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 culture… 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!
Text version at bottom of post.
What squares would you add?
Quick review of bingo: the idea is to play it against a commenter or a comment thread. A full row or column wins! (The free square is a giveaway.)
Also, yes, thank you, we are aware that a bingo card does not constitute a logical reasoned argument. You could, if you like, use it as a clue that we’ve heard some of your ideas before though.
Sharing notes: you can use this under public domain/Creative Commons Zero, that is, for any purpose, without attribution or sharing alike, or with it, as you choose. Here’s an SVG version.
|Correctly identifying and banning pseudonym use is easy.||Sorry, gotta stop spam!||All possible uses of multiple accounts are sockpuppeting.||What, you don’t want your friends and family to find you on our site?||My online culture uses real names exclusively.|
|No wonder your minority group is invisible here, if none of you use your names.||No one will harass/intimidate you using their legal name!||Reputation and legal names go together.||“It’s harder to find people under their legal names!”—Joe Smith||What do you have to hide?|
|Why can’t you be honest and faithful to who you are?||If pseudonyms are used, they should be officially registered.||FREE SQUARE: “don’t be evil”||People have a right to know who they are dealing with!||Sorry, gotta stop sockpuppets!|
|Online harassment? Never heard of it. Don’t believe you.||Only needed by men pretending to be women.||What about the children?||I asked my friends and none of us have any problem with it.||If you don’t want your boss and family to see it, don’t say it online.|
|They have your IP address, why even bother?||Refuse to live in fear.||I will never trust anyone using a pseudonym.||Widespread use of pseudonyms has never worked anywhere.||Harassment is illegal; use of legal names will let you report it to the cops.|