[WikiEN-l] Reminder

George Herbert george.herbert at gmail.com
Tue Oct 17 19:31:36 UTC 2006

On 10/17/06, Matt R <matt_crypto at yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
> I saw this on BBC News today:
>    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/6059726.stm
> Made me think. I suspect I'm not the only one on this list to have
> encountered
> some pretty disturbed and angry people on Wikipedia. I know you all know
> this
> already, but a reminder: it's a good idea to ensure your physical address
> (at
> the very least) is not public if you plan to tangle with nutcases online.
> -- Matt
> Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Matt_Crypto
> Blog: http://cipher-text.blogspot.com
> Send instant messages to your online friends http://uk.messenger.yahoo.com
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People have been afraid of this stuff since online discussions started in
the 1970s.  It's easy to become paranoid about it, but that extreme stuff
doesn't happen very often.  Among other things, the people who get very
aggressive online are usually not physically aggressive in person.  I've
only known one exception in 20+ years.

If there is any way for anyone to figure out who you are from your online
presence, then your address and phone number are out there in so many public
databases that "hiding" is rather pointless.  Either keep your pseudonym
completely divorced from all identifying information, or accept that this is
another minor risk in life and move on.

Almost everyone I know has had their addresses online, associated with
vanity domain names, for 10-15 years (in some cases, longer).  So far,
nobody has had anything more than occational snail mail spam.

As I have said elsewhere, though it's currently Wikifashionable to stay
pseudonymous, in the long term I expect that people will accept this and get
over it, and start using real names more consistently.

-george william herbert
george.herbert at gmail.com

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