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  • Usernames or Real names?

    Hi all,

    I've noticed that you've set up Surfbirds Forums to enable users to log in with a "username" rather than showing their real name. Before your forums really get going, is there a chance to challange that decision?

    Over on BirdForums (the only other such forum I've used) the use of 'handles' and 'usernames' has created a real problem, with people hiding behind their annonomous handles to throw rocks and generally cause trouble with no comeback. It puts people off posting our joining.

    Surfbirds has the opportunity to improve on BF's earlier failings - maybe requiring everyone to use full names might help the level of the debates?

    Cheers,

    Ben

  • #2
    Good point raised Ben, I feel the exact same way.
    I used to be known as 'The Firecrest' but then decided it would be better if I used my real name as a username.
    Fully behind this idea.
    Jyothi (Joe)
    www.devonbirding.blogspot.com

    Comment


    • #3
      a good idea it can save a lot of problems
      regards darrell j prest

      Comment


      • #4
        This is a good idea. So we could try to enforce this from here on but would it still work if people who've already signed up with handles still keep them but we insist every one has their real name in their signature at least (as Darrell has)?
        ________
        (division)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by admin View Post
          This is a good idea. So we could try to enforce this from here on but would it still work if people who've already signed up with handles still keep them but we insist every one has their real name in their signature at least (as Darrell has)?
          Hi Andy,

          Please to hear you like the suggestion. I'd personally think that allowing those already signed up to use handles whilst no-one else can may cause you problems. Can you request existing users to change?

          Ben

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          • #6
            so how would i change to my real name?
            please visit my blog
            cheers
            steve

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            • #7
              I'm sorry but I disagree as I don't think it makes any difference what you call yourself. Even if you call yourself John Tom or Andy or by any other name it does not mean that it is your real name. As for Bird Forum I've never seen any body cause any trouble there just so they could hide behind there name, and it certainly does not stop people from joining.

              I for one have personal reasons for not using my real name and think, that as with all message boards, it should be up to the individual.

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm inclined to agree with Shadow as none of us are exactly able to hide behind a username, it's not as though we meet each other anyway.

                I completely disagree where the Bird Forum part is concerned as there are some really lovely people on there with all sorts of names that aren't their own, more like that than those using real names, or what we believe are real. With the membership numbers they have on there how on earth can you say it puts people off posting or joining! Whether or not I put my name as Nighthawk or Fred Bloggs makes no difference, does the former not make me any more of a real person than the latter? If people feel more comfortable using pseudonyms then why not let them, it can also make a difference to females and how they are treated at times, that's often been evident on BF.

                Surely with a Forum in it's infancy it's better to have people on and talking using usernames rather than putting them off 'at the door' so to speak by saying they HAVE to use real names only.

                One other point to bear in mind, would it apply to admin too?

                Tim Buktu (see what I mean, it's not real, but I could say it is)

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                • #9
                  Yes, this is a tough one. I did a google search this afternoon and found a few forums that insisted on real names only. I could see the benefit on those forums. If there was a way to accurately enforce it, then I do agree that perhaps it may improve manners but like Nighthawk suggests you can't stop someone signing up with a free hotmail account and a made up name. When it comes to ID discussion, some users may also feel more likely to post knowing there is some anonymity.

                  Steve, in meantime, if you want to change your username, PM me and tell me what you want to change it to and I can change it for you.

                  Andy Birch - my real name

                  PS surfbirdsnews email group gets some pretty boisterous behaviour and you can see everyone's name in their emails.
                  ________
                  CAL-1

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                  • #10
                    My view is that subscribers should be allowed to use any (non-offensive) name they wish.

                    I've observed a few problems on BirdForum but absolutely none that I've seen has directly related to the use or otherwise of pseudonyms. In most cases, it was caused solely by the poor attitude of one or more members.

                    I consider there are certain legitimate reasons for individuals choosing not to use their proper name. For example, let's imagine the position of one of the many hundreds of people who hold reasonably high profile jobs in the birding world (eg. an official of RSPB, RSPCA, Natural England, etc.).

                    I believe such individuals should be allowed a private life as well as a public one. So just because their organisation takes a certain course of action or holds a particular view publicly it doesn't necessarily mean that everyone in those organisations totally agrees with it. But in most cases, even if they dont agree such individuals feel it's not enough of an issue over which to resign their job, perhaps believing that they can do more to change it from the inside.

                    If Surfbirds insists on real names I believe that we run the risk of excluding a whole tranch of well informed individuals who will simply not feel able to engage in the really important debates. Please rest assured that I'm not suggesting that anyone should publish confidential information not already in the public domain but such people are often best placed to contribute a factually based and soundly reasoned view to balance the frequently inaccurate and misguided media hype, which worryingly is taken as gospel by so many people.

                    Finally, as has been said before, I don't believe it will be possible for Surfbirds to police such a rule so what's the point of introducing something that we all know from the outset is completely unenforceable?

                    Let's get out there and do some birding!

                    Bill Oddity
                    Last edited by RaptorBirder; December 2nd, 2007, 01:41 PM.

                    RaptorBirder


                    'Raptors - sentinels for our future on planet Earth'.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hi all,

                      As I started this discussion off, I feel I should add a few more thoughts. Rest assured Andy et.al I don't want this to become a discussion on the pros and cons of BF, however I do feel there are some lessons to learn from how certain parts of that site have evolved...

                      Originally posted by Nighthawk View Post
                      I'm inclined to agree with Shadow as none of us are exactly able to hide behind a username, it's not as though we meet each other anyway.

                      I completely disagree where the Bird Forum part is concerned as there are some really lovely people on there with all sorts of names that aren't their own, more like that than those using real names, or what we believe are real. With the membership numbers they have on there how on earth can you say it puts people off posting or joining!
                      Nighthawk, Shadow (or who-ever you are... ),

                      There are, of course, many lovely people on BF, I didn't say there were not. However, please let me disagree with you on some of your other points. I'm mainly talking about the Rare Bird threads here, however I feel this is very relevant to Surfbirds, form whom the UK Rare Birds gallery and listing forums have driven a lot of the popularity amongst the UK birding population (pls correct me if I'm wrong on this Andy). People interested in rare and scarce birds are drawn to Surfbirds, so there might be value in looking at how the Rare Birds threads on BF have evolved.

                      Let me assure you Nighthawk that all of the following does take place on BF:

                      1) Please hide behind pseudonyms just to make accusations at certain other people. It's happening on one thread right now!

                      2) There are 'BF Lurkers', well respected birders who use their totally anonomous usernames to promote their personal agenda around about a topic or a bird, or just to 'stir things up'

                      3) Some well respected birders refuse to join as they feel their views will be open to abuse by people 'hiding' behind usernames. You are right when you say that the total number of users of BF is very high, but equally as "RaptorBirder" alluded to - it can be about the quality of views brought to the table, and BF is starting to miss out on this.

                      I also disagree with you Nighthawk when you say that "it's not as though we meet each other anyway". I find the birding community, and particularly the twitching community, is a very small world where you meet the same people quite often, and reputations do matter.

                      I totally agree, though, that it could be hard to enforce - how do you ensure people enter their real names? Am I really Ben Miller? However, just because it's hard shouldn't, I think, prevent the admin having a think about how it could be done - if it's the right thing to happen...

                      Cheers,

                      Ben

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks all for your feedback on this. We really want to be a friendly forum. It's a hobby for most of us and something we enjoy and want these forums to compliment the rest of the content on Surfbirds and be informative, useful and easily accessible without being intimidating. We welcome all levels of birder and hope our more experienced members will be happy to spend the time helping more novice readers.

                        Admin, for one, wants your feedback about all areas of the site, so please feel free to post here or PM us if you want to take it offline.

                        I agree, let's take what works the best from different forums and leave the less successful things alone. It's a chance to be a little different. This is something we definitely need your help on.

                        Having run the surfbirdsnews email group for a few years, we've witnessed the passionate and heated debates that have erupted there and it's usually turned most readers off whilst 2 or 3 members go at each other. We definitely lost members as a result. It's harder work (but not impossible) to post anonymously on an email newsgroup as you have to create a fake email address. Real names may help but won't eliminate heated arguments.

                        We respect people's right to privacy and readers have different reasons for this. We won't tolerate anonymity if that user is trying to "stir things up" or being abusive. Having said that, if some of our founding members (anyone in this thread for instance) want to start a trend of real names to promote a more personable forum, we are 100% behind that. Either by changing your handle to a real name or using your signature. We may even put a note on sign up encouraging users to use a real name if they want to. It might just promote a little more harmony. In meantime, if you want to change your username, again PM me and I can change it for you.

                        PS - if any of our founding members want to occasionally reviews books etc, PM me and I will put you on a list. We want more reviews from our readers. You get to keep the books but I'm afraid optics have to be returned to the manufacturer!
                        ________
                        Lamborghini 350GTV

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ben Miller View Post
                          Nighthawk, Shadow (or who-ever you are... ),

                          There are, of course, many lovely people on BF, I didn't say there were not.

                          Let me assure you Nighthawk that all of the following does take place on BF:

                          1) Please hide behind pseudonyms just to make accusations at certain other people. It's happening on one thread right now!

                          2) There are 'BF Lurkers', well respected birders who use their totally anonomous usernames to promote their personal agenda around about a topic or a bird, or just to 'stir things up'

                          3) Some well respected birders refuse to join as they feel their views will be open to abuse by people 'hiding' behind usernames. You are right when you say that the total number of users of BF is very high, but equally as "RaptorBirder" alluded to - it can be about the quality of views brought to the table, and BF is starting to miss out on this.

                          I also disagree with you Nighthawk when you say that "it's not as though we meet each other anyway". I find the birding community, and particularly the twitching community, is a very small world where you meet the same people quite often, and reputations do matter.

                          I totally agree, though, that it could be hard to enforce - how do you ensure people enter their real names? Am I really Ben Miller? However, just because it's hard shouldn't, I think, prevent the admin having a think about how it could be done - if it's the right thing to happen...

                          Cheers,

                          Ben
                          Hi Ben,

                          I was only making a comment about there being some lovely people 'over there' that have pseudonyms, not intending that you had meant anything to the contrary, I promise you. However it is a fact that there are many, many more with usernames than with 'real' ones.

                          I think you'll always get people on Forums (with real names or pseudonyms) who are ever intent on stirring things. Much of that has gone on there of late and I've become fed up with it.

                          The remark about not meeting each other was intended as a flippant remark because of us being on the boards, not seeing each other. Apologies Ben, I wasn't thinking at the time about twitchers, bashes etc, I guess because I do neither and prefer to go birding alone.

                          You may not believe this - but this is the FIRST time I've ever used a pseudonym and I'm doing so now as I've become fed up with being attacked on threads seemingly (to me) because I'm about the only one who has used my real name; it seems to me that they lurch onto those who identify themselves even more so and with the possible intentions of shutting them up perhaps! Obviously here I'm speaking of those who are the stirrers. If we've had proper debates then people read yours add their thoughts and so forth and it all goes along nicely - until you get a trouble maker or two!

                          Just as a real matter of interest Ben, would it make any difference now if I did put a Christian name on the signature part?

                          Best regards.
                          Last edited by Nighthawk; December 3rd, 2007, 12:50 AM. Reason: additional thoughts

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by admin View Post
                            Thanks all for your feedback on this. We really want to be a friendly forum. It's a hobby for most of us and something we enjoy and want these forums to compliment the rest of the content on Surfbirds and be informative, useful and easily accessible without being intimidating. We welcome all levels of birder and hope our more experienced members will be happy to spend the time helping more novice readers.

                            Admin, for one, wants your feedback about all areas of the site, so please feel free to post here or PM us if you want to take it offline.

                            I agree, let's take what works the best from different forums and leave the less successful things alone. It's a chance to be a little different. This is something we definitely need your help on.

                            We respect people's right to privacy and readers have different reasons for this. We won't tolerate anonymity if that user is trying to "stir things up" or being abusive.

                            PS - if any of our founding members want to occasionally reviews books etc, PM me and I will put you on a list. We want more reviews from our readers. You get to keep the books but I'm afraid optics have to be returned to the manufacturer!
                            Hi Andy and thank you for listening to both sides of this debate and seeing the points from both 'camps'. I have to admit to liking the thoughtfulness you've expressed - and for simply listening to us.

                            I'll give the reviews some thought, darn shame about the optics though!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by admin View Post
                              In meantime, if you want to change your username, again PM me and I can change it for you.

                              PS - if any of our founding members want to occasionally reviews books etc, PM me and I will put you on a list. We want more reviews from our readers. You get to keep the books but I'm afraid optics have to be returned to the manufacturer!
                              hi admin,
                              did u get my pm about these matters?
                              have you considered making this a sticky so that all members can see the debate?
                              Btw which artist did these avatars i reckon they need there own thread in the artwork forum imo.
                              cheers
                              Last edited by Stephen R; December 3rd, 2007, 06:35 PM.
                              please visit my blog
                              cheers
                              steve

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