Mark Gritter (markgritter) wrote,
Mark Gritter
markgritter

Nymwars

Watch as I cleverly avoid using G+ to comment on G+!

The "people are better behaved with their real names" argument is bunk. And we don't necessarily want people to be better behaved. I don't care much if HaXXoR15 is rude, because I can just block him.

What I do care about is HaXXoR15 creating hundreds of sock-puppets to escape banning. And I worry a lot about spammers creating ever-more-sophisticated fake accounts and fake networks in order to flood services with their messages. And this is the thing that pro-psuedonymity people really don't seem to tackle (though, to be fair, then anti-pseudonym camp really hasn't stressed it enough either.)

I don't care what you call yourself on the Internet. I do care that whatever mechanism you use for generating psuedonyms and building reputation for them can't be duplicated and exploited by spam-bots and hordes of Mechanical Turk workers. Tying an online identity to a real identity is a very crude way of accomplishing this. (Banning people for unusual names is not.) I don't have a better solution ready at hand, but I think we need to admit that "unanchored" identities can be a threat. I don't want Internet "driver's licenses"--- what a nightmare--- and they wouldn't stop botnets from using the identities of the computers they reside on. But the ability of bad actors to impersonate real people is only going to increase.
Tags: internet, policy
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