[Foundation-l] Ring of Gyges

Michael Peel email at mikepeel.net
Wed Dec 1 00:08:21 UTC 2010

On 30 Nov 2010, at 23:53, George Herbert wrote:

> Two, nearly all WP users use pseudonymity rather than real names, and
> for most people not having their real name attached anywhere gives
> them a sense of anonymous empowerment similar to the truly anonymous
> trolls seen elsewhere.  We see a lot of behavioral problems that are,
> to anyone who studies interpersonal communications online, extremely
> common.  People don't inherently humanize other pseudonyms; they don't
> feel that they'll necessarily be held accountable in the same way they
> would in real life for behavior, etc.  Coupled with the inherent
> degraded emotional communications in text-based communications, we
> have a lot of the same behavior even with persistent pseudonyms.  And
> you can see a lot of that, where a pseudonym account gets sufficiently
> bad community karma on WP and they go and sockpuppet off and create
> another one, not caring about the underlying issue their behavior
> raised.  That sort of thing is not unheard of in the real world, but
> it's generally felt to be the domain of scam artists and private
> investigators and the like; at the very least, socially dubious.

I guess I'm one of the few that contributes under my real name.

One of the options coded into MediaWiki is to submit a real name for attribution at the same time as registering (i.e. you specify both a pseudonym and a real name). By default, this is on when you use a non-Wikimemedia install of MediaWiki. However, within Wikimedia this is always turned off. I've wondered for a long time why this is - can anyone provide an insight into the decision to disable this?


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