Copyleftist Cory Doctorow on Pseudonyms

Pseudonymity makes it possible for the most marginalized people in our community to communicate with us; it also allows people who are notorious or famous to join the discussion without dragging in all the baggage of whatever it is they’re known for, making for debates that focus on substance, not celebrity.

Cory Doctorow. Source:
(emphasis mine)

Most Marginalized, as in Social Rejects?

If my assumption is correct, then Cory Doctorow is labeling pseudonym users as ‘retards’ and asking the public to take pity on them.

The 2nd part makes more sense, in which famed people can contribute meaningfully on discussion boards etc via a pseudonym, without prejudice.

Update:'s short comment


Google+ and Pseudonyms

Initial Observations

The recent outbreak of Google+ Social Networking policy dissents are staggering. The dissents are all trying to persuade Google to officially allow pseudonyms to use the service. Execs and G+ leads continue to ignore calls by the community to allow the ‘nyms’ to officially stay.

Google continues to suspend some pseudonymous G+ users, and people with weird-sounding, 100% legal names. Select security experts critique Google for their unsafe names policy.


Botgirl Questi, Prokofy Neva, Tateru Nino, Wizard Gynoid and Gwyneth Llewelyn are some of the people who fully support the use of pseudonyms on the Internet. All five of them are established pseudonyms with several years’ worth of history.

Of the five individuals I mentioned, Botgirl Questi seems to be most vocal “comical”. Mock interviews with a fantasized Google employee and comic-style cartoons/posters used to emphasize the issue.


Google+ community manager Natalie Villalobos writes:

You do not need to use your last name or even your “real name” but a name that you are commonly known by. You can put “Natalie V” with no symbol, as we no longer support symbols in the names fields.

(Link to Source - scroll down to read the comment)

However, Google’s official policy seems to contradict Ms. Villalobos’s statement, albeit a little hazy on what constitutes a ‘real name’.


On the other end of the scale, Forbes magazine contributor Benoit Raphael is in full support of Google’s names policy. He argues that the new Internet requires the use of your Real Life identity to function properly.

[New Internet? What’s that? Is it even here yet?]

[Benoit Raphael also seems a little perplexed at people using “avatars” on Today’s Internet].

The Forbes Contributor/Blogger asks:

now that Facebook, Twitter and Google+ have become public spaces where people can meet to share or to protest, is there a danger in housing theses public places in the exclusive hands of private companies? If “Internet” is a new country, then who will protect freedom in its public places ?

[On-line Privacy issues are not discussed, oddly. Privacy is utmost important to those in favour of Pseudonyms]


[Follow-up post(s) coming soon]


Privacy is Sacred…

I like the idea of accountability, but on the other hand, I obviously despise the notion of a complete and absolute lack of privacy, as it becomes easier and easier to track people down on the net and figure out their past and present, often without allowing people to have any saying about what gets posted and what doesn’t.

At this stage, when someone comments: “oh, but if you’re honest and truthful, you have nothing to fear” I’ll just gently remind them that this is the first step towards dictatorship, and tell them to grab a copy of George Orwell’s “1984”. It’s really so, so easy to find very good and persuasive argumentation about how “honest people” have nothing to fear about having their whole private lives being exposed publicly. It’s a very powerful, compelling, and persuasive argument.

It happens just to lead to a one-side track road straight into the oblivion of dictatorship. But it’s the first step that is the hardest to take, and we’re so close to taking it…

— Gwyneth Llewelyn, commenting on “Your Born Identity


Google Analytics “opt-out” browser add-on

Looks like Google’s new analytics opt-out browser add-on leaks information back to Google Headquarters, rather than just blocking the script from executing altogether.

Other solutions, such as Firefox + NoScript add-on, blocks the analytics script without phoning home.