off using a 'real name' are synonymous though I see now from my response to Tom, that's how it looks. Nor would I assume the opposite. Everyone has their own history with this thing called a name and thus, as you say - each has their own understanding of that reality which is in a name and their own relationship with said reality.

Name taking has rarely been consensual, historically speaking. Often, they were taken away or changed, thinking of US immigration as one example of that. Unless one was an artist or writer or in a band, being able to freely create and experiment with one's own name (on the internet) without arousing suspicion (is the public curious about artists et all or suspicious?) is a new thing and goes beyond many former reasons for using aliases and the like nor does it involve complications like legal paperwork or the disgust of relatives. Some find this liberating, some don't. Personally, I enjoy it. You're right, the internet has its own culture.

Subjective and objective reasoning - I had the hardest time making sense of this in school. Still do if I think about it for very long.

Re: Pseudonyms — The Real Secret History

PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 6:06 am
by jackdaw version
judith wrote:[ . . . ]
Subjective and objective reasoning - I had the hardest time making sense of this in school. Still do if I think about it for very long.

That's 'cos it doesn't make sense!