Helpful? 0

Screen Names VS Real Names?

I wonder why folks fear to use their real names?
Did you learn this at another forum?

Interested Onlooker (for instance)
I have read many,many good comments by you and others.
Why do you fear to use your name?

What is the WORST that could happen?

I have never heard of anything "bad" happening to anyone for posting their name.
I don't get it.

Are you afraid that Robert or Steve plan to "poke you in the eye"?
(smiley face)

Or Perhaps you will explode?

I think there is something unfriendly about not sharing your name.

Is anyone sorry for using(or not using) their real name?

just curious

Asked by John Brooks
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 12:49

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58 Answers

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1.
Helpful? 1

John,
Be gentle.

Here's an example: imagine you are an architect. You graduated near the top of your class in architecture school, and you have a thriving architectural practice. You visit GBA, and you realize, "Hmm -- there's a lot I don't know about building science." And you want to post a question about vapor diffusion, but you're shy, because you don't want your clients to know that you're ignorant.

So, you post a question and sign your question with a pseudonym -- maybe "Willing To Learn."

I say, let Willing to Learn use a pseudonym. It's good that people want to ask questions. Let's all be kind.

Answered by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 13:00

2.
Helpful? 0

Before I began reading this website a few months ago, I participated in a handful of other online forums and nearly everyone used screen names. I guess most folks assume there's a good reason to make up a name, maybe just to show some creativity. To some extent it may promote open expression, but it's also true that anonymous posters make irresponsible comments from behind their cloak.

As luck would have it, my parents gave me a pseudonym by naming me Thomas Jefferson Elder. Thomas Jefferson seemed like a good screen name, but I've considered changing that after all the comments here in the Q&A about using actual (identifiable) names.

Answered by TJ Elder
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 13:10

3.
Helpful? 0

Martin,
I am trying to encourage more questions and more kinship...
but I see your point
I used to preface my questions with "please forgive me because I am an Architect"
JB

Answered by John Brooks
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 13:13

4.
Helpful? 0

Thank you
Thomas Elder,
don't you feel better?

Here is an example where (almost)everyone uses their real names
It is encouraged and it is working
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001577623090

Answered by John Brooks
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 13:23

5.
Helpful? 2

Awesome question, John, and good reply Martin.

I don't use my real name because after engaging in vigorous debate on controversial issues, I want to log off and leave the war. It would be a little creepy if I started showing up outside your house watching you come and go, wouldn't it? What if I started looking up everything single I could find out about you, so I could repost it here with my own disparaging spin? Or how about if I suddenly started calling you on the phone even though you never gave me your number? Or emailing you in your private email, that you never gave me? Wouldn't that be creepy?

Those fears may seem laughable, but it happens.

Steve El

Answered by Steve El
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 13:24

6.
Helpful? 1

If it's really possible to graduate near the top of your class in Architecture and be ignorant about building science, that's a terrible indictment of architectural education. But it's also true that architects are not required to know anything about actual hands-on construction and whether their designs are buildable.

But that's another topic.

While most avid users of the internet tout it's benefits to global culture, few are able to see or willing to acknowledge the equally pernicious liabilities of a virtual world of instant communication.

Not only has the WWW allowed a degree of anonymity that was previously unavailable to most, but in that virtual, anonymous world people feel free to say things they would not dare to say in person, and even to take on entirely different personas, and typically become meaner rather than nicer. The anonymity unleashes the repressed within people and gives license to behave in socially destructive ways, including the epidemic of online sexual predation.

Additionally, the extreme speed of communication has typically reduced our written language skills to soundbytes, text messages and tweets, replete with an acronym jargon that dumbs down our thought processes and our expressive ability.

But, perhaps the most pernicious aspect of the explosion of data that has become universally available is that we are overwhelmed with information and deprived of real knowledge, let along wisdom. And, of course, Big Brother is able to track and record everything we say and do online.

Anonymity is only one of the many counter-evolutionary elements of our Brave New World.

Answered by Riversong
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 13:29

7.
Helpful? 1

In regard to Steve El's (I knew that was not his real name, but he refused to even acknowledge that until now) concern about others discovering aspects of his life he doesn't want shared...

If we each lived our lives in ways that we would not be embarrassed about if others knew, then what a better world this would be. Isn't that the definition of integrity?

We have a right (perhaps) to privacy, and there are laws to protect against stalking and harassment, but engaging in "vigorous debate" easily escalates into what Steve describes as "war" when we are not accountable for our words.

He (and assuredly others here) is not aware that, once you post a question, your email address is available to Google and linked to the title of our question. After he turned my A Green Forum thread into a "war", I emailed him to try to seek peace, and his response was to block my address, unwilling to take responsibility in "real life" for what he does in virtual reality.

This is the danger of anonymity. Martin may be right that it allows shy people to ask questions, but - as with most aspects of this cyber world - the dangers typically outweigh the purported advantages.

Answered by Riversong
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 13:40

8.
Helpful? 0

Steve,
Many times when I google a phrase from a question that has been asked here at GBA
the result comes back complete with the Email Address of the poster.
It is a "glitch"
I was trying to look up a question once and was shocked to see my email address!
but I don't care if you want my email address and my phone number
There is a thing called a phone Book
Or online people finders

Answered by John Brooks
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 13:45

9.
Helpful? 0

Robert, IF it's possible? Have you not been following the websites that are about Architecture rather than building science, e.g. ArchDaily? Building science is not a priority. Sorry for that tangent.

Answered by TJ Elder
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 13:45

10.
Helpful? 0

If it's really possible to graduate near the top of your class in Architecture and be ignorant about building science, that's a terrible indictment of architectural education. But it's also true that architects are not required to know anything about actual hands-on construction and whether their designs are buildable.

Robert, it is not only possible it is true
and my Daughter Is finishing Grad School This Spring
AND IT IS STILL TRUE

Answered by John Brooks
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 13:50

11.
Helpful? 0

@ John Brooks,

I'm active on a variety of forums and websites and blogs -- for self-promotion of my writing and issues realated to it; this is the only one focusing on building -- and this is the only forum I inhabit in which most use their "real" names. Actually, coming here is a breath of fresh air.

On most other forums the anonymity of the web, which Robert deplores, doesn't eliminate integrity but it does encourage sniping. There is considerable trolling in which people will adopt a second screen name which allows them to pick fights with other screen names they've decided not to like.

I've only noticed two possible instances of that in this group ... and if someone wants to hide, alternate emails are also possible. For example, in actuality I'm a 27 y o lingerie model from Greece. Yes, perhaps that does explain my questions, lol.

Joe W.

Answered by 5C8rvfuWev
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 13:59

12.
Helpful? 0

I don't mean to hijack the thread, but tangentially speaking...

Architecture is not alone in narrowing a field of knowledge into highly isolated specializations. This is one of the problems with contemporary society and, ironically, specialists are more highly valued, respected and get paid more than generalists.

The school where I've been teaching, Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Vermont, was founded 30 years ago to ostensibly redress the lack of building knowledge and experience among architects and the dearth of design knowledge and skill among builders.

Unfortunately, it was created and run by architects and the ratio of emphasis has been perhaps 75% design and 25% build (I've been suggesting they change their name to reflect this imbalance - perhaps Yestermorrow DESIGN/build School). They've been including many more hands-on and shop classes in the last five years, but their "flagship" two-week Design/Build course is still late nights at the drafting table and a few hours of time per week on often unrelated projects banging nails with little focus on skill and craft.

Craft and skill, as well as a generalist understanding of shelter design and fabrication, are what's missing from today's home-building world, including the "green" building movement.

But sign me Anonymous because I would not want my Yestermorrow colleagues to associate these comments with me. ;-)

Answered by Riversong
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 14:06

13.
Helpful? -1

Robert,
I may lose my golden ticket to Summer Camp for this.....

I think you have a better Perspective on Building Science than Joe Lstiburek
And I think the difference is your "hands-on" experience

Answered by John Brooks
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 14:20

14.
Helpful? 0

Another problem forum sites have is a forum bully. One has to cull a site for what is useful to them, at least that is what I do.
Joe Blanik

Answered by Joe Blanik
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 14:40

15.
Helpful? 1

I may lose my golden ticket to Summer Camp for this.....

Good thing you're using a pseudonym ;-)

I don't think I've ever met Dr. Joe, but he promised me a beer if we ever do.

Answered by Riversong
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 14:58

16.
Helpful? 1

I'd just like to add that despite my strong disagreement with Robert about process and philosophy, from the bit I've seen since starting to read these pages, I agree with John that Robert's approach to building often makes more sense than some of what I see at Building Science Corp.

Answered by Steve El
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 15:59

17.
Helpful? 0

my strong disagreement with Robert about process and philosophy...

Steve, that disagreement must also be about the importance of standing by one's words.

It's telling that a few generations ago, in simpler times, a man's character was measured by whether he was "a man of his word", whether he (or she) was willing to stand by their public or private statements. Even people who disagreed on substance could respect one another if they were true to what they believed and espoused.

This quality, along with craft and altruism, are woefully missing in our current culture.

Answered by Riversong
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 16:54

18.
Helpful? 1

I am standing by my words that satyagraha aka Gandhian nonviolence requires, at its core, the ever present admission that you might be dead wrong, and that discussions about green building techniques do more to advance ecological wisdom when delivered with that spirit at the forefront. If that spirit is not at the forefront then it has nothing to do with satyagraha.

Of course, I'm not the guy who tried to claim that righteous highground in these talks, so one of the above posts is striking in its irony.

And what about that part about denouncing ad hominem attacks?

Steve El

Answered by Steve El
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 18:24

19.
Answered by John Brooks
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 18:55

20.
Helpful? 0

"The Edge" I wonder if that's his real name?
he sure can play the guitar ... so simple .. yet sooo good

Answered by John Brooks
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 18:58

21.
Helpful? 0

Leonard Cohen .... nice lyrics..eh?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHHxsxVQ4gA

Answered by John Brooks
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 19:15

22.
Helpful? -1

Is LEED a screen name or a real name? I see it popping up everywhere but it's never spelled out. Seems to me like a corporate designed regulating force thats hiding behind 4 capital letters. I've been reading about it, trying to understand the intent but I find it a little confusing. Is this government regulation disguised as a corporate umbrella? Lost again,
Roy Harmon

Answered by ROY HARMON
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 19:27

23.
Helpful? 0

Steve,

You're in the wrong thread. I've posted my response to your fallacies in the Green Discussion Forum thread http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/community/forum/green-building-techn...

Answered by Riversong
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 19:44

24.
Helpful? 0

Roy,

I think LEED stands for Little Efficiency for Excessive Dollars.

Answered by Riversong
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 19:45

25.
Helpful? 2

John,

Are you hijacking your own thread?

Answered by Riversong
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 19:48

26.
Helpful? 0

And just how do we know that Robert Riversong, John Klingel, or Joe Lstiburek are even real? (One of those guys is, but I don't know which one.) I think it is pointless to worry about names, but instead focus on content of contributions. It is not hard to separate the wheat, though I know "someone" is "allergic to the chaff". I hear that, but we'll never really know who is real and who is not, unless we meet said person and ask for driver's license, copy of birth certificate, etc. Even then, he/she could be CIA. Too, some folks feel more comfy using a pseudo for many reasons; the point about "not knowing everything in your field" is a good point. Some folks think they are expected to know everything, and maybe by some they are. So, listen to the words, don't read the names. That is the two cents from up North. Have a good one. Larry.

Answered by John Klingel
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 20:12

27.
Helpful? 0

and how do we know you are really from up north?
hmmm
or that Steve has a wife
I think that Steve is really "Leroy who prefers the Outdoors"

Answered by John Brooks
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 20:22

28.
Helpful? 0

Steve,
maybe I'm a simple guy .. but I liked your chart

Answered by John Brooks
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 20:27

29.
Helpful? 1

I know that John Klingel is from up north, because he sent me some home-canned Alaska salmon - and boy, was that good!

But I don't know if I'm really who I think I am, because I don't have a driver's license or passport or social security number - so I guess I don't exist.

Perhaps it's because I am of the tribe of Levi, the priests of Israel:

Numbers, chapter one:

The LORD spoke to Moses in the Tent of Meeting in the Desert of Sinai on the first day of the second month of the second year after the Israelites came out of Egypt. He said: “Take a census of the whole Israelite community by their clans and families, listing every man by name, one by one...

The families of the tribe of Levi, however, were not counted along with the others. The LORD had said to Moses: “You must not count the tribe of Levi or include them in the census of the other Israelites. Instead, appoint the Levites to be in charge of the tabernacle of the Testimony..."

Answered by Riversong
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 20:41

30.
Helpful? 0

Now Robert, I really like the way your thinking here! The right to travel freely~ refreshing. Everyone should avoid voluntary issued numbers like the plague.

Answered by ROY HARMON
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 21:44

31.
Helpful? 0

O, and thanks for taking the LEED question.

Answered by ROY HARMON
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 21:46

32.
Helpful? 2

Ya'll can be funny, in a good way!

John, thanks for explaining the email glitch.

Working on ductwork I was thinking more about this thread. Another reason I prefer a pseudonym is to deal with a form of disputation that I at least consider to be cyberbullying. It happened to me a few times back in the usenet days and I used my real name. This is when someone looks up whatever they can find out about you, for purpose of using it in argument, even if it is not relevant. On occasion such folk dig up and accurately report human failings or embarrassments at their opponent's expense. At other times, they dig up something that can be spun and distorted but still righteously but misleadingly reported, all to malign their opponent. These sorts of character assassinations then go into the digital data store and follow a person about, whether they are true or not, and you might not even know that people are checking you out and forming opinions based on that stuff. "Steve El, have you stopped beating your wife?" I don't want some future client checking me out on Google and seeing that sort of character assault. I could lose the business and never even know or have a chance to correct the distortions.... and even if the entire thing were true and accurately reported by the cyberbully, it might have been 30 years in the past. That's another reason some people use pseudonyms. Robert dug up my private email address, and emailed me with the subject line "Who are you really??" He could have and still could make a peace overture right here, if that is what he truly intended to do. He doesn't need my real name to make peace with Steve El.

Anyway, people that engage in vigorous debate on controversial subjects often use pseudonyms for these reasons also.

Steve El
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
No man can claim that he is absolutely in the right or that particular thing is wrong because he thinks so. The claim to infallibility would thus always be a most dangerous claim to make. (M.K. Gandhi)

Answered by Steve El
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 22:22

33.
Helpful? 1

A mature person does not hide from the consequences of their actions or their history.

Answered by Riversong
Posted Sat, 11/20/2010 - 23:12

34.
Helpful? 2

I agree the mature man grapples with that stuff on a regular basis. Whether they must have "help" from folks on the world wide web is debatable.

Answered by Steve El
Posted Sun, 11/21/2010 - 00:27

35.
Helpful? 1

He could have and still could make a peace overture right here, if that is what he truly intended to do. He doesn't need my real name to make peace with Steve El.

In fact, I do.

I have nothing but contempt for your behavior on this forum. I cannot make peace with a troll.

I was reasonably, certain, however, that if you would reveal who you are as a human being, I would find things to admire in you and in your journey.

Answered by Riversong
Posted Sun, 11/21/2010 - 00:28

36.
Helpful? 0

I have been self employed for so long ...I forgot some people have real jobs.
Maybe the reason some prefer not to use given names....
they fear the boss may discover how much time they are "wasting" and not doing the REAL JOB.

My intention is not to force everyone to use given names.
I would however encourage most people to use their "real names"

I am guessing that many use screen names out of habit because that's what they are accustomed to.

Answered by John Brooks
Posted Sun, 11/21/2010 - 06:40

37.
Helpful? 2

Re 35 above
_________________________________
Robert said:

Gandhi used various terms and various approaches to civil struggle, including ahimsa [and] satyagraha...

Satya ("truth") and agraha ("insistence", or "holding firmly to") * * * is precisely the standard I live by, even if Gandhi did not.

Gandhi was unable to be faithful to ahimsa in his personal life.....

I have nothing but contempt for your behavior on this forum. I cannot make peace with a troll.
___________________________

In "Ahimsa" Sri Swami Sivananda said:

The vow of Ahimsa is broken even by showing contempt towards another man.

___________________________

Robert also said;

"What I've been doing is confronting the hypocrisy.....”

Steve El
_______________________
No man can claim that he is absolutely in the right or that particular thing is wrong because he thinks so. The claim to infallibility would thus always be a most dangerous claim to make. (M.K. Gandhi)

Answered by Steve El
Posted Sun, 11/21/2010 - 08:31

38.
Helpful? 0

Would Gandhi use a screen name?

Answered by ROY HARMON
Posted Sun, 11/21/2010 - 11:10

39.
Helpful? 0

I have been. But now see the light as the wiseone Riversong has blessed us all with.

I was posting as "a no nothing punk"

I do wish Steve and Robert could move their debate off this site and maybe start their own blogsite to do with endlessly debating debating skills.

It is finally as boring and repetitive as my inane posts are.

That I bet we all can agree on.

Gandhi@eternity.com

Answered by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Posted Sun, 11/21/2010 - 12:00

40.
Helpful? 1

Your Highness:

Thanks for the wonderful advice (#39). I find myself having to wade through dozens and dozens of posts here by people espousing philosophy, religion, politics, puts downs of others, egotistic rants about how smart and great they are, and generally stuff not related to building. I’ve been sucked in a time or two into these debates, I ask for your forgiveness. I have developed a way to deal with this, and that is by reading only those things written by the GBA Advisors, but I feel I may be missing some good advice by other participants.

I do wish moderators would wield a stronger hand in keeping things on topic. I may not renew my $149 subscription if this nonsense continues.

And by the way, people not using their real names doesn't bother me a bit.

Answered by Allan Edwards
Posted Sun, 11/21/2010 - 12:57

41.
Helpful? 1

Returning to the topic of this thread:

What might be the real reason that GBA refuses to vet forum participants by requiring registration with real names and verified email addresses?

GBA is a for-profit business.

For-profit businesses require revenue and thus cash flow must be the bottom line.

Free access web sites, like the public part of this one, are paid for by advertising revenues.

Advertising revenue (from those annoying banner ads) is directly proportional to on-line traffic.

On-line traffic (the number of daily "hits") would be reduced if the door to this site had a gatekeeper.

Hence, trolling and on-line predatory behavior (within broad limits of propriety) and myriad off-topic posts support the financial interest of the web host, GBA, even if it requires the occasional exercise of a moderator's delete button.

Therefore it is not in the interest of GBA, which purports to be about sharing useful green building information but must put its cash flow before any other goals, to in any way restrict access to the site, including this Q&A forum.

Hence we all, including poor Allan Edwards (who could have ignored this off-topic thread but did not) will continue to be victimized by anonymous predators and fools who are here to get their kicks rather than share useful substantive building information.

Answered by Riversong
Posted Sun, 11/21/2010 - 14:13

42.
Helpful? 2

Out of respect for our hosts and innocent bystanders I'll give this a rest until after the New Year.

Steve El
_______________________
No man can claim that he is absolutely in the right or that particular thing is wrong because he thinks so. The claim to infallibility would thus always be a most dangerous claim to make. (M.K. Gandhi)

Answered by Steve El
Posted Sun, 11/21/2010 - 15:14

43.
Helpful? 1

"Respect"?

That's the kind of "respect" that the outlaw oppressive state of Israel offers the Palestinians when they agree to a partial short-term moratorium on illegal settlement construction.

[ My father was an idealistic secular Zionist, I've visited Israel and know that Israel does not represent either the Jewish people or Jewish values, any more than Steve (anonymous) El represents Gandhian non-violence or green values.]

Answered by Riversong
Posted Sun, 11/21/2010 - 15:53

45.
Helpful? 0

RE Posts 38 & 39 ... Now THAT'S just outright LOL funny ;-}}

RE Post 40 ... I'm right there with you brother. And I'm not concerned with putting my real name on that bit o' support.

Answered by Andy Ault, CLC
Posted Sun, 11/21/2010 - 20:07

46.
Helpful? 1

I wish people would quote the posts they refer to rather than use numbers which many of us don't see, since on my screen they are numbered 1-10 on every page of a thread - no cumulative numbers - and displayed from newest to oldest.

Answered by Riversong
Posted Sun, 11/21/2010 - 21:05

47.
Helpful? 1

But isn't that a metaphor for the reason that communication often fails between people who view the world from entirely different perspectives, as if we were living in parallel (or more accurately, divergent) universes.

Answered by Riversong
Posted Sun, 11/21/2010 - 21:07

48.
Helpful? 0

I am curious as to why someone who does not know me, and whom I do not know, should ascribe a logical action of mine to fear. That my action is logical can be shown by the fact that this person knows (a little) more about me, because of my choice of pseudonym, than the nothing of him that I know from the name that he has chosen to use.

I am an onlooker since I am not involved in a current building project, although I hope that one is in my mid-term future. My involvement in that project will be principally as an onlooker, although I may put in some sweat equity as my inclination and abilities allow. I am an interested onlooker because I can claim no expertise, or formal training, in any of the crafts and arts of building and architecture.
I have had an interest in architecture since childhood and have developed an interest in the building of low-energy housing that I may act as an informed client. My total (and obvious) ignorance of building processes has been alleviated by the advice I have been given on this forum. For this I am truly grateful and I have sought to repay what I owe you all by asking what I hope are relevant questions and by making what I believe are intelligent observations (tempered only by the aforementioned ignorance).

On no occasion whatever has my evaluation of the advice I have received been affected by the name (fictitious or otherwise, corporate or personal) which has been used by my respondent. Nor should it. Over the months I have developed opinions as to which respondents are reliable and which are not. I recognise these respondents, of course, by their by-line. Provided that these remain unchanged then it is of no matter whatsoever whether or not they are pseudonymous. I choose to retain some privacy and am content that others keep theirs, or not, as they see fit.

Answered by Interested Onlooker
Posted Mon, 11/22/2010 - 07:49

49.
Helpful? 2

Interested,
sorry about using your name as an example.
you are just one of many who have made some VERY good posts.
I was ONLY curious
thanks for your thoughts

Answered by John Brooks
Posted Mon, 11/22/2010 - 07:56

50.
Helpful? 0

Unintended Consequences.
My recent behaviour was an attempt to improve the "climate" here
Now I see it is having the opposite & Unintended effect
I am truely sorry

Answered by John Brooks
Posted Mon, 11/22/2010 - 08:05

51.
Helpful? 0

Dear John,
No offence taken; I hope that my post is seen as explanatory rather than defensive - that was certainly my intention. I hope it has gone some way to satisfying your curiosity. As far as climate goes, the whole site seems to have been transformed by enabling folk to post sketches. Martin's going to kill me.... :o)

Answered by Interested Onlooker
Posted Mon, 11/22/2010 - 10:29

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