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.
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