It’s been almost seven months since I joined the Community Team at Stack Overflow. I’ve been having a wonderful time learning the ropes, working with incredible colleagues across the company, and especially getting to know the Stack Exchange Communities. I’ve gotten to know some of the moderators and community members through interactions and conversations on Meta, chat, etc. I have so much trust and respect for you all which is why I want to share why I choose to use a pseudonym on the platform.
I’ve been working in community management for over a decade. The vast majority of interactions I’ve had with members of the communities I’ve been privileged to serve have been positive and it’s a big contributor to why I love this work so much.
However, I have also had a few experiences in the past that have made me feel uncomfortable. I won’t get into too many details but these interactions primarily involved comments about seeing me in live videos or on webinars for previous companies I’ve worked for and knowing where I worked (i.e. that they could stop by the office and figure out where my desk was). Nothing serious ever came of any of these interactions, thank goodness, but I do know others in the industry who have had more serious interactions where their safety was in jeopardy.
For those reasons I chose for some light anonymity on the platform, which for me was using a nickname bestowed on me by family friends and using my pet’s photo as my avatar. I say light anonymity because in professional circles I’ve always used my legal name when it comes to professional profiles, articles I’ve written or been quoted in, podcast interviews, etc. It’s not too hard to figure out who I am and I trust the community so I didn’t (and still don’t) feel the need to retroactively conceal my legal name on any of those platforms.
That said, other people take anonymity more seriously than I do. I ask and trust that everyone would respect staff and community members who choose to use pseudonyms. Their reasons for doing so are personal and we should respect their privacy there as well. As a people manager and a community manager the safety and privacy of community members and staff is important to me and I will fiercely protect it.
If you have any questions for me feel free to drop them in the comments below. Thank you.