Poll: Do you think posters should be identifiable by their username?
This poll is closed.
Yes
65.52%
19 65.52%
No
34.48%
10 34.48%
Total 29 vote(s) 100%
* You voted for this item. [Show Results]

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Forum Username - Discussion
#31
Hugh Brechin Wrote:You have to use your passport to get through airport security because there are serious security implications potentially affecting enormous numbers of people. This noticeboard is a place where a few dozen people read about a board game. It's not exactly comparable.

JR isn't Jonathan Rowson, as you now know, anybody who's ever really seen him post before knows, and anyone who reads the sticky at the top of the forum also knows. The no-need-for-anonymity argument is one you can make (I personally reckon that it doesn't do any harm as long as you or Andy knows their real identity and it's not worth stopping people who might feel more comfortable staying anonymous, but I agree that you can contend that people don't need it), but saying that everybody needs to follow the accepted format for names is just taking things far, far too seriously. You've already admitted that PNums are a better way of mapping the grading data. At the moment you're threatening to drive off at least a couple of good posters for basically no reason at all.

If you do decide that democracy should be the judge of this situation - and I still think there are serious sampling bias issues on the new board - then I'd ask you to at least make that dependent on a new poll, asking whether initials/nicknames/whatever are acceptable as long as the identities of the posters are fully disclosed, as they currently are in the 'Forum Usernames' thread.

A fair few points Hugh.

The passport scenario is not entirely comparable, but there are similarities. The main point was that you are happy to disclose your identity at passport security, whether you are carrying a bomb/knife/gun or not, and you don't really care about doing so because you appreciate that everyone needs to be treated equally, for the greater good. Something similar applies here: if you disclose your name then you have nothing to lose by it, but everyone is clear that it's you who is posting. Anonymity does tend to favour those who would post in a troll-like fashion; because they know (or think) that nobody will find out who they really are. There is no requirement on a board like this for anonymity, we aren't talking about sensitive personal matters. If anyone really wants to post anonymously then they are perfectly welcome to email an admin to post on their behalf, but I suspect hardly anyone will ever feel the need to do so.

I'd be willing to accept any username that made it quite clear of the user's identity. I think if JR made his username JRedpath, then that would be better than JR. You're correct that I now know who he is, but when I initially read his posts when I first took an interest in Chess Scotland; I had no idea. I think the point is that if someone is replying to you, then they deserve to know who you are. It's a bit ridiculous that we should have to play a game of guess-who.

The other argument for identifying people is security (back to the passport comparison). I'm not about to argue that the security implications are as serious, but if the admins/mods of the board can't establish quickly (and without much investigation), which names are spam and which are not, then it becomes difficult to pre-empt their posting tons of adverts for Viagra, many of which lead to sites that will infect your computer with malicious spyware and whatnot. Controlling this would be much easier, if names were recognised.

The initial reason for requesting usernames in a particular format was technical, but quite quickly I realised that the requirement was obsolete. I don't, therefore, intend to follow up on a particular format, as long as the identity is quite clear. As a result I don't think another vote is required.
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#32
Incidentally, whilst this poll might be slightly biased, I don't think it's so that any other poll in any other way would overturn a 2:1 in favour of either way. It's quite clear what the more popular option is.

Also worth pointing out that a lot of people probably, quite simply, don't care - and if asked to vote they may lean more towards voting "No", than "Yes".
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#33
Andrew McHarg Wrote:Big Grin I don't get why people don't want to use their name. It's their name. You wouldn't get a passport or driving license and have "Pikachu" written on it, so why do it on a discussion forum. Anyone can randomly post anonymous comments, but what's the point? Why is there such a fear of people knowing your opinion. I don't think people have some kind of right to post anonymously as has been implied by some, any more than you have the right to pass through passport security anonymously.

Democracy will decide this one I think. If it goes the way of identifiable names then I expect it to be more than just a few letters, for instance JR could mean anything (for example I initially thought it could be Jonathan Rowson). If, as some have argued, it's easy to establish who's who anyway, then why not just put it beyond doubt - and save everyone else the requirement to investigate.

If some still decide to leave the forum and not post because the outcome of the debate/vote didn't go their way, then that's just being petty. It's not like we're asking you to put your credit card details in your signature (although there's a fund raising idea). It would be similar to disliking the result of an election and removing yourself from society.

Food for thought. Big Grin
Let me try to address those (and one or two subsequent) points.

People have a right to call themselves what they like.
People have a right to privacy.

This is what I would call normal. I am suggesting that we tend to maintain “normality” on this forum, rather than seek to impose extra restrictions. It is more common than not in my experience for internet fora to allow pseudonymity (including Facebook, by the way). Any security and legal implications appear to be able to be accommodated by such organisations.

The passport analogy is an interesting one. True, people submit to a private identity check when boarding an aircraft, for example, but it is entirely possible to travel incognito thereafter. When I travel, I don’t particularly want the general public to know who I am. I would argue this is akin to “proving” your identity to the Admin team, but not the readership.

There are reasons whilst people want to maintain some degree of anonymity. Expressing unpopular views can lead to intimidation. Mike Scott has spoken of this.

People may wish to retain some degree of privacy, rather than give away details of their personal lives.

There will be other reasons too.

You mention democracy. What does this mean in this context? Contributors to this forum? This is a stacked deck – you have sought to exclude people who may be expected to vote “no” by the initial conditions you have set. I think to describe this as “slightly biased” is a gross understatement. Also, as is common in many polls, the question is capable of misinterpretation, as are the results.

As regards JR – I disagree that this could mean anything. I think we know who this particular individual is. And there is no “requirement” to investigate. You can get along just fine not knowing who someone is – just read what they say.

If anyone wishes to refrain from posting, then that is their right, and I would not denigrate their motives.

As I said elsewhere we should question why so few people feel able to post here.

There are how many names in the grading database? 18,000?
About 2,400 active?
About 1,600 graded?
About 570 members?
And 53 registered users, to date.

I think 16 have voted for “identifiability” so far. Andrew, you suggested that those who haven’t voted would lean more towards voting “no”. That seems like a healthy majority against to me...
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#34
Good points AWIC.

The noticeboard is dominated by about 15-20 posters these days. In the past where anonymous postings were allowed debates were much better and many more people contributed.

This could be my last post if forced username changes are applied tomorrow. I await to see the outcome :U
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#35
Quote:During the last incarnation of this board it was decided at the AGM that a 'real name' policy be enforced. This was against the wishes of Andy Howie, the admin. At that time I argued against this policy, and was disappointed when it was voted through.

I think I have a rather simplistic view, but if the 'real name' policy was passed at an AGM why are we having this discussion? The only way now to change that policy is to go back to a future AGM and "repeal" the motion on the books.

I'll be sad to see J*R stop posting as he usually makes good discussion points, but the democracy of the AGM must take precedence I think.
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#36
The motion as passed in 2008 stopped posters from posting anonymously. That is as far as it went - there's nothing in the AGM vote to prevent people from posting under their initials, or any other shortened form of their name (so for instance, Mike doesn't have to call himself Michael and we don't have to call both our admins Andrew). Neither JR nor AWIC (nor AWT, and I could obviously go on) are making any effort to hide their identities.
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#37
Ok I have to add one last point on the matter. Ive just looked over the AGM minutes from Auguest 2008, they read as follows :

Motions brought before AGM

1. ‘That we allow anonymity on the Chess Scotland Noticeboard’

Proposer: Andy Howie
Seconded: Jim Johnston

There was some discussion on this, both for and against the motion. From the floor, one member made an allegation of a serious breach of Chess Scotland’s policy on child protection by recounting a ‘posting’ which had been made, but he would not supply the posters name. No one else at the AGM could remember seeing the posting described. The Chair and the AGM immediately took the stance that such an alleged breach, if shown to be true, would not be tolerated and could well be a matter for the civil authorities. The Board Moderator (Andy Howie) promised an immediate investigation into this, pointing out that he had the archives for all postings on the Noticeboard.

The motion failed on a show of hands, by a large majority


The motion does not say that posters must use real names when posting. As far as I am aware no-one has been posting anonymously because Andy Howie always knew the real identity of the poster. I would agree that people should not be able to post without their identity being known to the administator because then there is potential for libellous material to appear, which could lead to problems. I don't recall this ever happening in the past although I could be wrong.

That's my last word on the matter!
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#38
Hugh Brechin Wrote:The motion as passed in 2008 stopped posters from posting anonymously. That is as far as it went - there's nothing in the AGM vote to prevent people from posting under their initials, or any other shortened form of their name (so for instance, Mike doesn't have to call himself Michael and we don't have to call both our admins Andrew). Neither JR nor AWIC (nor AWT, and I could obviously go on) are making any effort to hide their identities.

Agreed, I was typing my reply as you posted this =)
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#39
Quote:it is the democratic willl...
Yea right. How many of those who post either then or now were at the meeting and cast a vote? Admittedly this is how the vast majority of democratic decisions are taken but it does not make it democratic.
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#40
Jim Webster Wrote:I think I have a rather simplistic view, but if the 'real name' policy was passed at an AGM why are we having this discussion? The only way now to change that policy is to go back to a future AGM and "repeal" the motion on the books.

I'll be sad to see J*R stop posting as he usually makes good discussion points, but the democracy of the AGM must take precedence I think.

A fair point, but as we've seen above, the AGM did not pass a "real name" policy. All it did was specifically reject an "anonymity permitted" policy.

We have never operated what I would call an "anonymity policy" unlike some blogs, for instance "Who'd be an arbiter (or other Chess Volunteer...)"

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As can be seen, this particular blog allows anonymous comments.

We have operated a pseudonymity policy. Leaving aside the point about whether constitutionally the AGM has any jurisdiction over the noticeboard, we now have a situation where there is limited guidance from the AGM, and the administration is seeking unilaterally to implement a new policy.

I can't help feeling that if J*R had not shared his initials with a former British Champion, and had instead been born "Gerald Nossiter", for example, we wouldn't be having this discussion.
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