Author Topic: The downside of using one's real name or an alias when posting  (Read 1971 times)

Team Hesse

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The downside of using one's real name or an alias when posting
« on: December 08, 2007, 04:41:40 PM »
The "Inappropriate use of an alias on ALPB" thread was closed last month, but it continues to come up in other threads (unfortunately) and so, because RevJagow asked nicely and he has a point similar to what I want to make, I will move this to a new thread from where it started (ELW and my favorite Advent hymn).

their stories appear to impact how you receive their contributions.

And therein lies the rub.
In light of the direction this thread and others have taken with the topic of "poster identity" again being of great concern to some, I would like to focus on the above sentence, with one slight modification.

"Their stories appear to impact how [we] receive their contributions."

We all do this.  When we see that someone we like (or dislike) has posted a comment, we hurry to read it so we can respond.  I do it too.  If a certain pastor/person has a history, others are 'not interested in reading the musings' of said pastor.  While such "musings" are generally only tossed out on a list where all are 'friends,'  to summarily dismiss a post (before reading for content) or to read into a posting because the person who posted it is known to have a history does seem to fall out of the "putting the best construction on everything" language of the 8th commandment.  Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

I have to point out that using our names or a consistent ID has generally led all of us to infer, imply, and supplement some posts with our own prejudices, based on what we know or think we know of the person whose name or ID is attached to the post.  Some have researched names to see if a pastor is rostered; some have checked histories to see what else someone has posted elsewhere or who else they may hang out with; some simply develop their own biases based on months or years of postings on this list (which happens with real names AND made up ones) -- but all this does is allow us to have an opinion on the post before we read it ...

And so in direct opposition to those whose preference would be that anyone posting here use their name and start off with a little background or introduction, if I were a moderator of a list somewhere where the important things were to be discussion of Lutheran theology, opinions about news articles that affect church life, and touchy issues of congregational life, I think I would set it up so that nobody could use a name or any other identity when they posted.  There would only be topics and comments about those topics, separated by a line or something simple.  Without a name to come back at, ad hominems would be pretty limited if someone disagreed with what was being said -- one would never know who posted the comment, so the comment could be challenged, but not the credentials pr personhood of the poster.  Nobody would know who has posted 1250 times in 75 days, or who is feeling snarky this morning; the subjects could be brought up and commented upon until the subject had been explored fully, without these personality issues getting in the way all the time.  One person could play point/counterpoint and have an entire conversation by themselves; who'd know?  And would it make a difference?  If nobody knew who posted what, each post will have to be responded to on the basis of its own merits (or not) alone.

Like I used to say to my daughter, "just because it came out of your brother's mouth doesn't make it automatically a bad idea."   I am desperately searching for a discussion board that discusses issues and/or theology and not persons; this was the closest thing I had.  If the only way to take the personal prejudices out of the conversation is to hide ALL identities, then I would be completely in favor of that!  Perhaps the moderators would need to know (or one of them).  If nothing else, it would make for an interesting experiment (-- can people really stick to the subject at hand without veering off into personal attacks when their own opinions are challenged? or is that what original sin is all about?)

Debbie Hesse

anonymous

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Re: The downside of using one's real name or an alias when posting
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2007, 05:31:02 PM »
Or, then, there is just fear. That's why I am anonymous. I've learned just how tolerant the tolerance people are.

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Re: The downside of using one's real name or an alias when posting
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2007, 05:00:02 AM »
Hesse states:
If the only way to take the personal prejudices out of the conversation is to hide ALL identities, then I would be completely in favor of that!

fleur-de-lis comments:
I agree.   If my true identity were known,  I am certain I would be stereotyped very quickly.  It is the primary reason why I have registered as anonymous.    Yet, it is surprising to me how much certain posters rely on ad hominem attacks,   i.e.  how they still cannot resist an attempt to attack even if they don't know your name - position etc.

Hesse states:
I am desperately searching for a discussion board that discusses issues and/or theology and not persons

fleur-de-lis comments:
So am I.    Perhaps another way of stating what we are looking for,  is that we are looking for education and information,   rather than trying to WIN a debate,  which certain posters try to WIN by any means possible.     

Hesse raises the question:
is that what original sin is all about?

fleur-de-lis comments:
What comes to my mind when you raise that question,  is the truth that all mankind and womankind is sinful and will soon or later let us down.    We will find information,  education, and wisdom from mankind and womankind only in bits and pieces.    We have to sift through the chaff to find the wheat.   No different here on ALPB online forum.

Makes me appreciate all the more God's truth as found in the Bible.

Your post is very insightful.   There are a number of other points that it also raises that merit additional comment,   but time does not permit me to continue.

In Christ.














   

fleur-de-lis

Charles_Austin

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Re: The downside of using one's real name or an alias when posting
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2007, 05:14:39 AM »
Someone writes:
Yet, it is surprising to me how much certain posters rely on ad hominem attacks,   i.e.  how they still cannot resist an attempt to attack even if they don't know your name - position etc.

I comment:
Well, it cannot be an ad hominem attack, if we know not the hominus or homina, can it? [Latin purists, shut up, I'm being whimsical here.] And why should we be asked divorce a person's fuller life from the comments they make, or not allowed to know whether they are some one who has put their ministry under the care of a certain part of the body of Christ or are an independent, self-chosen preacher, prophet or peculiar?
« Last Edit: December 09, 2007, 05:26:12 AM by Charles_Austin »

Brian Hughes

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Re: The downside of using one's real name or an alias when posting
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2007, 08:15:50 AM »


"Their stories appear to impact how [we] receive their contributions."

We all do this. 

Debbie,

IMHO, you've hit upon the core divide in so-called mainline denominations.  I undertand them as currently sidelined denominations, but that's another topic.  Whereas it would be helpful to actually discuss theology from a logical perspective, the "it's been my experience" model of debate trump is now also on the table of conversation.  Stories convey meaning.  Stories also persist beyond the logic.  Who we believe someone "is" in their core self is often more important than the words they utter.  Now, I have little problem with also exploring the misunderstandings about interpreting core beliefs and such in myself and in others.  That can be part of the dialog too.  Others don't seem to be able to do that without resorting to the sort of sniping we see on other blogs and in the larger culture.  It's also called false witness. Which leads to:

Alas, the other divide in which we find ourselves, IMHO, is the N-Stage of institutional life.  Once any institution reaches that point in their life history, the unraveling will mirror image how it began.  If it is true that groups of all types go through the old, "Forming, Storming, Norming" cycle, then they will unravel the same way... with storming the experience just before they are no longer "formed" as a group.   Again, IMHO, that's what we see going on in TEC.  Within the ELCA, our storming is just better hidden for now, but I believe we have already crossed the point of no return leading to our own dissolution.  Fasten your seat belts, we're all in for a bumpy ride.

Brian


Dona Nobis

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Re: The downside of using one's real name or an alias when posting
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2007, 01:24:24 PM »
Or, then, there is just fear. That's why I am anonymous. I've learned just how tolerant the tolerance people are.

AMEN

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Re: The downside of using one's real name or an alias when posting
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2007, 01:12:29 PM »
Or, then, there is just fear. That's why I am anonymous. I've learned just how tolerant the tolerance people are.

AMEN

Personally, I am a pew-sitter and have no fear of ELCA pastors and leaders.  But I understand the concern as I revealed some embarrassing facts about LCNA who promptly researched who I was, found out where I went to church and talked to the pastors at my little congregation.  The pastors then chewed me royally and insisted my wife be present for the dressing-down.  Of course I am still welcome to attend church there and be berated from the pulpit.  The only real outcome is that now my wife is now fearful to be in the same room with these pastors.

Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN
But let me tell Thee that now, today, people are more persuaded than ever that they have perfect freedom, yet they have brought their freedom to us and laid it humbly at our feet. But that has been our doing.
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Mike Bennett

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Re: The downside of using one's real name or an alias when posting
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2007, 01:21:51 PM »
Or, then, there is just fear. That's why I am anonymous. I've learned just how tolerant the tolerance people are.

AMEN

Personally, I am a pew-sitter and have no fear of ELCA pastors and leaders.  But I understand the concern as I revealed some embarrassing facts about LCNA who promptly researched who I was, found out where I went to church and talked to the pastors at my little congregation.  The pastors then chewed me royally and insisted my wife be present for the dressing-down.  Of course I am still welcome to attend church there and be berated from the pulpit.  The only real outcome is that now my wife is now fearful to be in the same room with these pastors.

Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN

And I always thought Orwell's Animal Farm was about politics.  Can it be it was about church bodies?

Mike Bennett
“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22

Jim_Krauser

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Re: The downside of using one's real name or an alias when posting
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2007, 01:43:14 PM »
For me, posting under my own name means I have to take responsibility for what I've said. 
Are there risks that others could somehow use my words against me or otherwise bad mouth me because of what I say, think, muse here?  Yes.  But for those of us who are ordained, we are called to the public ministry of the Word, we already know that.
It also reminds me at times that there are things that I would be better off leaving unsaid.
Jim Krauser

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Kurt Weinelt

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Re: The downside of using one's real name or an alias when posting
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2007, 01:56:23 PM »
......If nobody knew who posted what, each post will have to be responded to on the basis of its own merits (or not) alone......
Debbie Hesse

My literature professor at TLU was fond of upbraiding students for analyzing literary works by comparing an author's work at one stage of his life to another.  Instead of psychoanalyzing authors, he asserted (daily) each work should be taken on its own merit.  To this end, he said that he wished all works of literature were anonymous so students would focus on the work, and avoid amateur psychology.

I, too, find myself being swayed by my prejudices (both pro and con) of those who post frequently.  I find myself sometimes more likely to read posts more carefully of those who post infrequently, and those who post anonymously--I haven't already formed an opnion of their ideologies.  It has crossed my mind that in a forum such as this ideas should be more important than personalities.  I agree that maybe that would focus the discussion on the important issues at hand, and maybe stem the tide of ad hominem argumentation.

Of course, one may well assert that the incessant carping on those who post anonymously is in itself a form of ad hominem argumentation.  I think I have seen (certainly in recent months) more breaches of decorum from those who use their real names than from those who use pseudonyms. Yes, some (but not most) anonymous posters are "bomb-throwers", but so are some (but not most) who use their own names. However, I am not willing to automatically suspect that the root of a poster's anonymity is necessarily nefarious. Sometimes it is darned inconvenient to observe the 8th Commandment, isn't it?

No doubt this thread will bring on the same old tired attacks on anonymous posters, and thus prove my point.

Peace,
Kurt

"Learning about history is an antidote to the hubris of the present, the idea that everything in OUR lives is the ultimate." David McCullough

Mike Bennett

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Re: The downside of using one's real name or an alias when posting
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2007, 02:17:42 PM »
For what it's worth:

I can understand that some might need to post here anonymously.  I won't second guess their reasoning.  Busy enough straightening myself out.

Debbie's (or Lou's - I never know which) thought about anonymity taking the personality out of exchanges so the substance can be discussed was interesting.  I know that when I see certain names in a "From" address my eyes begin to roll even before I see what they've written.  I'm sure I'm on some people's eye-rolling list.  But if you go ahead and read the posting surprising points of agreement can arise.  More than once I've posted to some forum or another a note saying in effect, "Hell has frozen over; I've agreed with Mr. X three times today."

I haven't observed anonymous posters misbehaving disproportionately on this forum.  The bigger problem seems to be the constant bellyaching about their being anonymous.

Having said all that - I personally need the discipline of signing my name below my postings.  It can be hard enough for me to keep a civil tongue in my keyboard when I'm signing my name, without the temptation that would be added if I were posting anonymously.  Sort of like the question:  "If you could commit crime X and know you wouldn't get caught, would you commit the crime?"

Mike Bennett
“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22

anonymous

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Re: The downside of using one's real name or an alias when posting
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2007, 02:43:52 PM »
Google your name and see how many blog entries come up. Seeing as we want to reach people in all political parties, I choose potential ingathering over the notions some people have about what is proper public ministry. Is that direct enough of an answer/

I can think of many other practical issues that favor pseudonyms, such as, how many of you engage in cutting and pasting the poster's name in the directory at elca.org? or into google and see what if you can ferret out? To that I would add the dynamics of team ministry and those who have many relatives in the ministry which of course means that you have people on all sides of the issues. I don't need help in furthering my reputation among those who know and love me  :'(
« Last Edit: December 10, 2007, 05:46:13 PM by anonymous »

Mike Bennett

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Re: The downside of using one's real name or an alias when posting
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2007, 03:58:45 PM »
Google you name and see how many blog entries come up.

I've been unmasked:  "Mike Bennett is a professional rugby league player for British Rugby league club St Helens. His specialist position is second-row. On Tuesday, 29 August 2006, Mike signed a contract extension at the Lancashire club which will keep him at Knowsley Road for another two seasons."

I'll write as often as I can as the Lancashire club's practice schedule permits.

Mike Bennett
“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22

Keith Falk

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Re: The downside of using one's real name or an alias when posting
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2007, 04:04:29 PM »
Google you name and see how many blog entries come up.

I've been unmasked:  "Mike Bennett is a professional rugby league player for British Rugby league club St Helens. His specialist position is second-row. On Tuesday, 29 August 2006, Mike signed a contract extension at the Lancashire club which will keep him at Knowsley Road for another two seasons."

I'll write as often as I can as the Lancashire club's practice schedule permits.

Mike Bennett

At least you're not best known for being dead!   (http://www.keithfalk.com
Rev. Keith Falk, STS

Brian Hughes

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Re: The downside of using one's real name or an alias when posting
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2007, 04:14:50 PM »
  Looks like I'm pretty good at jazz guitar:

Brian Hughes “LIVE”, the classic new release by one of contemporary jazz’s finest guitarists features an all star band

http://www.brianhughes.com/bio.html

And I have a Wikipedia article too.  Way cool!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Hughes_(musician)

« Last Edit: December 10, 2007, 04:17:21 PM by Brian Hughes »