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04.08.2011

“Real Names” Policies Are an Abuse of Power


Dozens of blog posts have popped up with people expressing their support for pseudonymity and explaining their reasons. One of the posts, by Kirrily “Skud” Robert included a list of explanations that came from people she polled, including:
  • “I am a high school teacher, privacy is of the utmost importance.”
  • “I have used this name/account in a work context, my entire family know this name and my friends know this name. It enables me to participate online without being subject to harassment that at one point in time lead to my employer having to change their number so that calls could get through.” 
  • “I do not feel safe using my real name online as I have had people track me down from my online presence and had coworkers invade my private life.” 
  • “I’ve been stalked. I’m a rape survivor. I am a government employee that is prohibited from using my IRL.” 
  • “As a former victim of stalking that impacted my family I’ve used [my nickname] online for about 7 years.” 
  • “[this name] is a pseudonym I use to protect myself. My web site can be rather controversial and it has been used against me once.” 
  • “I started using [this name] to have at least a little layer of anonymity between me and people who act inappropriately/criminally. I think the “real names” policy hurts women in particular. 
  • “I enjoy being part of a global and open conversation, but I don’t wish for my opinions to offend conservative and religious people I know or am related to. Also I don’t want my husband’s Govt career impacted by his opinionated wife, or for his staff to feel in any way uncomfortable because of my views.” 
  • “I have privacy concerns for being stalked in the past. I’m not going to change my name for a google+ page. The price I might pay isn’t worth it.” 
  • “We get death threats at the blog, so while I’m not all that concerned with, you know, sane people finding me. I just don’t overly share information and use a pen name.” 
  • “This identity was used to protect my real identity as I am gay and my family live in a small village where if it were openly known that their son was gay they would have problems.” 
  • “I go by pseudonym for safety reasons. Being female, I am wary of internet harassment.” 
You’ll notice a theme here…

Kilde: Social Media Collective

Petter Bae Brandtzæg, forsker SINTEF IKT, tar derimot til orde for at "Nettanonymitet et reelt problem for god dialog":
Generelt mangler all nettkommunikasjon nærhet, den er mer «fattig» og mer fjern enn ansikt-til-ansikt-kommunikasjon. Ansikt-til-ansikt er blitt karakterisert som den «rikeste» og mest ideelle kommunikasjonsformen fordi den muliggjør dialog på flere sanselige nivåer samtidig (for eksempel verbalitet, stemmekvalitet og mimikk). For å kompensere for mangelen på fysiske holdepunkter på nett har man forsøkt å designe nettfora som understøtter en rikere form for kommunikasjon, med fokus på reelle identiteter. Facebook og det norske nettsamfunnet Origo er eksempler på dette. Slike løsninger inngir større grad av sosial tillit, mer saklighet og mindre trakassering, noe de største nettavisene i Norge i liten grad har tatt innover seg.

Demokratiet er tjent med en åpen og fordomsfri debatt i nettavisenes kommentarfelt. Nettavisene bør derfor ikke tilrettelegge for anonyme rop etter lasermannen. Følg heller Kristin Halvorsen råd: Alle nettredaktører bør umiddelbart bestemme at på deres sider aksepteres ikke anonyme innlegg.

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