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Is anonymity on the Web passe?
December 30, 2002 12:05 AM   Subscribe

Is anonymity on the Web passé? What is there to be afraid of, exactly? Nowadays, more and more MetaFilter members seem to use their own names - or, at least, make identifiable comments here. Our own Evanizer is compiling a photographic collage of Mefi's #irc regulars. So is it OK to be ourselves again? Or is protecting our identities still paramount? I suspect that the causes and reasons of paranoia have now officially passed...
posted by MiguelCardoso to Etiquette/Policy at 12:05 AM (93 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Lets test the theory.

Tell us your postal address Miguel.
posted by holloway at 12:13 AM on December 30, 2002


Good god. I thought you were kidding.
posted by riffola at 12:15 AM on December 30, 2002


OK:

Miguel Esteves Cardoso,
Praça das Águas Livres, 8, 1ºB - Direito,
1250-001 Lisboa,
Portugal.

I've been a member for just over a year, used my own name and talked about my own life and, apart from one episode of porn-spamming, never regretted it...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:17 AM on December 30, 2002


Good enough for me.
posted by holloway at 12:22 AM on December 30, 2002


For the record mathowie isn't a regular. and the pic as it appears at this hour is NSFW
posted by riffola at 12:25 AM on December 30, 2002


I don't do the IRC thing...because frankly, I don't even have time to talk to people anymore. (That whole baby thing...who knew how much time that took?) But, I'd send in a photo for the collage, I have real info on my linked live journal.

On the other hand, I've also made no bones about the fact that I'm a crazy, heavily armed, southern loon with big friends and bigger dogs, so I'm not really all that worried about stalkers. ;)
posted by dejah420 at 12:48 AM on December 30, 2002


Isn't it amazing though, dejah, that so many people are willing to actually post a photo of themselves? Isn't this a kind of proof that persecution paranoias are a thing of the past? Or, alternatively, that no one cares except those who are involved? Meaning: security, at last?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:03 AM on December 30, 2002


So based on the photos, Miguel is about 12 years old? And quonsar is about 40? My spidey sense makes me think those should be reversed.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:12 AM on December 30, 2002


i assume that folks who are weird about privacy/won't divulge any real name/photo/info about themselves on their sites (and here in their user pages) are the sort who get tangled up in idiotic online dalliances and often do have something to hide - or that they're trolls who don't want to deal with the fallout from their behavior. that and i often come across self obsessed journal type girls who assume anyone who visits their site is a danger to them/will stalk them. in my personal experience the well adjusted don't get too weird about privacy.

btw, i get seriously frustrated by mefi userpages that have no website listed but i guess some of you just don't have a website...
posted by t r a c y at 1:41 AM on December 30, 2002


This looks like a lot of fun, but it's scary because of the identity theives the kids are talking so much about these days.

I'll be glad to add my mug to the internet's most wanted if somebody would just treat me like the computer cro-magnon that I am, and please explain a simple two part query:

What's #mefi? (shame on me, I know)
Is #irc an instant message thingamajig? Am I close?

I missed the boat, plentifully heap your scornful derision at will. Any assistance appreciated.

My spidey sense makes me think those should be reversed.

Me too. quonsar is far from obese and Miguel hardly looks old enough to drink.
posted by hama7 at 2:39 AM on December 30, 2002


'i' before 'e' except after...
posted by hama7 at 2:42 AM on December 30, 2002


#mefi
posted by holloway at 2:59 AM on December 30, 2002


thanx, holloway.
posted by hama7 at 3:27 AM on December 30, 2002


Now, I had always thought that I was relatively well-adjusted but I don't want my full name bruited about the internet. I'm probably one of those self-obsessed journal girls but in little danger of being stalked. My name's Nikki, I live in Acton in West London. Do you need to know anything more?
posted by calico at 3:44 AM on December 30, 2002


OMG NSFW? those pics are Not Safe For Viewing, someone owes me a new keyboard.
posted by DBAPaul at 3:53 AM on December 30, 2002


By my reckoning, at least 8 of those pictures are of the same person. And i've got a real urge to post a chocolate bar to miguel.
posted by robself at 3:55 AM on December 30, 2002


but i guess some of you just don't have a website...

some of us don't even have running water
posted by matteo at 4:03 AM on December 30, 2002


what kind of threat is supposed to have passed? i'd have thought the pressure for anonymity is increasing, not decreasing (total information awareness etc).

but "real" anonymity is very different (much harder) than picking a different name to use at registration - that seems to be more a fashion than a serious attempt to hide identity. if that fashion is passing, perhaps it's because more "normal" people are using the 'net. so maybe now's the time for me to become "winged stallion" or something...
posted by andrew cooke at 4:15 AM on December 30, 2002


I've never really thought of the internet as anthing other than part of my normal life and so haven't attempted to construct a new, online persona or keep my details a secret. I'm not quite sure that I see why people bother unless they're also making an effort to keep themselves out of all other kinds of directory/listing service (heck, thanks to that Mac revenge story I now know that even mobile numbers can be traced without too much bother).
posted by MUD at 4:19 AM on December 30, 2002


ps calico, your full name is easily available (don't want to give the jeebies or anything, just thought you should know).
posted by andrew cooke at 4:22 AM on December 30, 2002


yeah, I know, along with my full address. But I'd like others to collude in the fiction that it's not there :)
posted by calico at 4:33 AM on December 30, 2002


mathowie, your spidey sense is monumentally fucked. i'm almost 50. and it's amazing how posting a fat guy on ones user page (along with several others, including a pig) can lead everyone to assume its real. nobody, so far, has assumed i'm actually the pig, even though many would feel its a reasonable assumption.

true anonymity on the web is bs, always has been. your IP leads directly to your ISP and he knows exactly who you are, barring using a stolen account or public computer. i've had my address and telephone number on my personal website for years (though, come to think of it, it is now out of date) and the TIA thugs have yet to drag me away...

and miguel,surely you've seen the mefi meetup images that are in several places on the web... there you can see what evanizer really looks like!
posted by quonsar at 4:48 AM on December 30, 2002


Most people with weblogs or homepages have pictures posted there; and those of us who work in techie or other professional pursuits have resumes posted there as well. I don't think this is a "new" trend per se.

Also, I think Evan put those pictures up because he thinks we are cute. So, I'm flattered.
posted by PrinceValium at 6:05 AM on December 30, 2002


That picture of Miguel is from about three years back. Here's a more recent pic of MEC. As for quonsar, well we're slowly but steadily learning things about him <whisper>and he is a really nice guy.</whisper>

As for the collage, it's not yet complete, the pic of jbelshaw is most likely not even him.
posted by riffola at 7:12 AM on December 30, 2002


"Is anonymity on the Web passé?"

It was never "in", and it will never be passe. Some people want to be anonymous, some don't. It's apples and oranges. I wasn't aware that it was ever a trend or an assumption.

"What is there to be afraid of, exactly?"

Stalkers and crazy people. The web is a happy home for loons.

For about a year I had some crazy bitch (and she was in fact a crazy bitch) who only knew me through my weblog threatening to stop by unannounced. It seemed she was very mad that I wouldn't date her. I've know several women who were rather upset when strange men with a crush came on with some version of, "I know where you live."

Having been very open for the last few years about who I am, what I look like, and where I live, I can say with some authority that there is no good reason for not being anonymous.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:12 AM on December 30, 2002


Here's a more recent pic of MEC.
evan forgot my cigar.
posted by quonsar at 7:30 AM on December 30, 2002


I use my real first name on mefi to remind myself that no matter the nick, I'm not really anonymous. I'd still rather be, though.
posted by jeb at 7:55 AM on December 30, 2002


Part of it is the inertia of maintaining one's identity "secret" across the span of one's (often increased) internet use. How many IDs and passwords do each of us have for the range of websites we frequent? It is easier to remember the truth. However, there is real potential for damage from being too honest. But, the most harm that will typically come is embarrassment, or worse, the inability to be dishonest in the future because you've left the truth lying around somewhere back on the net.
posted by piskycritter at 8:02 AM on December 30, 2002


Well that's just great. I thought those pictures were just supposed to be between us. Now, I wake up a few years later and find our most private moments splayed across the alt.binaries.* groups for all the world to see.

Seriously though, if I'd known the intent was a poorly considered excuse for MetaTalk chattiness, I probably would have given ya This One instead.
posted by willnot at 8:12 AM on December 30, 2002


yep guys , i hooked up with a millionaires daughter who was a complete tiger in bed ..................all thru the internet.
i hope this serves as a warning to you all.
posted by sgt.serenity at 8:29 AM on December 30, 2002


I've been using the internet for about 6-7 years now and I've never had any problem giving out all my personal info to anyone who wants to read it. it's actually kinda neat to get weird letters and phone calls from time to time.

kv has reproduced much of the information one would need in order to stalk me in her profile, and you know what I think about it? well, I just don't give a funk!
posted by mcsweetie at 8:29 AM on December 30, 2002


Hey, it's not my fault I don't look like Ricardo Montalban. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:32 AM on December 30, 2002


yep guys , i hooked up with a millionaires daughter who was a complete tiger in bed ..................all thru the internet.

one time, during an online scrabble match, I met the girl that played the robot girlfriend in Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode 15, season 5! we didn't get busy though. oh well!
posted by mcsweetie at 8:33 AM on December 30, 2002


But I did discover quonsar's secret website...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:40 AM on December 30, 2002


I suspect that the causes and reasons of paranoia have now officially passed...

ha ha ha. Well, in the US, there are more and more reasons to want to be anonymous, on the Internet and elsewhere. On the other hand, I have had my address and phone number on my website for years. And I'm a girl, with an eponymous website and MeFi name. It has almost always not been a problem, but then again I have roomates and a pit bull. Also, I am not in danger of losing my job with the things I post online since, well, I just barely have one. I still get bullshit pseudo-threat email from time to time. And I have a form letter for emailing back guys who want to know my measurements ["32-45-56 thanks for asking"] which happens more often than you might think. I have a "come visit me" page on my site, and I've met a lot of really nice people who were formerly strangers.

Stalkers and keeping your job are two good reasons you might want to have an alter-ego. Talking trash about your family or partner is another. I worry some day that I will have to answer to some future employer about every MeFi post I've made, or something I said on my website six years ago. It doesn't keep me from saying stuff, but does give me something to think about.
posted by jessamyn at 8:42 AM on December 30, 2002


careful, migs!
posted by quonsar at 8:42 AM on December 30, 2002


*swats quonsar with newspaper-wrapped, three-day-old giant squid*

I worry some day that I will have to answer to some future employer about every MeFi post I've made, or something I said on my website six years ago. It doesn't keep me from saying stuff, but does give me something to think about.

Well said, jessamyn. That's the funny (a bit unnerving too...) thing about the Internet - that what feels private and chatty, like a telephone conversation that just happens to be typed, will last for such a long time and will be available for anyone who's interested to see. Weblog conversation is supposed to be the opposite of professional writing whereas, for the purposes being discussed, it registers to the point where it's undistinguishable from publishing.

Which is what it is. Perhaps the fact that anonymity in publishing is so rare has something to do with it?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:58 AM on December 30, 2002


Just to add another example, that sentence of Matt, referring to our inability to edit our comments ("once it's posted, it's set in stone") has always given me the heebie-jeebies. Thank God for deletions, right? ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:01 AM on December 30, 2002


I have no problem giving out my real name to those that I've exchanged emails with from time to time, but in general I use the name Alan Linquist. I also use Fake Guysname sometimes. I know it wouldn't be hard for anyone to track me down if they wanted, though.

A bit off topic: Anyone who wants to search google's newsgroup archives can find out that my brother, an investment banker, once ran a porn site out of Atlanta. What a jerk!
posted by Samsonov14 at 9:05 AM on December 30, 2002


For the longest time I never used my first name online, not because I was afraid of being stalked, but because it got annoying to constantly having to scrape off net.romeos.

These days there are somewhat more females online, and the worst of the behavior seems to be confined to IRC.

It's less harassment than just pathetic, but it's annoying nonetheless.
posted by Karmakaze at 9:45 AM on December 30, 2002


I suspect that the causes and reasons of paranoia have now officially passed...

Troll! LOL

I think this is a very complicated issue. The internet allows one to play with the concept of "identity" in various interesting (and often instructive) ways. On the other hand, I'm generally of the mindset to say what I think openly and to hell with the consequences (which can be quite real). On the third hand (bodies, too, can be quite unusual online), I have had my own unpleasant experience with a mentally-ill stalker.

I think it makes for an interesting discussion, but ultimately it's probably best for each person to find his or her own comfort zone when it comes to privacy/anonymity.
posted by rushmc at 10:08 AM on December 30, 2002


While anyone with a little web savvy could figure out my real name in about five minutes, I find that most of the world (including my employers) are not able to do this.

I teach at a school and in so far as using a pseudonym on my posts keeps my students and employers from finding out some of the racier things I write, I have found it very useful.

Typically, when I strike up a continuing correspondence with somebody, I tell them my real name. People have been using pseudonyms for centuries, millenniums even. Provided a body isn't doing it to inflict harm on somebody else, it is a wise choice for some of us.

rushmc: I think this is a very complicated issue. The internet allows one to play with the concept of "identity" in various interesting (and often instructive) ways.

Couldn't agree more. I have created other identities on occasion for artistic purposes.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:43 AM on December 30, 2002


I have created other identities on occasion for autistic purposes.

Don't they have drugs for that now?
posted by timeistight at 10:50 AM on December 30, 2002


quonsar is Wallace Shawn? Who'd a-thunk?
posted by y2karl at 11:50 AM on December 30, 2002


Me, I liked quonsar's father. Now there's someone we really owe.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:58 AM on December 30, 2002


If quonsar is Wallace Shawn, who is Andre Gregory?
posted by timeistight at 12:01 PM on December 30, 2002


I use a nik not because I'm trying to hide, but because my real name sounds more like a nik then my nik - you dig?
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:22 PM on December 30, 2002


If quonsar is Wallace Shawn, who is Andre the Giant?
posted by PrinceValium at 12:24 PM on December 30, 2002


That would be ColdChef.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:36 PM on December 30, 2002


My Dinner with Andre...the Giant
posted by timeistight at 12:37 PM on December 30, 2002


I use my real name in my weblog, and anyone who bothers to read more than a couple of entries could easily figure out where I live (not to mention that I'm in the phone book--anyone who knows their way around the net could have my number and address in two minutes). It's never been a problem.
On the other hand, when I was posting regularly, I never wrote anything that I wouldn't want the head of my Department reading--no dissing the profs, no specific complaints, and no sound of grinding axes. As for nothing on the internet every dying, I learned my lesson with that early, after reposting to a newsgroup a FAQ regarding a notorious serial killer case here in Canada in the early 90s. A publication ban had been placed on the reporting of the trial, so I saw it as a freedom of speech issue, but it was really sobering to find that my name regularly came up in google attached to alt.fan.karla.homolka.
Back in those days when there were far fewer women on the net, I used to get mail from lonely boys who zeroed in on my obviously feminine name--I just never answered it. Today I am still be reluctant to put my picture up on my site, as I find that I enjoy the 'disembodied mind' quality of the net, and find that when you see someone's face--I thought that quonsar was about 18, for example--your perception of them changes.
Of course mathowie looks exactly as I pictured him.
posted by jokeefe at 12:39 PM on December 30, 2002


Ouch, elwood, that's worse than mine.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 12:41 PM on December 30, 2002


Shows what a sucker I am: I always thought quonsar was the fat guy.
posted by timeistight at 1:20 PM on December 30, 2002


Miguel, how do you smoke a cigar with your ear?
posted by matteo at 1:30 PM on December 30, 2002


I'm sorry I posted this now. Evanizer had asked me not to post this, but I forgot. It was his work and I shouldn't have linked it. Sorry to Evan and all concerned. :(
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:41 PM on December 30, 2002


Evanizer had asked me not to post this, but I forgot.

Jesus, Miguel, now I feel icky just having looked at it. I guess it's not a good idea to be anything but anonymous if you're worried about your face showing up on the other end of an "accidental" MeFi link.

off to go change all my website photos to, alternatingly, Margaret Thatcher and Aliyah.
posted by jessamyn at 2:06 PM on December 30, 2002


psst. betting that evanizer would rightly pull the collage pic, i've saved it to my hard drive and will soon upload it to one of my web sites and offer the link for purchase on eBay (unless of course, some one pays me big bucks not to.)

nyaah
posted by DBAPaul at 3:26 PM on December 30, 2002


Are you saying this isn't my real name?
posted by feelinglistless at 3:51 PM on December 30, 2002


it's amazing how posting a fat guy on ones user page (along with several others, including a pig) can lead everyone to assume its real.

Yes you're right. All along I've thought this was really matt.

Plus, before the fat computer guy was on your user page, he was called something like "mr. september" or something from a link as I recall.

No sir, you have to get up pretty early to put one over on this photographic fat-guy memorizer.
posted by hama7 at 7:00 PM on December 30, 2002


What an ironic turn of events!
posted by hyperizer at 7:45 PM on December 30, 2002


not a bad 404 page, tho...
posted by ashbury at 8:30 PM on December 30, 2002


What an ironic turn of events!

That's easizier for you to say!
posted by y2karl at 10:35 PM on December 30, 2002


I don't think its "in" or "out."

People simply want to control what information they give out on their terms. We don't walk around society with our driver's licences hanging from our necks, but at the same we time have no problem telling a stranger our name or what neighborhood we live in. What I don't want is any old stranger to find this information via a web search unless I want them to.


>I suspect that the causes and reasons of paranoia have now officially passed...

Why do you even need paranoia to care about privacy? Privacy for the sake of privacy is good enough for me.

Perhaps we should turn the question around on those who ask for information they don't necessarily need. Why does Jiffy Lube need my address, phone, and email address along with my license plate number just to change my oil? Why does the NYTimes need my demographic information just to view their content? Why are e-commerce sites storing my credit-card information? Why is tivo making a list of the shows I watch?

Obviously its good business and it makes them money, but that doesn't mean its good for the rest of us. Nor does opening up on the web (through blogging, photos, etc) mean that privacy is suddenly out of style.
posted by skallas at 1:02 AM on December 31, 2002


Were we to take as much pains to be what we ought to be, as we do to disguise what we really are, we might appear like ourselves without being at the trouble of any disguise whatever.

Francois De La Rochefoucauld
posted by y2karl at 1:52 AM on December 31, 2002


Yes that's all well and good, but when the irc #mefi server keeps disconnecting you then something is amiss.

Yoicks, and away!
posted by hama7 at 2:27 AM on December 31, 2002


[so our plan to keep hama7 isolated is working. muwhahahahahahahahaha!]
posted by quonsar at 5:28 AM on December 31, 2002


Bastards! Bastards!

Although I decided not to try the mIRC 30 day trial thing with monthly pay thereafter, but did try some other niffy irc bogart that may have been the problem. A helpful hint anyone?

It's just that I'm too lazy and confused to poop everything through Won to actual money.
posted by hama7 at 6:54 AM on December 31, 2002


Come to think of it, I wonder if AnFi has a currency exchange link?

I'll check! :)
posted by hama7 at 7:09 AM on December 31, 2002


404. I guess anonymity reigns.
posted by crunchland at 7:45 AM on December 31, 2002


Well, I keep my identity "sort-of" hidden. Yeah, my real name and vague location is on here, and you could track me down if you really wanted to, but if you really wanted to track me down, hiding my real name ultimately wouldn't help.

I use a handle because it's what I'm used to, dating from the old days of dial-up BBS (before that new-fangled internet), where no one used their real name. And before that, there was CB. I don't have any kind of online "persona" that's different from the way I really am.

I don't have a problem with giving out personal info to people who ask, but I'm also not on board with this whole "look at me!" phenomenon that the web has brought on. I have a lot of friends, and I'm not looking to make new acquaintances by the boatload.
posted by mkultra at 7:55 AM on December 31, 2002


Although I decided not to try the mIRC 30 day trial thing with monthly pay thereafter, but did try some other niffy irc bogart that may have been the problem. A helpful hint anyone?

mIRC costs money? I've had it for years and it still works fine, I thought it was one of those "donate if you'd like" things.
Although I've never been in the metafilter channel, I'm primarily on efnet. I'm always edgy about joining new IRC channels.
Trillion is also nice if you're in multiple channels at once, or on different networks. It seems to be mIRC bundled in with AIM, ICQ, and the Microsoft and Yahoo messangers.
posted by Kellydamnit at 7:57 AM on December 31, 2002


hama7, a quick google came up with pirch and bersirc which are free. Over at CNET I found a whole bunch of IRC programs that are free. The third one in the list, winbot, looks fairly decent. I'm assuming that you're using a windows platform.
posted by ashbury at 8:08 AM on December 31, 2002


Trillion is also nice if you're in multiple channels at once, or on different networks. It seems to be mIRC bundled in with AIM, ICQ, and the Microsoft and Yahoo messangers.

Thanks kellydamnit. I now use trillian too with yahoo and AIM, but this confounded irc connection has me perplexed.

Over at CNET I found a whole bunch of IRC programs that are free. The third one in the list, winbot, looks fairly decent. I'm assuming that you're using a windows platform

Yes, you assume correctly, and please accept my gracious and sincere thanks for your efforts, ashbury.

I'll try winbot, (or one of the above). Many thanks for helping a certified chat neanderthal, and Happy New Year!

Thanks again.
posted by hama7 at 8:32 AM on December 31, 2002


Miguel's epitaph:
I'm sorry I posted this now.
posted by languagehat at 8:44 AM on December 31, 2002


mIRC has always been "try for 30 days, then get nagged"-ware. The nagging's not a problem - occasionally it'll pop open a browser window pointing to the "how to pay" part of mirc.com.

The newer versions also let you connect to multiple servers.

Once upon a time the Onion had a great article about how someone had actually paid to register mIRC, with quotes from mIRC's creator about how astonished he was. I can't find it now, of course.
posted by some chick at 9:08 AM on December 31, 2002


hama7, you've got trillian. open the connection manager, follow the prompts, enter the server and port (irc.metafilter.com or irc.turlyming.com, port 6667) and nickname (you pick) and hit connect. what seems to be the problem? can you describe what happens so we might be able to help. just saying "this confounded irc connection has me perplexed" really doesn't give us a clue.
posted by quonsar at 10:00 AM on December 31, 2002


hama7, i just tried trillian's irc. it's not obvious, but it's useable. click on the irc button then click on "connection manager". You'll see a box that has a whole ton of files, starting with AbleNet, Accessir, etc.-- scroll down to "user defined" and click on it. In the area to the right, type in irc.metafilter.com or irc.turlyming.com in the server area and 6667 in the port. You'll get a funny screen that says you're not on a channel if you try entering something. Right click in that window and click on "join channel". That's all, you're free to chat.
posted by ashbury at 10:42 AM on December 31, 2002


somechick, I actually paid about 5 years ago. I was hoping he'd write back. I was so naive.
posted by ashbury at 10:43 AM on December 31, 2002


I had my name as my metafilter handle for quite some time. I had a run in with an internet loonie one day and the possible ramification of the utter stupidity of posting to online message forums during office time hit me. I contacted a rather disgruntled Matt participating in SXSW. I was very grateful that he changed my user name within the hour.

I now try to post stuff on my weblog / online communities only on my personal time or during lunch hour. Among other things, it doesn't leave me with much bandwidth for posting on mefi, though I love reading it.

Coming to the question of anonymity: I think most people who do stuff on the net realize that true anonymity is pretty tough to achieve. What handles and such give you is a certain degree of privacy. For people living in certain geographies / in certain jobs / in certain communities, open discussion is simply not possible unless they are shielded from the impact of their words. This is specially true when you are talking about politics / sex / religion.

I feel vaguely uneasy about discussing politics in my weblog. I deal at work with clients who are senior executives in large corporations who are rather conservative. My views on politics is slightly left of center, libertarian. It should not matter, but it probably does. It is not something that I have resolved in my mind to my satisfaction.

I use my name in my weblog, though I don't provide the complete coordinates. Anyone determined to find out who I am can obviously put together the story easily. But I like the limited privacy that it affords me. In any case, at least some people at work now know of my weblog and almost everyone I know in my personal life do.

I think the ability to be remain anonymous to most people is and will remain one of the defining characteristic of the web. It is both a strength and a weakness depending on how it is used. I love reading Atrios (even though I don't agree with those views many times). Who knows what the writing would have been like if that guy was writing under his own name? On the other hand, I would be glad to do violent things to all those people who send spam to my mailbox. Its like first amendment rights ...
posted by justlooking at 11:23 AM on December 31, 2002


thanx Ashbury, it works for me.
posted by ginz at 11:28 AM on December 31, 2002


this is my real name. and i keep my picture in my profile so you know me when you see me on the streets.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:31 PM on December 31, 2002


you misspelled vengeance
posted by y2karl at 2:51 PM on December 31, 2002


Oh come on, eyeballkid, you don't look nearly as strange since I called up the Jenny Jones show to get you that makeover.
posted by jonmc at 3:30 PM on December 31, 2002


gosh. thanks y2karl. always so helpful.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:11 PM on December 31, 2002


Happy New Year!
posted by feelinglistless at 4:32 PM on December 31, 2002


Ik Stee Beefular!
posted by quonsar at 4:33 PM on December 31, 2002


gosh. thanks y2karl. always so helpful.

I live to serve.
posted by y2karl at 9:19 PM on December 31, 2002


what seems to be the problem?

Nothing at all now. Thanks for all the help quonsar and ashbury for the step-by-step. Crystal clear.

Thanks again.
posted by hama7 at 9:58 PM on December 31, 2002


Mozilla has a free IRC client built into it, BTW. It's called 'ChatZilla'. It's not great, but it works. I stick with mIRC myself.
posted by wackybrit at 10:48 AM on January 1, 2003


I tried chatzilla, got onto turlyming. Then felt really stoopid because I didn't know what I was supposed to do next. Another IRC neanderthal here.
posted by Lynsey at 1:19 PM on January 1, 2003


Lynsey, use /join #mefi or just click this irc.turlyming.com #mefi
posted by riffola at 1:40 PM on January 1, 2003


I've always regarded the use of internet nicknames or semi-anonymity as a matter of politeness more than anything else. Nicknames or pseudonyms are the online expression of personal boundaries; using someone's nickname or chosen identity is like intuiting someone's personal space limits in real life. We could all dig up more information on each other if we wanted too, but just like the person who stands too close, it's annoying at best, possibly dangerous at worst. And just as in real life, prudence, not paranoia (at least in most of us, I imagine) decides how much personal information to reveal.

On the wider question of internet anonymity, I'm fascinated that the degree of meaningful communication seems to be inversely proportional to the degree of anonymity. Online, I find that the degree to which I'm likely to respond to a text as factual rather than fictional (or maybe, let's say as imaginative prose) has a lot to do with how many contextual, biographical, or personal cues the author gives me, regardless of whatever internal merit I think the text has.
posted by octobersurprise at 2:36 PM on January 1, 2003


the worst of the behavior seems to be confined to IRC.

With the obvious exception of #mefi :-)

I started being very secretive about who I was on the web, but it all got too hard, so I gave up. Haven't had any stalkers (yet).
posted by dg at 7:08 AM on January 3, 2003


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