Pseudo Science

It should come as no surprise that I'm a fan of pseudonyms in social networks. I blog under a pseudonym, I refuse to facebook under my name, and I comment consistently under the same pseudonym. If I were not operating under a pseudonym, at least half of the material on this blog would not exist (decide on your own whether that's valuable to you or not) and I doubt I'd have left a comment on anybody else's posts anywhere.

There are a lot of reasons to be pseudonymous, but for me the main one is the way in which it encourages honesty and openness. Isn't that weird?

Over at Disqus, they believe they've got the data to show that pseudonyms lead to more and better conversations. What do you think?

found via Flowing Data

6 thoughtful messages from friendly readers:

Don Pelton said...

It's double-edged: maybe more honest, but also wildly more inflammatory.

AbbotOfUnreason said...

Maybe so, or maybe it's just natural part of whatever topic you pick. I certainly don't want the kind of vitriol that has been directed at Mr. Pelline and he is a strong anti-pseudonym partisan.

Highway said...

Hooray! Thanks for posting this, Abbot. I totally agree with using pseudonyms on-line, especially on these types of forums. BTW, thanks for clarifying the difference between anonymous and pseudonymous. Ironically, I posted a blog in the Auburn Journal on a similar subject recently.

Thanks for being here!

lacochran's evil twin said...

You mean I friended the wrong AbbotofUnreason on Facebook? You didn't post "OMG!!! I'm SOOOO drunk!1!!" last night?


Anyway, I think if you are part of a community, there's some accountability. We may not know your real name but if we see you posting/commenting something controversial under your pseudonym we can still call you out.

*insert Oliver Hardy satisfied Hmph here*

AbbotOfUnreason said...

@LA: I think that's the key difference between pseudonymity and anonymity. I still have a responsibility to both act like a decent human being and to be consistent with my character.

But it saves me from having to defend myself in every grocery store encounter.

Highway said...

Well, it appears that my digital footprint will again get a little smaller... First it was Channel 10requiring a FaceBook account to comment, then the Auburn Journal followed suit. Now our local paper, The Union, instituted a "pay wall" today, which allows only paid subscribers access to their on-line content. They report that their "Town Talk Live!" comment feature will still be free. However, I stopped posting there after having many of my comments get lost. Besides, the hours of operation are not so "live", the discussions don't follow the articles, and their default "Guest" sign in, promoted anonymity not pseudonymity. Ha!