The Commitment form on Area 51 requires your full name to be provided. Is this publicly viewable? Why not just use the existing usernames?

  • 12
    What's up with this name requirement anyways? It does accept my username, so I am happy with that, but still clueless. Is it supposed to be like signing an online petition?
    – rlb.usa
    Jun 14, 2010 at 21:15
  • 3
    just pop your credit card number in the box - that'll learn 'em
    – Antony
    Jun 18, 2010 at 4:08
  • 1
    Hey, since everyone is probably putting a false name why not just eliminate it completely?
    – thyrgle
    Jul 23, 2010 at 2:34

5 Answers 5


I don't think giving a full name guarantees more commitment than sticking with what people use as their username.

Especially when this is something not really "verifiable". You can still input a false but real looking full name or keep your username, or only your first name (I think there should be at least one space in a full name).

While we're on the topic of "commitment"... I also think the sentence

I commit to participate actively in , to visit at least three times per week, to ask at least three questions during the beta phase, and to answer as many questions as I can for at least three months.

Is too specific and too rule-bound. I am not very inclined to commit to anything with something like that in the "contract". It just sounds too "forced". There's no need to put numbers in there. If someone is really interested in a topic they will eventually participate. If that someone happens to not be around for the beta phase... no problem they'll come around later (look at Jon Skeet).

  • 12
    +1! I thought I was the only one who felt this way, and I'm glad to see that I'm not. Especially about the "contract" bit. I nearly didn't commit two two proposals in which I really want to participate, because what if I'm busy at work or out of town for a given week? Will I be thrown out of the beta? Get an e-mail nastygram? Be sued? I still ended up committing, but I don't feel so good about the system anymore.
    – Pops
    Jun 16, 2010 at 17:13
  • 3
    yeah, definitely too forced and rules-bound.
    – tim
    Jun 16, 2010 at 18:35
  • I bet you just filled in fretje ;-)
    – Ivo Flipse
    Jun 18, 2010 at 6:18
  • 5
    @Ivo: Of course I did. That's my "real internet name" as far as I'm concerned ;-)
    – fretje
    Jun 18, 2010 at 7:13

I'm serious about the sites I've committed to. I fully understand what I've publicly committed to.

However, I do not give my real name on the internet. I would hate to see any kind of "enforcement" of this policy, because it would just serve to annoy otherwise enthusiastic site-supporters.

My "Blorgbeard" identity is far more visible on the internet than my real name anyway, so I feel that signing that name actually means more.


Near as I can tell, it's not publicly-visible. And there's no verification that it matches either your username or the "Real name" you put into your profile (which is also not publicly visible).

So might as well have some fun with it...

Heh... Just ran across a /. post on name-assumptions in software, and immediately thought of this, and how, regardless of the intentions behind it, it actually seems reasonably sane about the whole thing. Unlike, say, Facebook...

  • 1
    Dare ​​I ​​ask?
    – mmyers
    Jun 14, 2010 at 22:30
  • 6
    "Sir Shogonurrath McMurtrey the VII"
    – snicker
    Jun 14, 2010 at 23:10
  • That was funny, "Snicker McWilliamson Harmwell Jones Smith-whatever the VIII"! [Need I say more?] Jun 15, 2010 at 2:53
  • You forgot 'esq.'
    – snicker
    Jun 15, 2010 at 14:51
  • 8
    @snicker: He should be "IX", unless he's been misleading us all this time.
    – mmyers
    Jun 15, 2010 at 17:37

Ehud Lamm, in the Lambda-the-Ultimate discussion, Use real names, about site policy:

Quite a few mentioned the unease the feel about using their given names. Well, I feel uneasy about conversing with people who choose to remain anonymous. It's good to keep in mind that each of us has his own sensibilities.

I think it is possible to find middle ground. You can use a login of your choice (something non-offenisve please), and give your name only in the user account details. You can give a url to a homepage/blog from which people can find out who you are. Naturally, using a handle which is well known in the CS/PL community is much less of a problem than using a LtU-specific made up username.

I hope these suggestion are acceptable to large majority. Like I said before - if you think you have good reason to remain anonymous, but otherwise are playing by the rules, I am not going to kick you out. I trust your judgement, guys.

Is there such a big problem with most people having, if they want, a nickname they use to interact but also having provided their real name? The 50k+ folks who don't give real names I guess were not hugely committed before they signed up to SO.

  • 4
    Ehud Lamm, whoever he is, presumably has no stalkers, is not routinely harassed, is not trans*, and does not have any of the other myriad excellent reasons why many many people are unwilling to reveal their legal names on the Internet.
    – TRiG
    Nov 11, 2013 at 15:43

This is a fairly serious commitment to actually support the site, and we want people to see it that way. Typing your full name is the online equivalent of signing your name. Providing your actual real-world name shows a higher level of commitment than just typing some made-up online nickname or "asdf" or something goofy like that.

  • 28
    I don't know. I just can't help to wonder why I should so super seriously commit to something and put myself in the position that I morally owe something to that site. Why would I do that? And, extrapolating to Stack Overflow, do I owe something to Stack Overflow because I have answered a lot of questions there? I surely wouldn't commit to be active on Stack Overflow. You should put some incentive there for people to commit, not just hope that they are desperately searching for a way to spend lots of time helping people on [topic].
    – sth
    Jun 14, 2010 at 22:02
  • 7
    I understand the intent, but I'm not sure that using a real name implies more commitment... Roughly 10/35 of the top SO users and 8/15 MSOFU moderators use "something goofy".
    – Alconja
    Jun 14, 2010 at 23:15
  • 9
    So, who will that name be visible to?
    – Oak
    Jun 15, 2010 at 9:10
  • @sth - what you get out of it is that the site will exist. If people don't make good on these "commitments", the sites will quickly fail.
    – user27414
    Jun 15, 2010 at 11:38
  • @sth - Think of it as a promise to invest. As Jon points out, you get the benefit of the site, but without the promise to invest time from so many people it's a waste of time for Joel/Jeff/Stack Overlfow Enterprises (?) to launch the site you want.
    – C. Ross
    Jun 15, 2010 at 12:26
  • 2
    I'd say it's more important that people only commit if they mean it. But it's hard for software to check that ;-)
    – Ivo Flipse
    Jun 15, 2010 at 12:42
  • 8
    Sorry Joel, but i refuse to put my real name in. You can't verify it anyway, so it's pointless.
    – RCIX
    Jun 16, 2010 at 8:47
  • 15
    As far as I'm concerned, my full name is "Gnoupi", i showed my commitment to such sites already under this name, I see no need to write my "real" name. People from the "blogging" and "myname.com" era might think it's the only way to be, but it's wrong. If asked to write my full name, I wrote and I will write "Gnoupi". Kick me out of the proposals I commit to if you want.
    – Gnoupi
    Jun 16, 2010 at 11:02
  • 1
    The only place I would kick you in is into Beta @Gnoupi
    – Ivo Flipse
    Jun 18, 2010 at 6:19

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