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 identi.ca 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.