Poll

How should pseudonyms be handled on ALPB

Maintain the status quo and stop whining about them.
30 (58.8%)
Forbid them.
3 (5.9%)
Allow them, but discourage their use.
6 (11.8%)
Make up strict rules for the Moderators to enforce.
2 (3.9%)
Publish some guidelines and ask for voluntary compliance
10 (19.6%)

Total Members Voted: 39

Author Topic: The Use of Pseudonyms on ALPB, yes, no, or maybe  (Read 5544 times)

George Erdner

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The Use of Pseudonyms on ALPB, yes, no, or maybe
« on: January 31, 2013, 11:23:27 AM »
Rather than kvetch about a thread being hijacked to discuss pseudonyms, I thought it better to simply start a new thread on the subject, and hope people will use it instead of dragging the other thread off-topic.

Coach-Rev

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Re: The Use of Pseudonyms on ALPB, yes, no, or maybe
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2013, 11:25:11 AM »
Do I need to guess who's making  a stink on it this time?

George Erdner

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Re: The Use of Pseudonyms on ALPB, yes, no, or maybe
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2013, 11:49:05 AM »
Do I need to guess who's making  a stink on it this time?


No one is, yet. I thought it better to not make a stink, but to simply start a new thread. I'm usually the one who observes that if someone kvetches about a thread going off-topic, they shouldn't kvetch, they should either post something to bring the thread back on topic, or start a new thread. So, in this case I'm following my own advice. Instead of whining and kvetching, I started a new thread.


George Erdner

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Re: The Use of Pseudonyms on ALPB, yes, no, or maybe
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2013, 11:49:56 AM »
Should I start another thread about starting threads when threads get dragged off-topic?  ::)

JMK

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Re: The Use of Pseudonyms on ALPB, yes, no, or maybe
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2013, 11:53:58 AM »
The history of pseudonyms is pretty much well engrained in our society. Nicodemus was not rebuked by our Lord (John 3:2) when he came at night to see him, so that he would not be seen by others. The famous French infidel, Francois Marie Arouet had a pen-known as Voltaire. A more contemporary example is that of the late Carl Sagan. He used the pseudonym “Mr X” to argue in favor of marijuana being legalized. In my case (Johannes Andreas Quenstedt), I like to use the name of a dead orthodox Lutheran theologian with close to an impeccable record in conservative LCMS circles. I just sounds so cool!

In an important 1995 case, the United States Supreme Court upheld anonymous and pseudonymous writing as nothing less than a fundamental right of expression:

Anonymous pamphlets, leaflets, brochures and even books have played an important role in the progress of mankind.’  Talley v. California (1960).  Great works of literature have frequently been produced by authors writing under assumed names.  Despite readers’ curiosity and the public’s interest in identifying the creator of a work of art, an author generally is free to decide whether or not to disclose her true identity.  The decision in favor of anonymity may be motivated by fear of economic or official retaliation, by concern about social ostracism, or merely by a desire to preserve as much of one’s privacy as possible.  Whatever the motivation may be, at least in the field of literary endeavor, the interest in having anonymous works enter the marketplace of ideas unquestionably outweighs any public interest in requiring disclosure as a condition of entry.  Accordingly, an author’s decision to remain anonymous, like other decisions concerning omissions or additions to the content of a publication, is an aspect of freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment.

The Supreme Court went on to state:

Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority.  It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation-and their ideas from suppression-at the hand of an intolerant society.  The right to remain anonymous may be abused when it shields fraudulent conduct.  But political speech by its nature will sometimes have unpalatable consequences, and, in general, our society accords greater weight to the value of free speech than to the dangers of its misuse.

John, an Unlikely Pastor

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Re: The Use of Pseudonyms on ALPB, yes, no, or maybe
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2013, 11:56:13 AM »
For what it's worth
I do use a partial pseudonym.  But my real name is John Heille, I am a pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Fairmont, Minnesota if you must know.
Peace to all, John
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Charles_Austin

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Re: The Use of Pseudonyms on ALPB, yes, no, or maybe
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2013, 12:08:54 PM »
Anonymity is, of course, a "right," (sometimes) but whether it is ethical and brotherly to do so at all times is up for questioning.
This is an inter-Lutheran forum, where discussion ranges wide and sometimes critical. Personally, I do not know why people do not want their names known. But I understand - from Pastor Hannah's writings and others - how the witch-hunters in the LCMS might drive some to remain nameless.
   When I was covering town council meetings or school board meetings, I would occasionally be asked not to quote someone by name. I simply told them that this was a public on-the-record meeting and if they did not want to be quoted, they should not speak. That's how it works.
    In other private interviews, as I have explained many times, I have - on very very rare occasions - used an "anonymous" source. But at least two of my editors knew who that person was and we all had to agree that there was a very compelling reason to allow that person to remain anonymous.
     Sometimes, government officials will give reporters information "not for attribution," but that is a different matter.
    Here on ALPB forum, the only reason for anonymity that I sort of (only sort of) understand is the desire to avoid being hassled by certain factions of certain church bodies.
   It is one of those "sad-but-true" situations.

JMK

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Re: The Use of Pseudonyms on ALPB, yes, no, or maybe
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2013, 12:14:02 PM »
Quote
But I understand - from Pastor Hannah's writings and others - how the witch-hunters in the LCMS might drive some to remain nameless.

Bingo!

Take for example, the issue of WO. The big reason why it is not talked about in LCMS circles is the fear of persecution. I know of several (Scriptural inerrancy believing) LCMS clergy that have no objections to WO, but would rather keep their opinions to themselves - so as to not the rock the boat.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 12:16:33 PM by Johannes Andreas Quenstedt »

John_Hannah

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Re: The Use of Pseudonyms on ALPB, yes, no, or maybe
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2013, 12:31:22 PM »
Quote
But I understand - from Pastor Hannah's writings and others - how the witch-hunters in the LCMS might drive some to remain nameless.

Bingo!

Take for example, the issue of WO. The big reason why it is not talked about in LCMS circles is the fear of persecution. I know of several (Scriptural inerrancy believing) LCMS clergy that have no objections to WO, but would rather keep their opinions to themselves - so as to not the rock the boat.

Johannes,

Indeed. A good example. It is a perfectly acceptable practice for a church body to do. Yet in some LCMS circles, the mere mention arouses great ire, suspicion, and accusations.

Peace, JOHN
(from Johannes   :))
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

George Erdner

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Re: The Use of Pseudonyms on ALPB, yes, no, or maybe
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2013, 12:34:28 PM »
I'm all in favor of some voluntary guidelines. For example, if one uses a pseudonym, one might consider making it easier on others to refer to you by your pseudonym. Even if one uses a semi-pseudonym as a handle, with your real name in your footnote, that footnote isn't visible when in the "reply" screen. But, that should be a voluntary thing to consider or not, as you see fit.

It strikes me as a little pompous to assume the name of some obscure theologian as a pseudonym. That's strictly a personal reaction. I'm sure others don't mind the practice.

I think it might be beneficial for all of us to remember we cannot remember each detail that we might post about ourselves that is pertinent to what we post. Since some of us are lay people, and most others not, I think it helpful to include that fact in a footnote or tagline instead of mentioning it once in the body of a post and expecting everyone else to remember it. Some folks probably object to my use of "I'm not a pastor, but I played one on TV", but I thought that a whimsical way to note that I am a layman.

I think we should respect the position of those who post anonymously, but I think those who do should bear the burden of not hiding behind a pseudonym for the purpose of posting aggressive personal attacks one wouldn't post under one's own name.




swbohler

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Re: The Use of Pseudonyms on ALPB, yes, no, or maybe
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2013, 12:52:03 PM »
For what it's worth
I do use a partial pseudonym.  But my real name is John Heille, I am a pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Fairmont, Minnesota if you must know.
Peace to all, John

Hey, John! My wife's family lives near Ceylon; some of the nieces and nephews attend church in Fairmont (LCMS).  Nice area.  We'll be there the first weekend in June for a niece's wedding; I forget which church it will be at in Fairmont.  A classmate of mine, Russell Reimers, is pastor at my in-laws' church in Ceylon.

swbohler

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Re: The Use of Pseudonyms on ALPB, yes, no, or maybe
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2013, 12:55:18 PM »
Quote
But I understand - from Pastor Hannah's writings and others - how the witch-hunters in the LCMS might drive some to remain nameless.

Bingo!

Take for example, the issue of WO. The big reason why it is not talked about in LCMS circles is the fear of persecution. I know of several (Scriptural inerrancy believing) LCMS clergy that have no objections to WO, but would rather keep their opinions to themselves - so as to not the rock the boat.

Johannes,

Indeed. A good example. It is a perfectly acceptable practice for a church body to do. Yet in some LCMS circles, the mere mention arouses great ire, suspicion, and accusations.

Peace, JOHN
(from Johannes   :))

As both you gentlemen know, the LCMS has stated that it is NOT perfectly acceptable practice.  For Biblical reasons.  And we believe/teach/confess this is true not just for our church body, but that these Biblical reasons apply to ALL churches.  That is why it arouses great ire, suspicion, and accusation when men who are sworn to teach and practice accordingly fail to do so.

DCharlton

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Re: The Use of Pseudonyms on ALPB, yes, no, or maybe
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2013, 12:57:59 PM »
As far as pseudonyms go, we should remember ones like Johannes de Silentio and Victor Eremita .

Now if I were to adopt a pseudonym on ALPB Forum, it would be to prevent cyber stalking by other members of the forum.  I will not name who those stalkers might be.
David Charlton  

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JMK

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Re: The Use of Pseudonyms on ALPB, yes, no, or maybe
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2013, 01:06:54 PM »
Yes, the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard was also known to have used a pseudonym. But, you have got to admit that his love life was a bit strained. Of course too much posting on ALPB, late at night, has also been known to put a strain on marriages. 

Dave Benke

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Re: The Use of Pseudonyms on ALPB, yes, no, or maybe
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2013, 01:17:05 PM »
The passive/aggressive nature of
a) clergy
b) people who post in general
c) people who are fearful in general
d) people who want to get out of the hole they have dug for themselves in their actual personality and therefore start a new one, while never really shedding the old one

make for pseudonymous authorship.

For the serious student of the literature of the ancient near east, however, we have an entire bundle of books locked together from the intertestamental period called "The Pseudepigrapha."  Meaning ALL the books were written pseudonymously.  Which is cool, knowing that these birds were pretending to be Enoch, or some other bogus person, and yet people were reading and heeding what they wrote.

This is the dream of the pseudonymous author, no?
"They like me!   They really, really like me!"

Dave Benke