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The following obviously was not well received. I can't delete it (house rules) but I can informally withdraw it. Thanks for your attention, anyway.


There is an issue, imo, with the structure of identity on this site. Some users use their real names, and so their reputation here, flows into their real-world reputation. Others are more anonymous, using only screen names. I've noticed that many of the moderators use screen names, yet they have a lot of power over other peoples reputation. That isn't a problem for the local reputation, but it might be for the real-world reputation.

Moderators (and others, of course) can down vote a post for criteria only they believe in. When that happens to an experienced user it is less of a problem, but is discouraging to beginners. The criteria, I believe, are not always fairly applied.

In particular, a person who is anonymous to me could, if I used my real name, affect my real world reputation and I would have little recourse for correction. I find that asymetry extremely disturbing, in fact. Moreover, people signing up most likely don't know all the rules or the consequences of choosing a name.

I think it is unrealistic to force everyone to use real names, though there is a beauty in that. So, for discussion, I make the following suggestion:

Suppose that every new user could use only a pseudonym until their reputation reached a certain level (say 300). Then they would have the experience to evaluate the consequences of linking their local reputation to their global one. The mechanism might be to have a user choose a name from a list provided by the site during signup.


There are also a few minors in the community. Perhaps they should be required to use only screen names. In fact, there are likely laws that speak to this issue in many places.

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    How would you envision that it is verified I use my real name? I'm rene here but my real name is Jan Jansen. How would I prove that I'm Jan and not rene or Bart?
    – rene
    Jun 26, 2017 at 19:06
  • Actually, I'm suggesting the opposite. Not requiring real names, but requiring pseudonyms for beginners while they get experience. And for minors always. I don't think you should ever be required to use a real name and, as you suggest, it's not feasible anyway.
    – Buffy
    Jun 26, 2017 at 19:13
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    @Buffy So how do you plan to enforce that? Some people have really weird names, and some people have pseudonyms that aren't there real name, but that are other people's real names, so how do you intend to prove that a given name isn't their real name? Note that users under 13 aren't allowed to create accounts at all (per the T&C) and users that are 13 are allowed to provide their real name on the net (under US law anyway, which is what applies to SE).
    – Servy
    Jun 26, 2017 at 19:15
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    Why are moderators singled out here? Their downvotes are the same as anyone elses. Jun 26, 2017 at 19:16
  • I use my real name everywhere.
    – user1228
    Jun 26, 2017 at 19:16
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    No you won't ...
    – rene
    Jun 26, 2017 at 19:16
  • I only singled out moderators because they are (on sites I use) mostly anonymous.
    – Buffy
    Jun 26, 2017 at 19:18
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    and with moderators you mean the users with a diamond next to their name, right?
    – rene
    Jun 26, 2017 at 19:19
  • The mechanism would be to ask newcomers to choose a name from a popup list supplied by the site, rather than supply one themselves. The list could be quite large and changing.
    – Buffy
    Jun 26, 2017 at 19:20
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    @Buffy Choosing a name from a supplied list inhibits the primary purpose of names, namely to distinguish people. It also doesn't prevent anyone's real name from being on the list. Some people have really weird names, as mentioned before.
    – Servy
    Jun 26, 2017 at 19:22
  • So basically you ask to have new users only be allowed the user12345 name (as generated by default on signup at the moment, replacing your list idea) until they reached 300 rep and then they unlock the privilege to change their displayname?
    – rene
    Jun 26, 2017 at 19:26
  • I believe that if you now change your User Name, all posts you have made now show your new name. The issue isn't names themselves, but the overflow of local reputation to real-world reputation which is still, in my view, problematic. Especially when it comes from anonymous users.
    – Buffy
    Jun 26, 2017 at 19:26
  • But which overflow of rep is problematic then? That I down vote your posts without being Jan?
    – rene
    Jun 26, 2017 at 19:29
  • @rene. Something like that, but I think a more interesting set of names could be devised by this community. Archon, Bullroarer, Catdancer, ... Conceivably if they are interesting, some would choose to keep their early name when given the option of changing it to real name.
    – Buffy
    Jun 26, 2017 at 19:29
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    I simply miss the point of the issue and I find the proposed solution even more confusing. I lost the link with reality I guess. Not your fault...
    – rene
    Jun 26, 2017 at 19:31

1 Answer 1

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Your request doesn't make any sense. A person, online or not, must know that what they do can affect their reputation. Posting a picture that compromises your reputation can have a lot of consequences. People know that and accept that. And they screw up. And learn from it.

When would you deem an user to be experienced enough to use their real name? Is there any guarantee that a 400 or 4000 reputation user doesn't post stupid questions? As a matter of fact, I have seen quite a lot of stupid questions from high reputation users. And I have messed up myself sometimes too.

If a person decides to use the site (with their real name or an alias) they have to know and live by the rules. Not following them is just shortsighted. No reputation requirement will help against that.

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  • There is stupid, of course, but there is also unwary. The intention is nothing more than to protect, for a while, the real-world reputation of beginners and young people.
    – Buffy
    Jun 26, 2017 at 19:36

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