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[P]
Revealing your identity on the Internet

By communista in Internet
Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 12:58:15 AM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)
Internet

Everyone remembers the joke about meeting someone from the Internet...Subtract 5 years, add 50 pounds...Was it that we were more naive then, or were things just better left unsaid?


Nowadays people consider their chat room/IRC buddies "friends", as we can experience and hear about each other's lives as if it were a real live Truman Show. We know each other's names in some cases, and we pass photos around as if we were at a class reunion. Why is it now less taboo than it was 5 years ago?

Webcams are no longer such a novel thing, as you can peer into the lives of total strangers with the click of a mouse. Are we less conservative now, or are we all just so damn nosy? It's become such an everyday thing to get online and find out what's happening in the world that yesterday's "Ball and Chain" has been replaced with a keyboard and mouse...as we find less and less of a reason for physical interaction.

But how safe is it to divulge your "real" identity? Placing a photo online and interacting with a person through chat and webcams gives viewers a pretty good idea of who you really are...And I think in general that's okay. You have as much (or even less) of coming into danger through an online encounter as you would walking down the street. You're the same person, it's just that online you're hundreds (even thousands) of miles away in most cases.

It's quite possible that this is something the whole world may not be ready for. 5 years from now, meeting someone that you were first introduced to online may be as commonplace as meeting co-workers for coffee. Many of us have probably already met someone from the Internet, but it's also safe to say that many others are totally uncomfortable with the idea.

Admittedly, conversing over the Internet has allowed people to create their own personas. While you may be a social outcast in real life, it's quite possible to attract the attention and admiration on the Internet, from people who may never look at you twice, were you to meet. This can be viewed from several standpoints. On one side, people are giving you acknowledgement, appreciating how sensitive you may be, how smart you are, or how much of a talented writer you are, without placing physical judgements. Alternately, those with the potential to develop into socially interactive beings may never get the chance, for fear of the prejudice and judgement that may be placed on them in the real world. How do you think phone sex operators make such a good living? You didn't really think the woman you were talking to on the phone was a Swedish model with a DD cup, did you?

It could be safe to say that we all interact on some level with total strangers on the internet. By commenting on this article, you're critiquing my work for what it is, not necessarily for who I am. But if you take it a step further by phoning someone, or meeting them in real life...even if you are just considering the idea...How do you feel about revealing your "true" self?

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Poll
When I talk to people on the Internet....
o I hide nothing. I am who I am. 30%
o I don't reveal personal details. 15%
o I interact with people, they just don't know too much about me. 30%
o I have an "identity" that I go by. 9%
o I don't talk to others on the Internet. I'm just here to read. 12%

Votes: 94
Results | Other Polls

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Revealing your identity on the Internet | 26 comments (26 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Hey! (3.18 / 11) (#1)
by Signal 11 on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 10:38:40 PM EST

communista - get the f*ck out of my diary! :D

More seriously, the 'net is a communication tool. It brings people together. I mean, what do you expect when you put together a bunch of twenty-somethings and a communications tool like the 'net (besides getting a lot of talk about sex, that is) ?


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

Oh well (4.20 / 5) (#2)
by titus-g on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 10:55:32 PM EST

guess you haven't read the latest internet usage stats.

Apparently most users are 58 year old hairy beer bellied males with a predilection towards other users with obscure open source error messages as nicks.

I should know :)~~~

(ok I'm bored, it wednesday [possibly])

sowwy 8)

--"Essentially madness is like charity, it begins at home" --
[ Parent ]

Whippersnapper! (4.50 / 2) (#18)
by ucblockhead on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 02:00:35 PM EST

Hey we ain't all twenty-somethings, dagnabbit!

I'm only seven months short of that magic age whereby I can sleep with someone half my age without breaking the law.

I'm married, though, so wouldn't dream of it. [ow] No, really, honey, the thought handn't [ow] crossed [ow!] my mind [ow!, argh!]
+++
NO CARRIER
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
My experience (4.40 / 15) (#3)
by puzzlingevidence on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 10:57:04 PM EST

I've been online since 1988. I spent the bulk of my time on Usenet, where I became well-known across a wide number of hierarchies through my FAQ-writing and newsgroup moderation. I got into the Web early, putting up my first page in January, 1994.

As the years progressed, I was occasionally (and then more and more often) stalked and harassed. Eventually it started to bleed into Real Life. My name and address were posted to newsgroups and web pages without my permission. Messages were forged in my name. I was added to dozens of spamlists. Then I started to get phone calls.

No, I didn't deserve this. Much of it was because I was outspoken on pro-choice, anti-statism and other issues.

I don't use my real name anywhere anymore. Eventually, my name will disappear from Deja and other news archives. Eventually, I'll stop getting spam.

I received e-mail from one of the admins on K5 about a month ago, and it pissed me off. I had used my standard e-mail address when I signed up, because the privacy policy here is "we will not use your e-mail address for anything ever." Moral: take that with a grain of salt.

This has made me even more cautious. The only places I use my real name and vital information is when I'm buying something online (and, of course, my EBay account allows anyone to enter my ID and find my real name and home phone number -- and I wouldn't be telling you this if I used puzzlingevidence as my EBay ID).

In summation, while I've made friends over the Net, and met some of them in real life, the hassle has outweighed the benefits. I won't give out my real name anymore, ever, except on a professional basis (such as on a byline when I sell a feature article to a big webzine). I don't use the same userid here that I do on Slashdot, or on Plastic, or on any other site. I've even stopped using my "usual" pseudo everywhere, so that people can't follow me from place to place.

I don't think I'm being paranoid. I think I'm exercising appropriate caution. Except, of course, that based on some of my posts here, someone could probably track down who I really am. If that happened, I'd probably abandon this "identity".

If I were you, communista, I'd change my work number, ask the receptionist to ask who's calling before transfering calls to you, and then stop using the "communista" pseudonym, starting again fresh with a new one.

I'm a guy. I'm frightened to think what kind of nightmare I'd have to deal with if I'd been a well-known female Usenet personality.

---
A man may build a throne of bayonets, but he can not sit on it. --Inge

We don't know anyone, really. (4.57 / 7) (#4)
by Ryan Koppenhaver on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 11:00:46 PM EST

As you may guess from my not-too-imaginative username here on k5, I don't have much of a problem with people on the net knowing who I am. I use several other usernames elsewhere, but I make no effort to hide my identity or develop seperate personas. [*]

Of all the people I've met online, I've met with one offline, and it was a pleasant experience, though we've since mostly gone our seperate ways. I've also met one person who wanted to meet me, whom I wasn't interested in seeing. I was concerned for a while that she'd choose to simply drop in on me at some point, but I made it clear that I wasn't interested in it, and she backed off.

Of course, these impressions are completely anecdotal, and are doubtless colored by both my general tendency to assume the best of people, and by the fact that I'm male, and thus less worried about being stalked or whatever. (By the way, for all the ladies of k5, I'm single too. ;)

Any way, one thing that surprises me sometimes is that I often feel as if I know people well, solely on the basis of reading their writings online. It's pretty cool that I can feel like I'm old friends with someone with whom I've never even communicated directly. It's also a bit disturbing, because I can see how someone could take that too far, and feel as if they somehow had a right to be a part of someone's life, becuase of such a thing.

But all things considered, I guess I just want to know everybody as well as possible, and I can't do that unless I'm equally willing to share my life, or at least my real name, with them.

[*] Ok, I did create a second account on Slashdot for a brief stint of trolling, but I felt guilty about it, and have since given it up. (Anybody wanna buy a mostly unused Slashdot account w/ 27 karma?)

Or have we, as individuals, just matured? (4.60 / 5) (#5)
by Lionfire on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 12:19:13 AM EST

I'm not so sure it's a change in our society or culture.

When I first starting interacting online, I was very open about who I was. Why not? It was perfectly safe. I didn't really understand the scope of the whole thing. I think this is very much how the average person starts. It's novel, but not very well understood as a concept.

Once I realised that there were hundreds, then thousands, then millions of people who could see anything I did, I became very cautious. I'll call this the "paranoid" stage; there are weird people out there and they're going to get you. (and I'm not kidding -- I have recieved at least one serious death threat from a mentally ill person online who happened to live in my city)

These days, I've grown through the paranoia. I can be abused as easily -- perhaps more so -- in real life than I can online. Anyone can post me nasty messages through snail mail. Anyone can look me up in the phone book and visit my house. Anyone can jump me while I'm out walking and steal my things or beat me to a pulp.

Once I realised that the online world is no more dangerous than real life, it has become just a normal part of my existance. I am who I am. If you don't like it, feel free to look up my home address and send me a postcard  :)


I think a lot of the kuro5hin readers have been through these stages (perhaps faster than I did) and reached the final stage. Those that haven't probably won't contribute their feelings because they're not confotable with that yet. And that's fine. I think it's just a normal social development process in an unusual environment.

[ blog | cute ]
simple (3.75 / 4) (#6)
by rebelcool on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 12:29:30 AM EST

because back then nobody knew what the net was. Once people got on and realized the media-fueled fears were nothing more than calls of "the sky is falling!", people are less cautious now. Which for the most part, they should be.

It's unlikely if you dont participate actively in irc, usenet and so on, that someone is going to come after you. Even if you do, its *still* unlikely that you're in any danger. You're much more likely to meet a pedophile or psychopath down your street than online.

I dont take any kind of threats seriously for the most part.. its just plain silly and paranoid to believe some 14 year old twit from 1000 miles away is going to hitchhike to your place to throw an egg at you or something.

Most of friends IRL now I originally met online through BBSes and friends of friends who were on BBSes. If anything, the most lasting *real* relationships ive had have originated in some way from the online world.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

Really (4.60 / 5) (#7)
by regeya on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 12:53:04 AM EST

In my opinion, it's best to put out as little information about yourself as possible. Other than spam, the only other thing I've ever gotten is a "nice f*cking home page go suck a d*ck a**hole" email, and that was in 1996. :-D I'm pretty boring, really.

The account I use here on kuro5hin was opened using a Netaddress email address under a fake name and address. I've started doing that sort of thing just to cut down on the crap that hits my mailbox.

Sometimes the personal info one can get through the Internet can be used to amusing ends. I had a roommate in college who clamed to be God's gift to hackerdom. The kid barely knew how to operate a Start menu, and we won't talk about his UNIX skills. :-D He called my fiance (now wife) asking about the date of our wedding (he wasn't invited) and gave this bullshit story about he and a hacker friend working for days to get my fiance's phone number and address. So, I decided to one-up him. Without knowing anything more than his name, I got his phone number, mailing address, email address, and driving directions from my house to his, all within a span of 5 minutes. I emailed him the results. That made me realize that Harlan Ellison of Oracle wasn't kidding when he said in a press conference, "There is no privacy. Deal with it."

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]

You meant Larry Ellison, right? (5.00 / 2) (#17)
by fossilcode on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 11:13:23 AM EST

Harlan Ellison is a Hugo-award winning sci-fi author.
--
"...half the world blows and half the world sucks." Uh, which half were you again?
[ Parent ]
I Have No Privacy, and I Must Scream (4.66 / 3) (#22)
by shaum on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 06:37:30 PM EST

It's actually a quote by Scott McNealy of Sun.

But the director butchered it, so he attributed the quote to Cordwainer Bird instead.

(Okay, not really. But it really is a McNealy quote, not {Larry|Harlan} Ellison.)

:wq!
[ Parent ]

It's hard to write intelligent subjects. (4.20 / 5) (#8)
by AdamJ on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 01:06:50 AM EST

After about 4 months of talking to someone on and off via IRC and AIM, she asked "Is Adam Jury your real name?". My reply was something like "No, I just put a fake name on everything I do online.".

I try to be as honest as possible; obviously in some situations almost everyone reveals only partial truths or nothing at all. I'm usually not one to go into huge details about my personal life in public, although I do so more often now than I used to.

I'm a lot more extroverted online than I am IRL; part of it is I hang out with people that are more like me, so I'm more comfortable, and it's easier to be extroverted online when you're not naturally so. IRL I'm painfully shy at times.

Usually once I've been friends with someone long enough to phone them or meet them in the flesh, there's no reason to hide anything or to be dishonest; dishonesty has been the catalyst to the loss of several close friendships in my life, some very recently...

The Internet _is_ real life (4.66 / 6) (#9)
by Toojays on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 01:41:39 AM EST

I thought about this recently, and if you're giving out information on the Internet, it's pretty much all or nothing. If someone has your real name and a general geographic location for you, they could get anything else if they tried hard enough. So I can either decide that Toojays is John Steele Scott, or I can keep them seperate.

I decided that if I kept them seperate, I would be punishing Toojays, John, and all their friends. For what? On the off chance that someone who didn't like Toojays would take their anger out on John?

It's a bit like legalising use of encryption. Why should everyone be punished just because there are some arseholes in the world? Rather than be suspicious of everyone, I'd rather assume they are well intentioned until I decide otherwise.

I am aware of the fact that anyone who does a search for Toojays on ICQ can potentially hassle me with abusive phone calls or come and set fire to my house. The same is true for anyone who looks up John in the phone book. For these physical dangers I have decided that the deterence of the law is enough protection, hence the risk is manageable.

On the other hand, I am also aware that there are a lot of nasty people on the Internet who would like to attack my computer from long distance even though they have no idea who I am. The law cannot protect me from these, so I use a tight set of firewall rules.

To quote Bruce Schneier, "security [is] about risk management." I feel that providing information about myself on the net is a manageable risk.



giving out info on board like this is not smart... (3.16 / 6) (#10)
by Estanislao Martínez on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 04:10:56 AM EST

I know 3 cases of people who have been harassed in "real life" because of stuff on slashdot. 2 of them got death threats. And, of course, there's the case of a #k5 regular who tried to log in as root to the computer of a friend of somebody who went in #k5 one day...

Simply put, in online forums, don't give away who you are.

--em

Er, I guess (5.00 / 1) (#21)
by Xenophon Fenderson, the Carbon(d)ated on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 04:39:50 PM EST

Whatever. The whole point of a communications medium is so that people can communicate. Obfuscating one's records only gets in the way of communication and does little to protect oneself from annoyances as you describe. Security by obscurity doesn't work in the long run, so I don't even bother to hide.



--
Rev. Dr. Xenophon Fenderson, the Carbon(d)ated, KSC, mhm21x16, and the Patron Saint of All Things Plastic fnord
I'm proud of my Northern Tibetian heritage!
[ Parent ]
Getting attached (4.20 / 5) (#11)
by enterfornone on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 04:42:46 AM EST

When I started on the net (from a university shell account) in 95 I would always use my real name and give out any info about my real life. I bought my first modem six months later (yeah, I started late) mainly to use my Uni's dial up, but I started calling BBSs and after a few handles settled on enterfornone (actually ENTERforNone, the all lower case came later).

I still used my real name on the net up until I got a job with an ISP. At that point I decided to change to my handle cos I didn't like the idea of customers working out who I was online.

I've never really had any bad experiences due to using my real identity on the net, although I got an email once at work asking if I was the guy who used to maintain a FAQ on a certain celebrity.

I'm out of ISP customer support now, but I never tell anyone where I work. It's not very hard to find my real name, address and home phone number however. I get a little bit of advertising in the mail, but for the most part I think people realise that you use a handle for a reason and don't abuse it.

Another thing about online identities tho, Regeya mentioned in this comment that he changed his nick because of me (I still have no idea why). Anyway it got me thinking, I've been enterfornone for something like 5 years now. It's part of who I am, there is no way I could change it just because I started getting flamed on a weblog or whatever.

I know plenty of other people use different (handles/nicks/aliases whatever) here to what they use on ICQ or IRC or whatever. Is anyone else as attached to their handles as I am?

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.

Attachment to your name (4.50 / 2) (#12)
by Aquarius on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 06:05:26 AM EST

Is anyone else as attached to their handles as I am?
Oh yes. :)

I've been Aquarius now for, ooh, about 12 years. Not all on the net, I wasn't that precocious -- BBSes, mainly, and I was writing code tagged with the name that long ago. There are people who know both of my names and call me Aq anyway, quite a lot of them. Sometimes I wonder whether it's a minor touch of multiple personality disorder...

This has the potential for a story submission...

Aq.


"The grand plan that is Aquarius proceeds apace" -- Ronin, Frank Miller
[ Parent ]
handles.. (4.50 / 2) (#13)
by driph on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 08:25:25 AM EST

When I began using BBS's in the 80s, I randomly chose Drifter as my handle..(heh, another thing, you can always tell who started online with BBS's by their calling it a "handle"..radio guys too, I suppose).. As time passed and I found myself on the internet, it eventually became Driphter in hopes that the name would be less common(although I did use Drifter for a while, my UNLV account was driphter@pioneer.nevada.edu, back when you could still use handles for the uni accounts)...

Not sure when I cropped it to Driph, tho... I think it was to abstract the name a bit...

But yeah, these days, Driph is as much of an identity to me as Chris Ainsworth(my real name) is... It would be just plain weird changing it to something else..

--
Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave
[ Parent ]
handles.. (4.00 / 1) (#26)
by ncc74656 on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 04:02:24 PM EST

When I began using BBS's in the 80s, I randomly chose Drifter as my handle..(heh, another thing, you can always tell who started online with BBS's by their calling it a "handle"..radio guys too, I suppose).. As time passed and I found myself on the internet, it eventually became Driphter in hopes that the name would be less common(although I did use Drifter for a while, my UNLV account was driphter@pioneer.nevada.edu, back when you could still use handles for the uni accounts)...
Hey, another Rebel! :-) When did they stop? I used sknkwrks@cs.unlv.edu from 1990 up until just a couple of years ago, when I had it changed because it had become a dumping ground for spam. "sknkwrks" wasn't a handle; it was the name of the BBS I ran up until late '94. I changed my address to the same first-initial-last-name pattern that I use (nearly) everywhere else; it makes for a few less characters to type when I ssh into my home server from the college machines. (Then again, your account was with UNSCS and mine's with the College of Engineering; UNSCS has always been a bit more anal-retentive than they ought to be.)

FWIW, I used to pretty much hate handles back in the day. The Skunk Works BBS didn't allow them, and neither did many of the other BBSes around Las Vegas that I called. Not only did I require real names, but I also required street addresses of everybody as validation was by a postcard sent to you after you signed up. I doubt that if I were to start a BBS (or a more modern analogue, such as k5 or /.) today, I would go to such draconian measures to validate people's identity. Hell, when filling in some random company's form, if they really have no need that I can see for my personal info, I tell them I'm a@b.com at 1 x, x, x 00000 (or 1 x, x, NV 00000 if they use a drop-down box for the state). To require real address info from other people now would be hypocritical. (The three boxes of index cards with callers' address info got tossed in the trash long ago and are probably moldering away in the dump now.)

As for "ncc74656," it's what I started using on /. a while back. All my computers are named for different characters on Voyager, so I went ahead and stayed with that idea. Going to my website will bring up my real name, and my email address is only obscured with "DIESPAMMERSDIE" to foil the spambots that might trawl the boards (hey, Onsale did it to eBay a few years ago...and I've never given them a dime because of it). It followed me to k5 a few days ago, after JonKatz's latest bit of mindless Bush-bashing was the last straw for me from what has become "news for left-wingers, stuff that (we think) matters."

[ Parent ]

Totally attached (5.00 / 2) (#15)
by kostya on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 09:53:31 AM EST

I've been kostya for about 8 years now. To change just isn't option :-)

The funny thing is that by choosing kostya, I did the equivalent of a Russian choosing "mike". I kind of knew this, but it didn't really register. I got the name from a Tolstoy novel and I love Russian culture. So the name fit and it was very unique (in 1993).

The problem came when I went on to IRC and a Russian became incensed that I used his nick. He had been using it for six months--how dare I? I explained that I had been using it for 4 years at that point, and it wasn't anything personal. As it is, I have to include a pretty thorough explaination on my website or my user info so that Russian netcitizens are too confused and start sending me cyrillic email (although I hope one day to be able to read them).

As it is, when the name isn't taken on a new board, I feel all happy and lucky--it's like a gift because I don't have to mess up my name. My compromise has been to append my company's letters to my name (kostyaRSH, kostya_rsh, etc). Since I own the company, it is pretty acceptable as a compromise--it still all feels like "me".



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
Not as much anymore (4.00 / 2) (#20)
by woofbot on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 02:36:12 PM EST

Prior to woofbot, I used Maryck as my handle everywhere for roughly 7 years. Unfortunately, as the internet population grew, more and more people had a tendency to read it as Mary CK rather than as a single word. Needless to say, that got rather annoying. Consequently I switched to woofbot; although it still has some relevance to my past life, I don't find it nearly as cool as Maryck.

[ Parent ]
Never used an alias. (4.20 / 5) (#14)
by Mr Tom on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 09:51:13 AM EST

It's weird, when I come to think about it...

I first got into the internet through FidoNet (And I'm sure many others did too!) and, looking back, it's amazing how different things were. The number of people using their real names on echoes (Fido's equivalent of newsgroups, for those of you that are too young to remember, or so old you forget) far outweighed those that used a handle. But then, that was a much more intimate network, there were few strangers, and I can only recall one instance of net-stalking in the years that I used it...

Maybe it's because of this rose-tinted view of on-line communities that I've never used a handle. (Short of "Mr Tom" - being my RL nickname) Despite the very good reasons for retaining some modicum of anonymity (Potential employers searching dejanews, dodgy stalker types, impersonators &c.) I feel that an internet in which the security to use one's own name without fear is a worthwile wish, and that by being seen as oneself, taking responsibility for one's newsgroup/message board posting, showing no fear of stalkers and being open an honest with the rest of the on-line community is a start in achieving this.

Or maybe I'm just a sad old hippie at heart. ;-)

Also: I've been to a few RL net.meets, and just about the first thing that people do is introduce themselves with their real name. Does actually having seen someone in the flesh grant you a higher security clearance? Why? Or is there false security in believing that because you've seen someone, you know them?


-- Mr_Tom<at>gmx.co.uk

I am a consultant. My job is to make your job redundant.

Interesting.. (4.33 / 3) (#16)
by AdamJ on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 10:11:58 AM EST

Also: I've been to a few RL net.meets, and just about the first thing that people do is introduce themselves with their real name. Does actually having seen someone in the flesh grant you a higher security clearance? Why? Or is there false security in believing that because you've seen someone, you know them?
Interesting - the get-togethers that I've been at, which has mainly consisted of Gencon (Gaming Convention) in 1999 and 2000, people generally use the persons nickname to talk to each other, unless that person normally users their real name online. I tend to use peoples real names, so I would often find myself talking about someone to someone else and having them go "Who the hell is Steve?" "Oh, it's Bull" "OH!". There's some people that I've met online and in the flesh that I still don't have real names for. Of course, these conventions aren't formal get-togethers - we don't have a "Hi I'm Adam I run The Shadowrun Supplemental." "Hi I'm Mark I founded the ShadowRN list" speeches. :)

When I attended a friends wedding last year I had to stop myself from calling her by her nickname in front of mostly RL friends and family all weekend until it finally became so ingrained that I now think of her by her real name instead of said nick. But on the opposite end of the spectrum, I haven't used a nickname online for.. 3 or 4 years, and some people still call me by it.

[ Parent ]

Gender invites unwanted attention??? (4.33 / 3) (#19)
by yankeehack on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 02:33:18 PM EST

The question needs to be asked---How much attention does one get if someone reveals that they are a single female as opposed to attention that one gets for their publicized comments??

Point being that if you advertise that you are a single female on sites like k5, /. you are of course going to recieve unwanted attention. Is it fair, I can't say....

No one who was bad in bed has ever been good in life (i.e. liberals, I've never had sex with a liberal woman who knew how to use her body.) Keeteel :-P I'm *right*!

Extra attention for females (4.50 / 2) (#24)
by whatnotever on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 07:15:09 PM EST

Answer: A lot, of course. It's rather obvious if you've read any "community" site or whatnot.

The thing is, who says it's unwanted? Some people seem to exploit it and enjoy it. You used the word "advertise" yourself...

In any case, it's a common occurance. In any near-homogenous population, those who are different will receive more attention. The effect is just more pronounced if those who are different are objects of desire for the majority of that population.

[ Parent ]
It's all Real Life (5.00 / 2) (#23)
by Cuthalion on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 07:09:24 PM EST

I found my current <a href=http://team.sonique.com>job through friends on IRC, and when I moved in with my new roommate, I'd known him for 5 or 6 years, but had never met him in person. I don't think there's any reason to treat internet interactions and real life interactions that differently. If you don't know somebody, you should only trust them so far. If you have had extensive interactions with someone you can usually tell not only if they're some kind of whacko, but what kind of whacko they are (I'm the good kind, myself :) But you can't always tell. Just like real life.


It depends upon the Forum (4.00 / 1) (#25)
by Ruidh on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 01:55:47 PM EST

I am very active in several email lists and associated irc channels related to Anglicanism and Christianity. I am upfront about who I am because there is a reasonable expectation of trust built up over the years. I have travelled long distances to meet the people I've known through email.

In communities like k5 and /. I use a variety of nicks to provide a little more anonymity. The population isn't as self-selected as my religious lists and there isn't a presumption of shared values.

A healthy reticence is necessary in many places on the net, but there are smaller corners where people who share interests can find trusting groups.
"Laissez-faire is a French term commonly interpreted by Conservatives to mean 'lazy fairy,' which is the belief that if governments are lazy enough, the Good Fairy will come down from heaven and do all their work for them."
Revealing your identity on the Internet | 26 comments (26 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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