"Real" Names Only?

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Postby Dustin Stinett » 01/29/03 10:21 PM

Okay: Just to see where the tide is on this, I'm taking a poll on how important the "real name" issue is. Keep in mind that this is unofficial. It's not a vote for an actual change in policy.
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/30/03 10:02 AM

I think in order to vote you should put your REAL NAME in... :)
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Postby Guest » 01/30/03 11:14 AM

This is becoming more an issue with other forums as well, due to "those" (we needn't name anyone in particular that may be suffering from a multiple personality obsession)that come in under various guises just for the sake of creating controversey. Sure, I've been known on most forums as "Darmoe" for over 3 years now but then too, most folks know who that is... now days at least. :D

But for the sake of security as well as moderator/administrator sanity (been there, done that) real names gets my vote (along with a more in-depth profile system that denotes a person's experience and age factor so you know "who" you are talking to, so to speak.)
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 01/30/03 11:29 AM

Many argue that "security" demands anonymity on the Internet. The less personal information exposed (in the form of "profiles") the better.

In my opinion, administrator "sanity" (clearly in question, given that I agreed to this) only requires that people behave civilly, regardless of the names(s) they choose to use.

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Postby Guest » 01/30/03 01:51 PM

I prefer real names to monikers, but I don't see much value in trying to enforce it. If someone uses a handle but makes intelligent posts consistently, what's the problem? In the age of Total Information Awareness, who can blame them for at least attemping to inject a little anonymity to their web presence?
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Postby Jeff Eline » 01/30/03 02:03 PM

I wish people would use their real names, but I don't think there is any reasonable way to enforce it.
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Postby Guest » 01/30/03 02:58 PM

Originally posted by Craig Browning:
[...]Sure, I've been known on most forums as "Darmoe" for over 3 years now but then too, most folks know who that is... now days at least.[...]
Actually, I had no idea of your real name, though your obvious knowledge of illusion constuction and performance has led me - over time - to give your posts much more consideration than I ordinarily would for a pseudonym.

Personally I have a few reasons for disliking pseudonyms; among them:

1) Imagine for a moment there was a book being advertised that was billed as the "greatest magic book ever", but it was written by "anonymous". I think most readers would be unwilling to buy it without giving it a thorough examination, or at least getting the reliable opinion of someone who HAS checked it out. With forum postings, there is no similar way to check out the material before wasting one's time reading the worthless ramblings of a "dai vernon" or "marlofan". Wishing to preserve as much of my free time as possible, I routinely ignore or skim over anonymous posts; experience has shown me that the yield of gold vs. mud is way too low to actually read them through.

2) When someone posts with their real name it gives the reader an opportunity to evaluate the post based on past record, OUTSIDE of the realm of a given forum. Believe it or not, just because "dai vernon" has posted here 300 times does not mean I am likely to having any immediate interest in what he has to say. On the other hand I'll gladly read Max Maven's opinon (Or Phil Goldstiein's for that matter).

3) Anonymous posters have the freedom - and regularly exercise it - to be as "nasty as they wanna be", because they really have no one to answer to. I am as strongly opinionated as anyone here, but I know I still have to be accountable for my actions because a lot people know who I am. If "marlofan" wants to go off the deep end, who we gonna call - Ghostbusters?

The argument has been offered that anyone can make up a "real" sounding name if they want to, so what good is trying to require real names of our posters. I agree; there is no way to enforce such a rule. Instead, I urge all right-minded memebers to give little or no credence to anonymous posters. As I've said before, I assign them as much value as I do the scribblings on the wall of the men's room stalls (except that the men's room often yields a better percentage of wisdom)

Regards,
Thomas Wayne
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Postby Guest » 01/30/03 03:27 PM

Just a thought, but some online BBS boards offer a version of a killfile feature in which an individual user who didn't want to read any given member's posts could click a button and that person's posts would never appear.

I don't know if this feature is available in UBB, the software that runs the Genii Forum, but if it were it might allow each of us to solve the anonymous poster problem individually, as we saw fit, on a member-by-member basis.

Just thinking.
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Postby John LeBlanc » 01/30/03 04:49 PM

Originally posted by Thomas Wayne:
As I've said before, I assign them as much value as I do the scribblings on the wall of the men's room stalls (except that the men's room often yields a better percentage of wisdom)
A character in one of Stephen King's short stories found in "Everything's Eventual" collected men's room wisdom in a notebook. I wrote Stephen suggesting he should publish that man's book, but the amount of research a project like that requires put that idea in the toil... Er, never mind.

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Postby Guest » 01/30/03 04:55 PM

What about stage names, esspecially for famous folks?
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Postby Guest » 01/30/03 07:08 PM

Until someone could guarantee me that identity theft wouldn't occur, I wouldn't ever use my full name on any public internet site. In a world where identity theft occurs more and more each day, with more and more thefts occuring from the internet, I'd be careful about it.

I'm on a cable modem and I get, on average, about 15 alerts from my firewall each day where some program or someone is trying to get into my computer. If people are actively trying to get in and figure out who I am, why would I want to give them an advantage. Keep in mind, this site maps IP addresses. Put that IP address and a name and you're starting to have enough information to be able to head down a path. You would then know an identity and a ISP. A little tracking and you've got the area or region, and within 10 minutes, I've got some information on you.

I don't like that. Sure, things can be stolen 100 different ways, but I'm not going to openly hand someone my identity on a public board, where most people lurk and watch. How many times have you joined a board and then someone's "spammed" everyone on the board?

I know, it's paranoia at it's best, but it pays to be paranoid when dealing with your identity, in my opinion.

Just my thoughts on the subject. It has nothing to do with wanting to remain anonymous to anyone on the board and it has nothing to do with wanting to be able to say things I wouldn't normally say.

That's only my case, I can't speak for others.
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Postby John LeBlanc » 01/30/03 09:25 PM

Originally posted by Scott:
Until someone could guarantee me that identity theft wouldn't occur, I wouldn't ever use my full name on any public internet site. In a world where identity theft occurs more and more each day, with more and more thefts occuring from the internet, I'd be careful about it.
Short of digging a hole and living in it, there is nothing you can do that can save you from identity theft. Nothing.

If you use your credit card for a transaction, the details are most likely stored on a database. How safe is that database when some low level IT geek gets his pink slip and gets pissed, too?

Where do you think your credit information is stored for your utility company? Phone company? Mortgage company or apartment rental office? Any of that information can be bundled up and sold to the highest bidder by someone who makes $10 an hour and has an ax to grind.

Having my name spread on the Internet far and wide is the least of my worries.


I'm on a cable modem and I get, on average, about 15 alerts from my firewall each day where some program or someone is trying to get into my computer. If people are actively trying to get in and figure out who I am, why would I want to give them an advantage. Keep in mind, this site maps IP addresses. Put that IP address and a name and you're starting to have enough information to be able to head down a path. You would then know an identity and a ISP. A little tracking and you've got the area or region, and within 10 minutes, I've got some information on you.
First, if you're on a cable modem, poke out the extra $100 for a Microsoft Router/Access Point and use that as your firewall. If you've acquired that weird anti-Microsoft disease, there's Linksys. Anyone who'd directly connect to a cable modem a computer running Windows or Linux (set up by a non-Linux administrator level person) is nuts. NVTS, nuts.

As to the rest of it, I'm not sure what you think you're hiding from, but you're not going to get it done. The Internet is not a closed, private system. It's like an open river and anything flowing in the water can be viewed by someone with the will and knowledge how.

Besides, why the paranoia? If you're that concerned about your privacy, you shouldn't be using the Internet at all. If you think your ISP isn't cataloging your requests, you'd better think again.

It gets even more interesting (disturbing) if you are an AOL subscriber.


I know, it's paranoia at it's best, but it pays to be paranoid when dealing with your identity, in my opinion.
I've had my identity stolen and it didn't have anything to do with using my name for years and years on the Internet. No doubt it's a PITA when it happens, but there's not much you can do short of calling up each of the credit reporting agencies and putting fraud alerts on each of them. (Not a bad idea anyway.)

But, if paranoia makes you feel better, don't let me stand in your way.

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Postby Guest » 01/31/03 05:27 AM

There's a major difference, in my opinion, between a serious hacker who can break into a bank's database to steal information and some punk who doesn't have anything else to do after school until Mom gets home.

That's the one I'm more concerned about. Being on the internet is a risk, no doubt, and as with any risk, you have to take measures to protect yourself to a level you're comfortable with, and I personally am not comfortable with putting my identity on the internet.

Some people don't mind giving someone a credit card and watching them throw the carbon in the trash. It doesn't bother them. It bothers me enough so that I don't use credit cards.

I'm not saying anyone should or shouldn't put their name on the internet. It's a decision you have to make, and that's based on your comfort level with providing as much information as you are comfortable giving out.

I find it slightly fascinating that people discount posts by people who choose to remain anonymous. I guess those are the same people who will discount their wife's driving directions when sitting in the car, and then go ask a complete stranger on a street corner for help on finding something. Do you know the mechanics name who worked on your car at the dealership? No? So, it's okay to take advice and spend money based on the recommendation of a stranger when it comes to your family's safety, but not when it's magic related?

I'm confused. Surely, someone will enlighten me though!

All still just my opinion.
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Postby John LeBlanc » 01/31/03 06:05 AM

Originally posted by Scott:
I find it slightly fascinating that people discount posts by people who choose to remain anonymous. I guess those are the same people who will discount their wife's driving directions when sitting in the car, and then go ask a complete stranger on a street corner for help on finding something.
I am facinated by non sequiturs.

Do you know the mechanics name who worked on your car at the dealership? No? So, it's okay to take advice and spend money based on the recommendation of a stranger when it comes to your family's safety, but not when it's magic related?
Interesting attempt, but it fails on several accounts.

First, when I bring my car in to the dealership, if I want to talk directly to the mechanic, I can. And I assure you he won't walk in wearing a clown nose hidden by a brown paper bag over his head.

If I chose, he will be required to identify himself to me and demonstrate his qualifications before putting tool one on my car.

Do you have the equivalent ability here on Genii when dealing with pseudo-anonymous posters? No, you do not.

Secondly, that mechanic has (or damned well better have) sewn on the arm of his shirt several patches that indicate a level of proficiency at working on my car. I can see them if I want to.

Does this mean he is incapable of making a mistake? Of course not. But those patches (and the attendant certificates gracing the dealership wall) indicate he has taken -- and can demonstrate he has taken -- steps to make himself proficient in his chosen career path.

Where can you find the equivalent here on the Genii Forum when dealing with pseudo-anonymous posters? You can't.

At least if one uses his real name on Genii, comments and qualifications can be more easily assigned significance. I know that concept positively vexes some people, especially those who can type a good game, but certain persons have earned the spotlight that is naturally drawn on their remarks.

If Max Maven says something about magic, to my mind it carries roughly the same level of significance as does the Bible to a Christian. That's because Max has demonstrated beyond any shadow of any doubt I might have that he knows what he's talking about when it comes to magic and the performance of magic. He's over his widow's peak in "patches".

In my opinion, comments by IDoMagk4U, on the other hand, carry about as much weight as a bottomless sack.

All still just my opinion.
Same here.

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Postby Guest » 01/31/03 07:42 AM

Interesting John, and I apprecitate it's your opinion and I'm impressed that you are allowing me to share my opinion without you saying "You're wrong".

I'm far from the best at coming up with real examples, but I'll ask you to play devil's advocate for a minute and see if you can come up with real life examples that are contrary to your initial thoughts. You are very articulate and I'd be curious to see what you can come up with that parallels the opposite of your original posts (if you have a minute).

Sure, you can ask to meet the mechanic, but my point was that people don't generally do this. They assume a stranger did them right, and leave it at that. That was my point, not rather to say that it's impossible to know who worked on your car.

Perhaps making a hamburger would be a better example. You don't know who made your hamburger at Carl's, but you eat it. You can't pinpoint who made it once it's in a wrapper and on your tray. But you eat it (and it's good). So you'll ingest food made by a stranger who makes $6 an hour, but you (not you personally), won't listen to someone without a real name on magic.

Perhaps I'm one of the most creative people in magic. Maybe I was a child prodigy and have been studying magic for 30 years, and I'm the "Dai Vernon" of modern days (yeah, I know, it didn't even feel right typing that and I'll probably be struck dead by a lightening bolt), but you may never know if you discount my willingness to stay anonymous on the internet. I just think that'a shame. Surely, I hang on every work Max Maven says as well, but I also enjoy reading creative, helpful posts by whoever posts them.

The internet is full of idiots and I can't stop that. You'll always have people trying to trash a board. It happens to all boards and most of the times, the people get bored and go away, as it's just a game to them.

But I do enjoy reading good posts and I learn from them, regardless of whether "IdoMajik4U" posted them.

I consider it a "Right to Privacy" issue rather than a credibility issue. And it doesn't bother me that you (again, not you personally) don't read what I say because I'm anonymous. It's a shame in my opinion, but it doesn't bother me. It's your right to ignore me (as many do inside and outide of magic, in fact, my wife is an expert at it).

Thanks for the reply.
Scott
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Postby Guest » 01/31/03 09:36 AM

I guess S.W.Erdnase wouldn't be too welcome on Internet forums.
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Postby Guest » 01/31/03 11:12 AM

1) Imagine for a moment there was a book being advertised that was billed as the "greatest magic book ever", but it was written by "anonymous".

Regards,
Thomas Wayne
[/QUOTE]

:( Unfortunately I've fallen into that situation of late... the book series I'm currently working on (actual effects for a change ;) ) is entitled "Darmoes'... by Craig Browning so folks can associate a bit better.

[sorry, we don't have a release date thus far... probably late fall of this year at the earliest.]
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Postby Guest » 01/31/03 01:10 PM

Well, I voted. So what happens if the nickname nazi's win? (it apparently looks so). For a lark, I checked out my profile. Would I have to re-register in order to show my 'real' name (Jack Przybylowicz)? It's a shame to have to make others type my last name, but, if that's what the masses want.....
Oh, incidently, TiJean is French for 'Little Jack'
I just assumed that it would be no problem to use my 'nickname'. Stupid me, assuming.

So what happens now?
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 01/31/03 02:00 PM

TiJean,

Nothing happens. This was done to satisfy my curiosity only. Richard had nothing to do with it and I'm pretty sure he has already made up his mind on the issue (per the last time we went through this). Unless he decides to change his mind, everything will stay the way it is.

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Postby Guest » 01/31/03 03:49 PM

TiJean:

Don't you worry, no one will have to type your last name. No one will direct a post to you at all if you use terms like "nazi" as an insult in situations like this.

Pete
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/31/03 06:27 PM

I will repeat my stance again for those of you who seemingly have not absorbed it: there is no way, NO WAY, for us to require people to use their real names.
Many of us DO use our real names and we have no paranoia about people doing anything to us because of it.
But YOU are free to do as you wish and use any name you like as long as you behave while participating in our discussions.
So, I'm sorry to say that the poll in this thread is a pointless exercise because it DOES NOT MATTER what anyone wants, either way. There simply IS no way for use to require the use of real names.
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Postby Guest » 01/31/03 07:06 PM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
There simply IS no way for use to require the use of real names.
Unless...you make the Forum an add-on benefit of subscribing to the magazine. At that point, each subscriber is given an ID number and password that identifies them by their real name when they log on.

Now, I'm not a subscriber, and initially at least, I'd lose the benefits associated with posting or even reading stuff here. But from a marketing point of view, maybe that's not a bad thing. And it would certainly solve what some perceive as a problem, as it added value to subscribing to Genii.
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Postby John LeBlanc » 01/31/03 08:01 PM

Originally posted by Steve Friedberg:
Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
[b]There simply IS no way for use to require the use of real names.
Unless...you make the Forum an add-on benefit of subscribing to the magazine. At that point, each subscriber is given an ID number and password that identifies them by their real name when they log on.

Now, I'm not a subscriber, and initially at least, I'd lose the benefits associated with posting or even reading stuff here. But from a marketing point of view, maybe that's not a bad thing. And it would certainly solve what some perceive as a problem, as it added value to subscribing to Genii.[/b]
Sure, from a marketing standpoint. But I think you're missing the bigger picture.

My guess is lots of people would agree with me that the Genii Forum is more than a house organ for Genii Magazine. It has helped fill that awful hole left when GeMiNi bit the dust. It brings together a mix of magicians you will not find anywhere else on the Internet.

This place lives and breathes as a community. It's one of the precious few magic boards that actually is magical.

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Postby Guest » 02/04/03 02:20 PM

I agree, John....This is a great magic forum, and people who use it should use their real names...opie
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