General Question

Sarcasm's avatar

How do you feel about having your real name shown on your online presence?

Asked by Sarcasm (16737 points ) July 6th, 2010

As some of you may know, I like computer games. And I’m very much excited for Starcraft 2 to come out later this month. Within Starcraft 2, there’s a feature called “Real ID”, which gives you more social/connectivity features with your online friends. But to use it, you have to let them know your email address, and they will be shown your real name next to your account name e.g. Killerface82 (John Smith). It has also just been announced here that they are now planning to have your full, real name displayed on all posts on their official forums.

Assuming that your name had to be real, and there was no way to use a fake one:
How would you feel about this, on pieces of the internet that are more relevant to your life? Certainly, most people who use facebook have their real names shown, and most email accounts show your real name.
But how would you feel about your full name being shown with all of your tweets? All of your messages on Fluther? All of your IMs? On whatever other message boards or forums you use?

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40 Answers

tranquilsea's avatar

When ever possible I don’t use my real name. I like the illusion of privacy lol.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I feel hesitant about it.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
faye's avatar

This is my name. Even if I added my last name, it wouldn’t matter, there are 100’s of us.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
downtide's avatar

I don’t use my real name anywhere on the internet and if Blizzard make it compulsory to expose it, or do not make it possible to use a pseudonym, I will be closing my account. I don’t play that much anyway.

Keysha's avatar

I would not be on any site that would do this. There are way too many nutjobs out there that can make your life miserable if they have information of yours.

downtide's avatar

Not only that. Think about your job prospects if any future employer googles your name and finds out that you play Warcraft in your spare time.

Facade's avatar

I wouldn’t want my full name to be shown. I’d be fine if it was just my first.

SABOTEUR's avatar

My (real) name is all over the internet; and for anyone concerned, it’s easy to associate with whatever pseudo nic I use.

I just have to be mindful not to say anything that may prove to be embarrassing to my family, friends, associates, or to myself.

downtide's avatar

@SABOTEUR but in the case of Warcraft, it’s the very existance of your account that is the potential embarrassment. Anyone, including a potential or current employer, can google your name, find out your linked character names, look them up, and from that, extrapolate how much time you spend playing the game. And then make their decision about whether or not to hire you.

DominicX's avatar

Obviously, my first name is pretty readily available and I’ve been using it on Q&A sites since I was 14, but I would feel a bit uncomfortable about my full name on something other than Facebook. I only add people I’ve met in person for Facebook, so I don’t mind if they know my full name.

Seek's avatar

Well, there are about eleventy billion people in the US with my name. If it were my maiden name (only one of me!) it would be different… maybe. I already have no credit and no money, so really, what could identity theives do?

I spend more time and effort preventing the people I’m biologically related to from finding me than I do trying to protect myself from scam artists.

Jeruba's avatar

I’d never do it. Besides, having all those things connected means that your information is instantly and irrevocably out of your control.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Im strongly against it. There was a site i was thinking about signing up for recently. The two things holding me back was 1:you needed a facebook or a twitter(fuck both those sites) to initially log in, and 2: You needed to use your real first and last name. FUCK THAT….

The less actual tangible evidence of my existence on the internet, the better. I dont want someone to be able to type my name into google or whatever and find info on me. Call me paranoid if ya will, i call it being smart.

Ivan's avatar

I would never use my real name as a website username.

fightfightfight's avatar

I never use my real name online, I’m not even allowed. Instead, I use names I think are awesome.

perspicacious's avatar

I don’t.

Jude's avatar

First name is fine.

YARNLADY's avatar

I try to avoid it as much as possible. Back before the major companies (Google and Yahoo) consolidated everything, I used my name to register on a few sites, and now it shows up where I don’t want it.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I wouldn’t use it. I’m fine with friends and many acquaintances knowing if I play a game or not but I don’t want my bosses or co workers… or weirdos to know when and for how long I’m online.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Yea i should also mention, i have a rather unique first name and a very unique last name. So its not like im John Smith where you google my name and i could be one of hundreds, nope, google my name and i am the only one to come up. It makes me more leery of letting my name get on the web.

Blondesjon's avatar

My name is Jon Wilcox.

that wasn’t so bad . . .

kenmc's avatar

First name is fine to show. My first name is fairly common, so it really doesn’t bother me too much. Some folks on here know my last name, but they’re verified to be who they actually say they are first.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I use my first name regularly but I like to have the illusion of privacy. There is not real privacy unless you live entirely off the grid in the wilderness.

jerv's avatar

I want to see 24/7 camera coverage on the people who think that that is a good idea. Maybe after their asses are displayed on the Times Square JumboTron and the whole world shouldersurfs them as they type in the passwords to their online banking, maybe then they might learn to appreciate a little anonymity and privacy.

The only place I use my real name aside from banks is Facebook.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I would opt out of any service requiring that, even to the point of taking myself completely off-line.

MrsDufresne's avatar

The only time I use my real name on the net is if the address has https in the title.

gondwanalon's avatar

Telephone books are loaded with people’s names and addresses mine included and I’ve never had a problem with that. So far no crazy SOB has tried to ruin or attack me. But I think that “Crank Yankers” once called me. Of course I screen my calls now and and lock my doors. Everyone nowadays is afraid of ID theft and abuse even though everyones full name is already all over the internet. So it is too late people! Big brother already knows where and who you are. You can not hide! My name is Mr. Google It!

Blondesjon's avatar

@jerv . . . yeah. facebook is a veritable fort knox.

His real name is Jerv Jervason by the way.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t like it. I want to use my real name only when I am willing to, and I don’t want people to easily be able to connect up a pseudonym I might use with my real name. My real name is fairly rare. Well, my last names are.

Sarcasm's avatar

I’d like to mention a followup to my anecdote above.
On the game’s official forums, there is a 763-reply thread with over 160 thousand views. Most threads have <20 replies, and <20 thousand views. And this thread is 14 hours old, as opposed to those others which are weeks old.
On the game’s most popular unofficial forums, the related thread is over 1500 replies, and has 63 thousand views. Again, in 14 hours. It’s extremely rare for a thread to go above 200 replies or 20,000 views there.
I think that speaks for itself on how absolutely amazed, and how strongly the players feel about this.

In the thread on those unofficial forums, some people have posted their real names as a “Look, you people are upset over nothing. Relax. Here’s my name.” sentiment. And from that, other users have found addresses, phone numbers, family photos, etc.

The biggest problem with requiring real names in a community like this is the fact that almost everyone is tech savvy. They are not the hunt-and-peck typers who barely understand how to turn on a computer. So finding out personal information is a relatively easy task.

And for the record, my account for that game is registered to one Harold Saxon. Because I don’t feel like playing around with that kind of stuff.

I can see two good reasons for showing full names.
1) The Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory. Without anonymity, people are less likely to be total fuckwads.
2) With real names shown, you get a bit more of a feeling of community or intimacy, it’s a bit more of a human experience. I’m assuming this is why you introduce yourself at AA meetings?

But those are so very minor.
1) Despite what my statement in bold at the top of the question says, it is possible to fake the name. So instead of being trolled by BARRELROLL69, you’ll be getting trolled by someone like Mike hunt. So that’s not really fixing anything.
2) Even though they make up 51% of the population, girls who publicly announce their femalehood on the internet are kind of rare. Girls who do so on gaming websites are way more rare. I expect any girl will immediately get harassed as soon as it’s known that they’re female.
3) In general, it’s not too hard to find real personal information about people with a full name. Even easier when you have a general area of where the person lives.
4) I don’t think that the community itself (aside from those who like to harass others) actually wants this. So it seems like a lot of effort for minimal gain.

In general. I try to keep my online presence and my real life separate. Most jellies who visit the chat know my first name. A select few of those know my full name and know my facebook. In the computer gaming realm (where I spend a lot of time), nobody knows me by anything other than a last name (an extremely common last name, for the record).

Today I can google old screennames I used and find all sorts of stupid stuff I said when I was a young teen exploring the ‘net. I expect that 10 years from now, I’ll look back and think the things I said in 2010 were dumb. Now, if there’s just a screenname attached to them, that’s fine, I can make a new one. But if my full, real name is attached, well, I can’t do much about that.

Long story short, I’m not in favor of this idea.

downtide's avatar

Honestly, I have never put my real name anywhere online, except for online banking, or where I’ve made online purchases that have required the name on my credit card, or a delivery address. But these things are not public, and it’s a whole different issue when you’re talking about data that’s on public view.

I have a Facebook account, but it does not have my real legal name on it. I don’t even use my real legal name amongst half my real-life friends (because my legal name is a distinctly female one, and my appearance is distinctly male).

DocteurAville's avatar

Don’t do that. The only place that has my name on it is my online banking.

downtide's avatar

Well Blizzard have back-tracked and are no longer going to publish players’ real names on the forums. Real ID remains a feature of the game but is genuinely optional. I think they realised just how much revenue they were going to lose from cancelled accounts. I think they will find SOME way of monetising Real ID though. I forsee Facebook integration in the not-too-distant future.

lloydbird's avatar

I’m glad that I’m so OK about it. :-) ?

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I refuse to use even online banking, zero financial presence on the ‘net. It’s not secure enough to satisfy me. If I want to buy something advertised online, I contact them by landline telephone; if that’s not acceptable, they lose a sale.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

I would be very uncomfortable. Privacy is a major concern for me. I even try not to post pictures of my family and my children on Facebook, for concern of security issues.

flo's avatar

I would not want that at all, considering all the stories that I have heard. I would minimize it as much as posiible.

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