Anti-pseudonym bingo

This article originally appeared on Geek Feminism.

People testing the Google+ social network are discussing increasing evidence that, terms of service requirement or not, Google+ wants people to use their legal names much as Facebook does. Skud shares a heads-up from a user banned for using his initials. Then, for example, see discussion around it on Mark Cuban’s stream, Skud’s stream and Sarah Stokely’s blog.

Let’s recap really quickly: wanting to and being able to use your legal name everywhere is associated with privilege. Non-exhaustive list of reasons you might not want to use it on social networks: everyone knows you by a nickname; you want everyone to know you by a nickname; you’re experimenting with changing some aspect of your identity online before you do it elsewhere; online circles are the only place it’s safe to express some aspect of your identity, ever; your legal name marks you as a member of a group disproportionately targeted for harassment; you want to say things or make connections that you don’t want to share with colleagues, family or bosses; you hate your legal name because it is shared with an abusive family member; your legal name doesn’t match your gender identity; you want to participate in a social network as a fictional character; the mere thought of your stalker seeing even your locked down profile makes you sick; you want to create a special-purpose account; you’re an activist wanting to share information but will be in danger if identified; your legal name is imposed by a legal system that doesn’t match your cultureā€¦ you know, stuff that only affects a really teeny minority numerically, and only a little bit, you know? (For more on the issue in general, see On refusing to tell you my name and previous posts on this site.)

Anyway, in honour of round one million of forgetting about all of this totally, I bring you anti-pseudonymity bingo!
5x5 bingo card with anti-pseudonymity arguments
Text version at bottom of post.

What squares would you add? Continue reading “Anti-pseudonym bingo”

Nick change administrivia

Way back in high school, I sat in a maths classroom in front of a information sheet about historical women mathematicians. (Only six of them? I asked, but my maths teacher was used to better trolls than I.) But when I first got online and had to choose a nick, I tended to choose ‘Hypatia’.

For various reasons, I’ve been really inconsistent about using it over about the past five years, and it’s become increasingly associated with the much more consistent Leigh Honeywell. Which was all right for a while too but now Leigh and I have more overlapping online circles, and much as I’d like to issue a challenge to a duel over something some day, I just don’t think this is that issue or Leigh my fated opponent.

‘puzzlement’ was originally the name Jeff Waugh gave my long running online diary, but I’ve been using it first on Livejournal, later on and Twitter and other sites, on and off since 2004. It’s the closest thing I have to a real nick. Since this change is therefore largely complete, I’m changing my IRC nick and usernames on nick-using sites that will let me change to ‘puzzlement’, or, where I have to, some closely related variant. On blogs where I write or comment as ‘Mary’ I will largely keep doing so.