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Anonymity when posting on food and wine boards


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Hmm, I have used my real name in various fora for years.  The number of friends and contacts made this way have far outweighed the death threats, which are currently at acceptable levels.

Posting anonymously in no way precludes your establishing friendships, either on or off-line, with other eGullet participants: if you're comfortable with an individual you can drop your pseudonym via PM.

[edit for typo]

Edited by therese (log)

Can you pee in the ocean?

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In order to gain tenure on this campus, if you're a journalist or restaurant owner, it's perish or publish.

Michael's point is well made, and the playing field is indeed uneven for industry professionals who profess themselves here but who must (occasionally) suffer the slings and arrows of those conflicted by pseudonymity's cosy duvet.

We've outed at least two imposters in our local forum who were denigrating their business competitors under the veil of supposed anonymity. It wasn't difficult to sniff them out, but it was annoying and had we made their dishonesty more public elsewhere, could have easily been costly for them. Unfortunately we had no forum host at the time to deal with the issue.

My point is that the discourse on this site was turned against those who use it honestly because of pseudonymity, not in spite of it.

As long as members understand that there are two classes of citizens here: those who are required to be transparent, and those who are not, the opportunity to co-exist continues, especially if hostile posters grinding an axe are properly and expediently dealt with.

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Hmm, I have used my real name in various fora for years.  The number of friends and contacts made this way have far outweighed the death threats, which are currently at acceptable levels.

:biggrin: Thank you for that, Michael. I've been stalked by a deranged chef. Fortunately he was only slightly better at it than he was at cooking.

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Mr. Ruhlman (my food-writing hero) and the many revered pros (Mr. Parsons, Ms. Wolfert, Ms. Chesterman, St. Anthony of Manhattan) amd others too numerous to mention have good reason to use their real names on this site: In the words of Bourdain: "Fame maintenance." And that's all good! I use my name here because 1) I am on staff and I must 2) I want some agent to see me and say: "My God! she's a cross between Colette and Erma Bombeck and she needs a huge advance!" (Hasn't happened.)

Those of us who have a good reason to post under our real names have a wonderful opportunity to advance our careers and our opinions here. That's as much of a privilege as the cloak of anonymity is for others. Because someone called MethMommy wants to call us out about a sticky subject because we say who we are, and we suspect her of being a stalker/professional enemy/Mom doesn't take away her privilege of anonymity. Let's talk about the advantages of using our professional names, and how this works for us on the internet. To dismiss it is coy.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I know it's meant in jest, guys, but I can assure you that most stalking incidents are not the least bit funny to their victims.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Mr. Shaw may have interpreted my posting as reflecting upon stalking victims. I assure him it is not so intended. In my day job, I defend healthcare malpractice cases. Rest assured that I have had quite legitimate death threats from angry patients or plaintiffs. This has provided me with a sense of perspective as to actual vs. perceived risk.

I fear, however, that my postings on a food forum are of little significance to anyone but myself, and certainly has not advanced my career. If I was a food professional, perhaps it would be different.

Regards,

Michael Lloyd

Mill Creek, Washington USA

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I know it's meant in jest, guys, but I can assure you that most stalking incidents are not the least bit funny to their victims.

I wouldn't disagree. In order that the police maximized the impact of their visit to the chef who had been stalking me (mainly by telephone, fax and email), they went into the perp's restaurant at 8 o'clock on a Friday evening and read him the riot act in front of his wife. Because he is Greek, they wanted to speak to the real decision maker in the family. :shock:

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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All I would ask is that if you do business, are a friend, work there or other associated with the place tell me. I don't need you name or identity. But let us know if you have an interest in the subject at hand.

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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Pseudonyms are a time-honored tradition in literature. Mark Twain isn't the guy's real name. Likewise, most actors, singers and the like use pseudonyms. The important thing is that there be one real person per pseudonym, as we require. That way, "Chocokitty" becomes an identity, a character. We don't care if Chocokitty is actually named John Smith, do we? If I told you Rocketman's real name, let's hypothetically call him Bill Magruder, what difference would it make? What difference would it make if he signed his posts that way? It would only matter if Bill Magruder was an identifiable culinary figure. In this case, he is not. Were he an identifiable culinary figure, we'd be leaning hard on him behind the scenes to disclose that.

Now, if it's Daniel Boulud using a pseudonym, we have a different sort of issue. But we accept that provided the pseudonym is not used disingenuously.

I thought about this. Mark Twain is known for his fiction but he wrote non-fiction as well to pay the bills at certain times in his life. There's a difference between literature and news media though.

I think privacy is important but if egullet is to be used as a credible source of news, journalism and criticism, relevant biases need to be declared.

I think that was the original point.

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Pseudonyms are not used exclusively in conventional literature. The Federalist papers were written under pseudonyms ("Publius," et al.), and we periodically see hybrid literary-political books like Primary Colors, by "Anonymous." Yes, there's certainly a difference between literature and news reporting. But probably 99% of what we do here is not news reporting. It's discussion of people's opinions about the best way to cook a duck or whether they like the food at Per Se.

The eGullet Society webspace is an umbrella source, covering many species of information: news, opinion, criticism, biography, literature and just about anything else the human mind can think of.

We try to maintain standards appropriate to the issues of who is posting and where. In each of our segments, for example, we have rules. If you publish something in the Daily Gullet, you have to do so under your real name and you have to submit to traditional editorial controls. If you submit a recipe to RecipeGullet, there's more flexibility. If you're part of our staff, you must always post under your real name. That includes our eG Specialists, who provide much of our news content.

This system doesn't plug every hole. On occasion, people make inappropriate use of their pseudonyms. We handle that not by public witch hunt, but quietly, behind the scenes -- remember, the management team knows who our members are, so it is not accurate to say they're anonymous. Members alert us all the time to situations of suspected disingenuousness and we look into them as best we can. Sometimes we find that the member under suspicion is totally legitimate; sometimes we uncover disingenuous conduct and we confront the member; sometimes we can't figure out what's going on -- such is the nature of the medium.

As you suggest, Rob, people's relevant biases and conflicts of interest are far more, well, relevant than people's names. Needless to say, this opens up another can of worms regarding what needs to be disclosed, when, how and how often. It's pretty clear that if you own a restaurant and you're posting about how much you love it you should disclose that. It's less clear how relevant it is that you met the owner at a party last week. And over time, what we've learned by moderating thousands of topics here is that, while people tend to obsess about issues of motivation and who knows whom, these issues are often red herrings -- distractions and, worse, substitutes for substantive arguments. So we don't permit witch hunts and lynchings and we don't allow topics to descend into irrelevant accusations. We try to strike a balance, and we are constantly refining that balance. We give a lot of serious thought to these matters, so, you know, when somebody says "you'll never be taken seriously unless you do X," or "the death of eGullet is imminent if you don't immediately adopt my personal opinion as policy," we have a little trouble taking that kind of statement seriously.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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These are serious things we are discussing and of course eGullet is not the only place on the internet that the right to privacy of the individual is being weighed and assessed against the considered greater good of society.

Cyberspace is the new Wild West. There is great opportunity, all sorts of freedoms that would be inconceivable other places, and all the potentials that come with that for good or for bad. But the Wild West of the internet *is* becoming a more populated and settled place now. Will the shape it takes resemble the more typical forms of media we have already in existence? There is so much that *is* so very different about this form of communication that I personally doubt it.

Last night I went to sleep worried about this. On a deeper level than just the level that worries about "professionalism". Though the concept of professionalism is never moot. Or it shouldn't be.

What initially struck me last night while reading this thread was the fear. . .the fear, yes - I did not want to say it for I try to ignore gender as much as I can unless it is in pleasant thoughts - that existed about being stalked, being hurt, the fear of the hunted. . .that many women posting had defined as being part and parcel of the innate possibilities here.

This is not to be taken lightly in any way. I wish it were not *mostly* we women that were subject to these ideas and realities, but as Steven mentioned, we are.

But part of what is going on here is that *we* all of us, are defining reality during this process. The reality of action and of thought.

Let me give you an example: In the field of Communications, it is now a proven theory that people who watch television in any amount above the miminal have a view of the world that is different than those who do not watch television.

The media is the message. Television displays images that have a high emotional content level that often are skewed towards the sorts of stories that will grab attention. Often these stories are about terrible things happening. Of course, even the news broadcasts are spun this way.

People who watch television have views of the world as a much more terrible place than people who do not. They mistrust everything on a much higher level, imposing this mistrust on even the innocuous that might not deserve it, in life.

We shape our world with our perceptions. The world *does* act and react in large and small ways to the ways in which we think and act within it.

It seems to me that we are building a world that nobody trusts.

I really don't like this idea.

.......................................................

Are there dangers *out there* in the world? Of course there are. I know them well and know them personally. I won't list my own personal experiences at length here but they are not on the more pleasant side of category. As a fourteen-year old runaway to New York City in the early 1970's there were many terrible things that happened. And then as a corporate manager at Goldman Sachs there were terrible things that happened too, all in a day's work.

It can happen anywhere, these bad things. To anyone. In any environment.

But here is the kicker: Let's remember that *most* bad things that happen to people, to women, happen with someone they know, someone close to them.

I refuse to be terrorized into being a nameless being by the a**holes out there.

To react and walk around as if feeling the need for protection, to me, is anethema.

It tastes bad.

And it shapes who we are and it shapes who they are.

Who is *really* holding the reins when we react and live our lives in fear?

........................................................................

There are bullies everywhere. If we create a society (either here in cyberspace or out in the world) where they do not have to even be *asked* to give a real name (in a form that the public can see along with the words they are writing of opinion), the playground is much more open for them to enter.

No, I don't think that knowing the name someone gives as real will lessen some very real problems. But it *is* a step towards definition of an environment where it is clear that truth is being asked for, and in a real way.

We need more truth, in real ways.

And we need to stop being pushed around by bullies who push our internal fear buttons.

Maggie asked earlier that we discuss the advantages to using professional names. This, is my answer. When we *become* professional, we summon the entitlement that comes along with it. We raise the spectre of responsibility and the definitions of authority. The playing field is equalled in some indefineable way when we act as professionals. There is a bar that must be met in terms of how one acts.

Nothing wrong with this, to my mind.

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
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Hmm...there are many issues here, and ones that relate to wider debates about identity in the world. You may not have noticed, but we are in the middle of a battle about who owns your identity and can say what you can and cannot do - and I don't just mean on eGullet, but in a wider sense. I have some professional interest in this area.

Who says who you are?

Is it the government, who issues your passport/identity card/drivers license and collects taxes?

Is it your bank or Visa or credit card company who say what you can buy or not?

Is it Microsoft, or your ISP who gate your access to cyberspace, and controls your email name?

The libertarian answer is that you have multiple identities, each certified by a different authority for different purposes. There was a famous talk by Stephen Kent about ten years ago entitled "let a thousand CA (certification authorities) bloom". Its one of the ways privacy and liberty is maintained in our society, and why such programs as the CIA's TIA (Total or Terrorism Information Awareness) program run by the Admiral John Poindexter that proposed to collect and collate complete information on US citizens, including phone logs, credit card transactions, drivers plate recognition, library book acesses etc ran into Congressional trouble.

Incidentally, for the paranoid, versions of this program are still funded under different names, such as NIMD: Novel Intelligence from Massive Data and Matrix: Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange and by IC-ARDA the Intelligence Community Advanced Research and Development Activity.

Why is this bad? Do you want, for example, to be denied access to healthcare because you have unpaid parking tickets, or have surfed to a porn site, or your name is confused with some felon? Extreme perhaps, but possible if government information is centralised.

Your bank, for example has no business to certify who you are and your age for the purpose of, say, buying wine, just as your wine merchant should not authenticate access to your bank account - don't laugh, this is not that extreme as setting up a new bank account under the money laundering laws now requires production of a utility company bill to authenticate place of residence.

This is a long way to say that iconic and multiple names are useful. It also reflects real life. I had an elderly aunt who called me "Jackie" and has a quite different impression of me to others. Woe betide anyone else who calls me that.

Online I have multiple personalities - professional, family, foodie etc.

I originally used "jackal10" here since I wanted to be cautious and avoid the dreaded spam (jackal is from my initials Jack A L..., and the 10 is for uniqueness), and because it does not relate to my professional identity. I've stayed with it so my posts are traceable. Feel free to call me Jack (but not Jackie). I'd be happy to change to a more real name if continuity can be maintained.

To quote Lewis Carroll from "Hunting of the Snark"

He would answer to "Hi!" or to any loud cry,

Such as "Fry me!" or "Fritter my wig!"

To "What-you-may-call-um!" or "What-was-his-name!"

But especially "Thing-um-a-jig!"

While, for those who preferred a more forcible word,

He had different names from these:

His intimate friends called him "Candle-ends",

And his enemies "Toasted-cheese"

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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Yeah, bad stuff happens all the time, all over the place. Whatever. But I'd rather err on the side of caution.

Not posting under my real name does not make me a coward, or a fraidy-cat. It makes me someone who has had a very ugly situation, via an online auction site, with a purchaser who decided that my friendly communication and distinctive name meant we had something special. He did a search via internet, called my house at all hours, Googled me and learned the names of my children, and on and on. It was unpleasant, and frightening.

When people communicate with me via PM, I reply with my real name, at least the first name. But here, I'll remain Fabby. Until I become a public figure, of course. :wink:

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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We give a lot of serious thought to these matters, so, you know, when somebody says "you'll never be taken seriously unless you do X," or "the death of eGullet is imminent if you don't immediately adopt my personal opinion as policy," we have a little trouble taking that kind of statement seriously.

I read my last post a few times and read this one a couple times as well. I assume you're using this extreme example to make a point. Otherwise, the tone of my statement was more black and white than I intended.

I have no issue with the use of a pseudonym at all in any kind of writing. The problem occurs when someone with a conflict of interest posts and doesn’t declare this conflict. This is problem in all kinds of writing. Major newspapers and magazines are fairly careful to try to make relevant declarations. The byline itself doesn’t matter as much. In scientific and medical writing (something which I have much more experience in), declaring conflicts is also strongly encouraged but it’s not always mandatory and doesn’t always happen.

This is a good discussion to have but, other than encouraging people to do the ethical thing and declare biases, I don't think there's much more that can be done.

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Michael, I am sorry to hear that your post was deleted without contact. As a forum host I always send a PM when deleting posts or trimming a thread, but the wine forum is relatively mild-mannered and I seldom have to deal with multiple deletions. Please be patient with our staff when the busier forum hosts (Cooking, GFT, FM&N, to name a few) are hit with maintenance-intensive topics. It takes time and many steps to trim a thread, and if a customer walks in, the phone rings, or the kids start pleading for food . . .

As Jonathan pointed out earlier, please contact another staff member if you don't receive a PM within a few hours, and someone will look into it for you and thank you for your patience and understanding.

On the topic of anonymity, I can't help but notice that at least two posters currently supporting the issue of using real names have only recently added their signature lines, and one of those posters is merrily posting on another food board without a real name signature.

I suggest we all keep one-pound bags of salt handy. :wink:

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Mary Baker

Solid Communications

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I read my last post a few times and read this one a couple times as well.  I assume you're using this extreme example to make a point.  Otherwise, the tone of my statement was more black and white than I intended.

Forgive me, although I was replying to your post in general, I was not specifically talking about you in those examples -- I was referring to the lecturing tone we often hear in discussions like this one, often from people who haven't taken the time to read our policies, give much thought to the issue or gather basic facts and information before telling us what we absolutely must do in order to survive or be taken seriously.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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If I told you Rocketman's real name, let's hypothetically call him Bill Magruder, what difference would it make? What difference would it make if he signed his posts that way?

no, but i can think of a couple of other names that might make a very big difference in this specific case. maybe that's not what happened here at all. maybe this rocketman is nothing but a troll--they've certainly turned up on other online fora i've been on. but we have no way of knowing that. and sorry fat guy, but the fact that YOU know who it is does not provide the kind of transparency that would reassure me.

again, maybe the real answer isn't the forbidding of anonymity, but the moderators taking a more active role against anonymous slagging. if you prefer to post anonymously for any of the reasons that have been discussed, then that is your choice. but i would think that good manners would dictate that you would then temper some of your comments.

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and sorry fat guy, but the fact that YOU know who it is does not provide the kind of transparency that would reassure me.

Our mission is not to reassure Russ Parsons! It's to provide services to thousands of members in a manner that works. And while you may feel we haven't taken a strong enough stance on moderation, we have countless members who think we over-moderate. You want to know more about our members, our members don't necessarily want you to have that information. What we have to do every day, and what we've tried to do for several years, is strike a balance, and we constantly refine that balance. We think we do an okay job, better than most do or would, but of course we always try to improve. Sorry if it all isn't up to your standard, Russ, but if you'd like access to personal data about our members you're just going to have to apply for a staff position (I can personally assure you that I'll expedite your application and argue for your inclusion), sign our confidentiality agreement, go through training and work your way up to management or a spot on our membership team. Then you can look at our members' names and addresses to your heart's content, though I'm sorry to say that you'll be disappointed to learn that there's no conspiracy here.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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On the topic of anonymity, I can't help but notice that at least two posters currently supporting the issue of using real names have only recently added their signature lines, and one of those posters is merrily posting on another food board without a real name signature. 

I suggest we all keep one-pound bags of salt handy.   :wink:

That might be me that you are speaking of.

I added my own sig line and real name to eGullet several months ago after considering the situation with "screen-names" when the thread discussing screen names was closed and the comment made by management that screen names were *not* really encouraged, or not encouraged as the only name provided.

Previous to that, I had thought that screen names/nicknames *were* something encouraged - it seemed so to me because there were so many on-site, including forum hosts and at the time I joined it must not have been standard policy for forum hosts to provide their names as sig lines.

As to the other food board, I have put my real name on there originally but removed it after getting a better sense of the place. It did *not* seem a happy place to be.

I would hope that any place that *was* intent on making its users feel comfortable (as I believe eGullet does for the most part) would not incur this sense of unsurety as to motives of board management and operations. I removed my name from the other site *because* of these reasons. I post rarely there.

eGullet seems to be demanding a higher level of professionalism in the ways in which it expects its users to interact. Therefore they *will* get my real name.

Edited to add: Yesterday for a while there was no sig line for me. (If we need analyze each other's behavior and point fingers as to who is "merrily posting" (?) and other personal notes that must have taken some good detective work and a willingness to gossip about it, also, perhaps - for the intent of adding to the important information on this subject.) The reason being that I had asked to have my screen name changed to my real name and expected it to occur. It did not, due to record-keeping needs. Que sera.

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
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again, maybe the real answer isn't the forbidding of anonymity, but the moderators taking a more active role against anonymous slagging. if you prefer to post anonymously for any of the reasons that have been discussed, then that is your choice. but i would think that good manners would dictate that you would then temper some of your comments.

This is a tough issue. I am active on many message boards on a number of different topics. I see the 'slagging' issue everywhere. For some reason the internet, and the anonymity it provides, seems to make people more aggressive. People seem to have no problem making accusations without foundation. I notice they also make personal attacks more frequently than I encounter in face-to-face interactions. I find the egullet forums, especially in food media & news, a sometimes very hostile place. Why is that? Is anonymity and physical separation feeding it? It's more than passion for the topic.

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again, maybe the real answer isn't the forbidding of anonymity, but the moderators taking a more active role against anonymous slagging. if you prefer to post anonymously for any of the reasons that have been discussed, then that is your choice. but i would think that good manners would dictate that you would then temper some of your comments.

This is a tough issue. I am active on many message boards on a number of different topics. I see the 'slagging' issue everywhere. For some reason the internet, and the anonymity it provides, seems to make people more aggressive. People seem to have no problem making accusations without foundation. I notice they also make personal attacks more frequently than I encounter in face-to-face interactions. I find the egullet forums, especially in food media & news, a sometimes very hostile place. Why is that? Is anonymity and physical separation feeding it? It's more than passion for the topic.

I agree with both of these summary viewpoints, or, as in the order above, effect and cause.

I've have found it ridiculous in the past that a new, anonymous and clearly single-issue member can slag the daylights out of others who have declared themselves and who might have beneficially contributed to the discussion for years. That's a case of obvious conflict turning into obsessive vendetta, which, in some cases, has been ineffectively moderated.

And indeed, Robb, anonymity can foment hostility. The riots in suburban Paris, after all, are not taking place in the cold light of day.

Lastly, I'd be curious to know if the post-November 2004 membership registration system is a.) reasonably foolproof and b.) checked before enrollment is completed? In other words, do moderators have reasonable surety, as indicated above, that they could track down conflicted, irresponsible or even dangerous flamers if it were required?

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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I don't think that wanting privacy in a forum that can be read by anyone in the world is unreasonable. Stalking and harassment are rare but real possibilities. My full name, due to the combination of an uncommon first name, an uncommon last name, and a cross-cultural marriage, is very rare if not unique. I don't want just anyone to be able to do a Google search based on something I post here and pinpoint my home address and phone number. If people choose to give less credibility to something I write here because they don't know my real name, so be it. I'm not a public figure. My real name wouldn't mean anything to anyone here, so using it would be giving away something important to me, without any discernable gain in return.

After I posted on this thread yesterday, I did an auto-Google just to see if anything came up. My married name got zero hits. My maiden name got a few, all in another country. I like it that way. I don't want an online paper trail available for anybody who cares to see it. I don't want some future employer, passing acquaintance, or nostalgic ex-boyfriend to search for my name and find all my postings on eG or other forums in which I participate. That could be perceived as "not being willing to be held accountable for my words." I see it more as a choice to keep separate spheres of my life, well... separate.

"There is nothing like a good tomato sandwich now and then."

-Harriet M. Welsch

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I don't think that wanting privacy in a forum that can be read by anyone in the world is unreasonable.  Stalking and harassment are rare but real possibilities.  My full name, due to the combination of an uncommon first name, an uncommon last name, and a cross-cultural marriage, is very rare if not unique.  I don't want just anyone to be able to do a Google search based on something I post here and pinpoint my home address and phone number.  If people choose to give less credibility to something I write here because they don't know my real name, so be it.  I'm not a public figure.  My real name wouldn't mean anything to anyone here, so using it would be giving away something important to me, without any discernable gain in return.

Exactly how I feel.

I also suspect that a large percentage of the shills, trolls and people with special axes to grind are a) very obvious and b) able and willing to circumvent any regulations about identification and screen names. In fact, they'd take glee in doing it. When these people pop up on this board, I've seen members respond with something like, "People can judge your statements by your posting history." Isn't that pretty effective?

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Lastly, I'd be curious to know if the post-2004 membership registration system is a.) reasonably foolproof and b.) checked before enrollment is completed? In other words, do moderators have reasonable surety, as indicated above, that they could track down conflicted, irresponsible or even dangerous flamers if it were required?

As best I understand it, it's reasonably foolproof, though of course any system can be fooled by a sufficiently determined villain. We have had people try to give false telephone numbers, for example, and have their membership applications returned to them as a result. The membership team works very hard.

Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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