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POLL: Should You Be Required To Use Your Real Name Online?

Real Simple has dubbed this week Be Nice On The Internet. Do you think full disclosure would make people nicer? Take our poll and add your thoughts in the comments.

Real Simple magazine is calling this week Be Nice On The Internet.

Do you think if people were required to use their real names to post online that it would improve the level of discourse that we see? Do you use your real name online — why or why not?

Take our poll and add your thoughts in the comments.

Kelley Lanahan January 15, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Jim, Jim, Jim. Let's not ruffle up the few strands you have left up top. Are we talking about 1982 or 1988? Six short years was a Millennium as far as internet development was concerned. In 1982 the "internet" was still a concept being explored by the military and governmental agencies. Oh. And Al Gore. By 1988 even I had a CompuServe account and a dial up modem to chat with people in the virtual world. To move the point forward, six years ago we didn't know what an iPhone was, much less an iPad. And Facebook was just for a select college kids. Computers mostly sat on desks and only a few got to take them along on business trips where they were plugged into wired outlets in the hotel. Wireless was on it's way, but not nearly as commonplace as now. My point? 1982 was way different than 1988. You were probably not moderating or counselling other people on how to use the internet in 1982. Maybe by 1988, but it would have been a select few gearheads like myself... Wonder what we'll be pissing at each other about in 2018??
Jack R. January 15, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Jim G. You state the issue very well. I don't use my real name for many of the reasons you mentioned. I also advocate a behind the scenes check of real email addresses and identity. It has nothing to do with standing behind your posts. It has everything to do with protecting your privacy. If your neighbor is involved in an issue in which you hold a contrary or unpopular viewpoint, it's easy to see requiring real names would dampen honest discussion of the issue. The U.S. Supreme Court refers to it as "chilling effects on free speech." You're not going to get honest dialogue by requiring real names for the same reason you wouldn't tell Aunt Mary her fruitcake tastes is as hard as a cinder block. p.s. I was right there with you during those BBS days (ahhh, the sound of a dialup modem connecting to another modem) . Not sure what point Kelley is trying to make other than annoying you. The exchange was humorous, though.
Jim G. January 15, 2012 at 09:10 PM
You're not ruffling my "strands," which I assure you would take two hands and well-toned arms to do. You are, however, confusing "online" and "internet" as being the same thing, which they are not. The original AOL was not "the internet." Neither was Prodigy, GEnie or the gran'daddy of them all, Compu$erve. Most people had no idea what the internet was until around 90-91 and most people stayed with the packaged services until around 94 - it was quite the adventure when the hordes from careful, safe, protected AOL and Prodigy wandered into this new "chat room" full of wolves, bears and dragons. I'll clarify. I have been "online" in that I was using a modem to communicate with other computer users since late 1983 or so. I've been on community exchanges of some sort or another since 1984. On the internet - primarily Usenet, since the web was primitive and almost useless - since 1987 or 1988. And I'm pleased to have been a continual, if usually minor contributor to the growth and development of all of them.
Jim G. January 15, 2012 at 09:13 PM
"Wonder what we'll be pissing at each other about in 2018??" Mac vs. PC, of course.
Kelley Lanahan January 15, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Oh no. It will be android v iOS....

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