Abel's Excellent Pseudonymity Inquiry

Oct 16 2008 Published by under Blogging

Abel Pharmboy of Terra Sigillata and PalMD of denialism blog are planning a session of the ScienceOnline'09 conference which will focus on

the needs and justification for anonymity or pseudonymity in blogging.

Abel is requesting some reader input on this topic prior to his meeting.

I'm closing in on three years of blogging as Abel Pharmboy and, as I've said before, I am often referred to in meatspace as "Abel" regardless of whether people know my real name. What would Abel Pharmboy lose or gain if he wrote under his real name? Would he be any different? Do Abel's voice and my real voice differ in tone or authority?

Please go over to the comments and answer the following query:

Do you trust me and the content I provide here under my pseudonym?
Why or why not?

23 responses so far

  • Thanks for throwing us a bone over at Terra Sig World Headquarters. What I'm finding interesting is that several commenters are suggesting that revealing my identity is largely unnecessary to assuring the veracity of my content.
    btw, Brother PalMD has his own post up that I hope he pursues more deeply; MD bloggers have an additional layer of need for trust among readers. In the alternative or integrative medicine realm, I see far too many MDs using their titles to promote questionable remedies and non-science-based modalities. Even the title of a "real" MD can be misused.
    I really wish y'all could come to this pseudonymity session - the DM-directed commenters are really adding some nice content and considerations to our session.

  • Fuck this bullshit. No one knows who anyone is anyway. This pseudonymity handwringing is just cover for weak-egoed douchemonkeys to moan and groan because their credentials get them nowhere. Fuck 'em.

  • Ewan says:

    Trust? No. The relationship is not strong, personal, or nuanced enough for that.
    Pay attention and give weight to? Yes: the history of info and approach is good.
    Would lack of anonymity increase the likelihood of approaching trust? Yes: if nothing else, it raises the stakes.
    I think that the evidence also suggests that known-ID bloggers tend toward more objective content, more reasoned opinion, less bloviating; I see that as a good thing.

  • kiwi says:

    Trust- strange word. Yes, definitely pay attention to and give weight to.
    Trust, probably, because what you say is logical and thoughtful and makes sense to me. And because I suspect CPP would call you a motherfucker if you started inventing wildly.

  • S. Rivlin says:

    I wonder why CPP is so much against revealing a blogger's identity? Is knowing one's true identity could limit one in voicing one's opinions?

  • yogi-one says:

    I think it's OK in the blogosphere. In "real' life, like when giving a speech or presentation, you probably want to give your real name and credentials, and then if you have a blogger name that many people know, say AKA $blogname.
    It's true that its easier to post hater comments anonymously, and this has to do with cred. If people know you as a thoughtful commenter or blogger, my guess is you'd think about your reputation before dumping profanity and personal attacks on your own or someone else's blog (although granted, not everyone is interested in being seen as level-headed).
    For example, why should I read someone's paper on ethics in science, when I know they are roaming the blogosphere posting "f**k U, u dumb sh*t!" all over the place? What are they going to say at a real presentation - "Hi I'm John Scientist, PhD, Science Ethics expert and well-known Hater." If such a person does spill bile in the blogosphere, he's much more likely to be careful to cover his tracks by posting pseudo.
    Other than that, cred comes from having the facts you present be checkable by others, organized coherently to support your arguments, etc, like any other good content.

  • S. Rivlin says:

    yogi-one,
    Right on!!!

  • There is absolutely no essential relationship between "profanity" and "personal attacks". It is ignorant and sloppy to make the assumption that there is. The most extreme "profanity" can be used in a context completely devoid of any "personal attack", and the most scurrilious "personal attacks" can be launched with the use of any "profanity" at all.
    Some blithering neurotic fuckwits have trouble wrapping their feeble minds around this simple truth.

  • S. Rivlin says:

    PP,
    With the risk that my response will be deleted by you, I don't think you allow yourself to use profanity in classrooms, seminars, scientific conferences, etc. One of the reasons you post or comment on every blog with the load of profanity that is now your hallmark is your pseudonimity. I am sure that profane language would not be part of your blogging once your mask is off.

  • I don't think you allow yourself to use profanity in classrooms, seminars, scientific conferences, etc.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Sol, for some reason, even though you are an oblivious obsessive off-topic fuckwit, I just can't bring myself to truly ban your sorry ass.

  • Stephanie Z says:

    And there is the single biggest problem with pseudonymity: not having any idea which journals to look in to find CPP present his findings in his patented fuck-speak. Who wouldn't pay for that?

  • S. Rivlin says:

    PP,
    How's it off topic when one explores the reasons for gutter-mouth-scientist's choice to stay annonymous?

  • I'm always fascinated by how many people latch on to what Stephanie calls "his patented fuckspeak."
    Blogging pseud is about having a chance to create a separate identity from your Real Life identity. CPP chooses for this identity to be rather id-like in expression, with elements of argumentation, aggressiveness, Republican-hating, feminism, brashness, and confidence.
    Isis, to pick another name at random, chooses lots of third-person self-reference, tongue-in-cheek hotness discussion, fierce confidence, and a mild to moderate shoe obsession as elements of her online persona.
    Some people accuse CPP of blogging pseud so he can cuss up a storm. But no one goes around accusing Isis that she only blogs pseud so that she can post shoe porn and naughty Dorothy of Oz pics.
    For whatever reason, shoe-haters have no trouble deciding not to read Isis, but profanity-haters are drawn like angry moths to CPP's incandescent profanity. Why?
    I'm not sure why anyone considers pseud blogging to be a giant moral dilemma. You don't like it, don't read it. But be consistent. If you dislike one blogger for be pseudonymous, then take the rest of us off your blogroll too. Don't pretend that you hate anonymity, when in reality you think your ears are just too pure for CPP's shittalk.

  • mild to moderate shoe obsession

    Dr. Isis's shoe obsession is motherfucking florid!

  • MissPrism says:

    "Party members were supposed not to swear, and Winston himself very seldom did swear, aloud, at any rate. Julia, however, seemed unable to mention the Party, and especially the Inner Party, without using the kind of words that you saw chalked up in dripping alley-ways. He did not dislike it. It was merely one symptom of her revolt against the Party and all its ways, and somehow it seemed natural and healthy, like the sneeze of a horse that smells bad hay."

  • DJMH, I respond to this comment here.

  • "Florid"?
    I seem to remember a certain shoe obsession of your own, Comrade--OR SHALL I SAY, "PRADA PROF"???
    Miss Prism, please to share that fabulous quotation source. I will now forever envision PhysioProf as a sneezing equine. Whether that's better or worse than my previous mental image, I leave you to guess.

  • DJMH, this is the first I have seen of our dear PP's admission to a love of Prada. I seriously never would have guessed PP had a penchant for Prada after his former talk of rugby shirts and flip flops. Seems to me like someone on this here blog is the pot calling the kettle black.

  • MissPrism says:

    It's from Nineteen Eighty-Four.

  • This may be shocking to Dr. Isis, but Comrade PhysioProf knows how to turn himself out in some motherfucking Prada when necessary.

  • PhysioProf, I never would have guessed. I've learned something today, indeed,

  • A sneezing horse outfitted in Prada, then. This is getting harder and harder to sustain. Isis--always glad to help.

  • juniorprof says:

    PhysioProf knows how to turn himself out in some motherfucking Prada when necessary
    Go for Etro, you'll be happy you did!

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