I think the real name requirement in the Code of Conduct is a mistake in an otherwise helpful CoC.
I think the mistake of requiring real names is in assuming that attackers will not want their attacks to be associated with their real names… but I think that is often not true, and that the attackers think their opinions are perfectly valid.
In addition, if you allow fake names, then it makes it easier for people who want to avoid attackers to do so by simply using a psuedonym. By requiring “proof” of abuse, you raise a barrier of entry to the more vulnerable people in the community, the very people whom this forum is supposed to include. What about people that are trying to avoid their abusive ex? What about celebrities that want to avoid attention? What about people that haven’t been abused but fear they might be?
Sure, this means that an abusive attacker can keep making new accounts to harass people… but we have community moderation for that, and it’s not like they can’t do that with the real name rule either… we’re not requiring ID to sign in, so they can still just make real-looking names.
Given that it’s basically impossible to verify real names anyway… giving lip service to real names only hurts those it is supposed to protect, IMO.
I looked over the CoC earlier this morning as well and the real-name requirement was a red flag. Further mentioning a human approval process for an anonymous name was a second red flag.
Finally, given the rarity of even receiving an anonymous account may draw unwanted attention to such a user given the community would be aware of the difficult process to receive such.
It also just seems impractical.
As you sort of imply (am I reading too much between the lines?) going to Gmail and grabbing email@example.com with name “Jane Smith” is relatively easy. The cases you describe sound like people who can easily do this or have already done this.
My experience with Google+ vs Twitter (real name policy vs no real name policy) is that the level of discussion in Google+ is so much more civilized and pleasant in the former that there’s no contest. In my mind the real name policy is not about “Marcelo Magallon” (real) vs “Pedro Perez” (pseudonym), but “Linus Torvalds” vs “CoolDudeWhoHacksKernels”, in other words one of person vs persona.
And yes, Google+ real name policy is not really enforced (there are plenty of obviously fake names floating around and reporting gets you nowhere).
Historically we have had valuable contributors to the project operate almost entirely pseudonymously. It would be a shame to shut such people out of this forum.
If it’s up for debate, I’d suggest relaxing this restriction and revisiting it if/when there are issues related to people not using their real names.
On JavaRanch (now CodeRanch) they have always operated with a requirement of real-sounding names, not real names. It doesn’t have to be your name, but it shouldn’t be an obvious pseudonym (e.g. CoolHackerDude).
that is middle ground I suppose, but I guess I don’t understand the premise that a civil adult conversation can’t be held with an individual that self-identifies as CoolHackerDude.
Perhaps CoolHackerDude has a brazen attitude and strongly opinionated, introducing some much needed entropy into a conversation which i think is a good thing in a self-corrective system.
Forcing CoolHackerDude to either conform (stripping one of their identity) or simply not participate in this medium seems like a lose-lose for conversations on a whole.
Why can’t CoolHackerDude be brazen and strongly opinionated while using his real name ?
I guess the question is… why are we requiring real names? What benefits do we think it brings to the table?
We’d have to ask CoolHackerDude that rather personal, existential, question but we can’t because he’s not allowed on the forum.
Regardless, we’re talking about a straw man and maybe I’ve derailed the conversation. As nate said, what are the benefits? In addition, are these benefits simply perceived or is there concrete data showing enforcing real names is for the best (whatever that may be).
Enforcing real names can be a security issue for many people who are underrepresented in tech. In particular, being outed as transgender can have devastating consequences.
I think it’s important that the moderators & administrators do recognize that their idea of a “real name” may not match people’s actual real names. Facebook messed up (and I believe continues to screw up) by telling people that the names they actually go by aren’t “real” enough.
As a general policy, I think the idea of asking for a “real” name is a good one. But if enforced carelessly, it can cause real harm.
Just to throw my 2 cents in, for what it’s worth:
In my opinion, Real Name requirements are a minor deterrent at best, security theatre at worst. A better long term solution is to make sure people know who to contact when they feel someone is acting in bad faith, and that the community has trust in the judgement of the people reviewing those complaints. That isn’t perfect, but if there were perfect solutions to this problem, we wouldn’t be having the conversation. Again, this is just my opinion, which people are free to disagree with.
I am actually known by my handle (as odd as that may sound) among coworkers, colleagues, and friends as much (or more so, in some cases) than by my own real name. Hence, I prefer to use it when engaging in community activities, as my real name is incredibly generic, but my handle is incredibly unique - thus, I find I’m easier to identify.
I get where at face value, my handle probably comes across the wrong way, so I’m always happy to work with a community to represent myself in a way that is in keeping with their guidelines, but at the end of the day I would prefer to always go by my handle while participating in the community, and never my actual name.
Based on this conversation we have been talking about your concerns and we made changes to the CoC about the name policy:
Full Names: The use of names that people use outside of the internet is important and fosters more community openness. We value names because our interactions are with real people, not some avatar or merely a username. We ask that all members use their first and last name when participating in this forum. We prefer you follow this full name requirement, but we understand there are circumstances when that isn’t appropriate. If you are unsure of what to do, please email the admins: firstname.lastname@example.org
this sounds a bit off-putting, I’d prefer “not an avatar or username.”
Either way, thanks for making this change
I don’t see how real names promote openness. In my experience, I was able to express myself and considered more seriously under “rakyll” rather than using my real name with rakyll mutually. Burcu Dogan reveals a lot more personal details about me such as gender and background – leads to more bias. Anonymity is a right from the privacy perspective and given the fact that a “real” name can be faked, I see no value in having such a strong requirement that limits the most vulnerable people the most.
As human beings don’t we (or a group of moderators) know how to act in when a situation arises? The internet is open and unfortunately comes with good and bad. To create some sort of government/governance is a bit silly and benefits no one other than the people listed under the GoBridge Core Team and dictating what I should choose as a name and photo is a bit overboard.
Try taking a cue from here - http://meta.stackexchange.com/help/be-nice
Just be nice
I’m not using my real name here, nor on Facebook, Reddit, or anywhere else. Am I allowed to be here? I went to Gophercon under this name as well, is that OK?
We have changed and now what the admins agreed on was to ask for full name, not necessarily real name.
Please see my reply to Burcu. But, in sum, you are good.