What’s in a name? Membership? I think not.

I’ve been reading the ubuntu-women mailing list, and following the thread about the requirement for Launchpad beta testers to use their real name if they want to join.

This is a bit of a concern for women, since it draws a measure of harassment. (Don’t bother rationalizing the harassment, or pretending you didn’t notice. This is the Internet. You’re a fool if you don’t notice it.)

I agree. I go to great lengths to keep my real name off the Internet. I once had a tiny spat with a boss at a new job because they wanted to put a two-sentence bio about me on their home page. (I lost.)


If your group wants my help, you’ll get it — 110 percent. But you won’t get my real name. If my real name is a requirement to join your little club, you can forget it. My name, my address, my picture, my gender, even my favorite color … are not your business. Find someone else to contribute.

I find it a little annoying that there would be a requirement like that at all. Ubuntu membership doesn’t require it, so I’m not sure why a beta testing team for Launchpad would.

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3 Responses to “What’s in a name? Membership? I think not.”

  1. 1 bapoumba 2007/09/16 at 11:35 PM


    When I first started writing on the UWN, I signed with my nick. That was changed to my real name (more that a year ago, with a different team). It did puzzle me at first, there was no connection prior to this even, and I decided to let it go.
    I probably should not have, thinking of it thanks to the u-w mailing list thread and your post. Choice should be available. These are projects taking place on the Internet, and nick are our identity there. Linking the two should not be mandatory.

  2. 2 Luke 2007/09/17 at 8:48 AM

    It’s kinda silly to require this – it’s not like they can verify if the name you use is a real one. I guess what they really meant was to ask people not to use silly nicknames like “SerialKiller”, “DarkRapist”, “Dragonslayer” and etc… Perhaps they want to have the names so that they can credit the beta testers somewhere and they want to avoid names like “LongDongSilver” in the official acknowledgments or something.

    But yeah – it seems that they didn’t really think about privacy concerns when requiring this. Note that these days everyone has a myspace facebook and myspace account where they tend to post tons of very personal information without any regard for their own privacy or privacy of others whose pictures they post, tag and comment on.

    So I guess it’s not surprising that if someone essentially lives public life via their social networks, live journal and picture sharing sites, then they will think nothing of requiring others to reveal some private information.

  3. 3 Dr Small 2007/09/17 at 10:16 AM

    It seems to me, that something similar to this was written back in the early 1990′s, and submitted to text-files.com


    Dr Small

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