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Thread: Usernames or Real names?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ben Miller's Avatar
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    Default 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. #2
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    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)

  3. #3
    Member greenwithensbirder's Avatar
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    a good idea it can save a lot of problems
    regards darrell j prest

  4. #4
    Administrator admin's Avatar
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    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)

  5. #5
    Senior Member Ben Miller's Avatar
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    Quote 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

  6. #6
    Member Stephen R's Avatar
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    so how would i change to my real name?

  7. #7
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    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.

  8. #8
    Member Nighthawk's Avatar
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    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)

  9. #9
    Administrator admin's Avatar
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    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

  10. #10
    Member RaptorBirder's Avatar
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    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 at 01:41 PM.

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