Real Names & #NymWars

I feel that freedom of expression is given to people who stand up for what they say and not hiding behind anonymity. We need to evolve a platform to meet the needs of the grown-up Internet.
Arianna Huffington

Keeping it “real” does not require a name. It requires “real” words.

The #nymwars drag on though. This is the hashtag used on Twitter and other social platforms which covers the debate over anonymous and pseudonymous identity.

There are those who believe using our “real” names online is a good thing – that it will convert the interwebs into a civil, let’s discuss over tea, affair.

It surprises me that such beliefs are shared by the socially savvy who should really know better. Why also choose to contribute to the privacy debate, when the decision to ban anonymity or pseudonymity ignores the fact that the Internet is not grown up?

There are many who seek to remain a bit anonymous (even if that’s a vague word these days) in order to share something that might otherwise put themselves in for a troll bashing, or worse, and that could carry over into real life.

The creation of real name policies is more harmful than good in fact.

There are many who take pride in online name calling debates even under their “real” names. Facebook and Google+ both prove this to be true. Providing a real name can just make the path to greater harm that much more traversable for those with less than adult views and who have no qualms with using their own real names along the way.

Enforcing real names or identity policies is not the easiest thing to do. For that, I point to Google+ which still has troubles with their policy. Google to this day is unable to get it right. Trolls are alive and well there. Others with unique real legal names have been put outside of the G+ walls in the quest for “standardized” “real” names.

Of course the lofty goal of trying to create a civil environment is hard to view behind the mountain of ad dollars seeking to crush the *nyms.

Is there a solution?

As difficult as it may sound, it’s called moderation. That can also mean work.

Some big players understand the need to allow anonymous or pseudonymous access and commenting ability for online safety. With the right moderation and community, keeping things civil can become a group effort though.

If the posted content is controversial, be prepared with a plan. Set the rule for engagement and moderate. The bottom line is that it requires work.

HuffPo and Arianna Huffington may ban the *nyms from commenting according to her recent words, but that’s not our cuppa tea.

We allow Twitter or Facebook sign-ins for posting comments. You can also enter “a” name along with a fake email (if you prefer). How “real” your name is or how “real” your email address is means nothing to us here at TeazMedia. Your content does though. If a comment is too unkind, contains profanity or other inappropriate messaging, it will be moderated and not approved.

“Real” name policies are not something we really get behind. We don’t want to be responsible for exposing “real” names to the grown up Internet where too many bad things can still happen.

If you want the latest news on this topic, trying searching Twitter with the hashtag #nymwars.

I feel that standing up has nothing to do with what your “real” name is. It’s the “real” words that matter most.

Our message is, “Good moderation keeps it real – not crushing the *nyms.”

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