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NerdyKeith's avatar

What is your opinion of "real name" policies on the web?

Asked by NerdyKeith (5479points) May 1st, 2016

When I was originally seeking a Yahoo Answers alternative I decided to Give Quora a shot. So I tried to call myself Nerdy Keith on Quora and got my profile flagged because it’s not my real name. Now I know Facebook has had a similar policy for quite some time, which has caused quite a lot of issues for transgendered people. But it seems to me that these real name policies could have the potential of putting a person’s privacy at risk. Some people don’t know this, but our postal addresses are not exactly viewed by the law as private information; they are legally defined as public domain information. Which means that a person could use certain third party websites to search for you by name and find out where you live, track you down and potentially stalk you. Scary stuff.

I had a close call several months ago. Somebody messaged me on Yahoo Answers, I guess I rubbed him the wrong way. Anyway he addressed me by my full name (middle name included). I asked him how he found out that information and he just responded by saying “You’d be surprised what information people can find out about you and how easy it is to find this information out. I could find out where you live if I wanted to.”

It turns out he simply used Twitter and Facebook to find out my full name. My first and last name is on twitter next to my username. He then obviously put that into google, found my private Facebook page; which contains my first name, middle name and last name. He was just trying to scare me.

So I’ve decided to remove my last name from Twitter. As for Quora? I just can’t bring myself to use a Q&A website the enforces a real name policy along with some other issues too. So I deleted my account.

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9 Answers

Seek's avatar

On quora, as long as it looks like a real name they’ll let it pass. My quora account has my real first name and the surname my father had at birth (he was later adopted).

Generally speaking, I’m opposed to the practice, but the internet is a free country, and we’re all free to not use sites whose terms we disagree with.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I’m mixed. I want privacy, and I want a way to deter trolls.

dxs's avatar

How are they going to monitor this? Require a driver’s license? I bet if you make up a name that sounds real, it’ll pass.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I bypassed the Facebook real name policy by entering a “real bame” which is completely not mine. Those sites are just trying to prevent trolls, spams and other stuff. But in my opinion the policy only causes annoyance, and it doesn’t work like they think.

Brian1946's avatar

I wonder if there’s any limit to what actual individual or combination names they’d accept?

Irving Hitler?
Osama bin Clinton?
Muhammad Goldberg?
Beyonce Mussolini?

ucme's avatar

My real name is Lord Tittysucker of Nippleshire & I would never reveal it onli…oh shit bugger fart!!

jca's avatar

No social media site is a requirement in my life, so if I can’t figure out a way around a policy I’ll just not use that site. If enough people disagree with a site’s policies, the site will never grow to be that popular and maybe the owners will have to reconsider.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@jca – i agree with you.

If I had to identify my real name, I wouldn’t participate. My name is unique enough that I know that there are only two of us in the entire USA. I would be too easy to find.

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