pseudonymity

2 minute read

“Free minds are the only company worth having” Neal Stephenson

I recently read a post by Balaji Srinivasan : about Pseudonymity

He defines 3 main forms of identity online :

  • Real Name : used for example on Facebook
  • Pseudonym : used on Reddit, Twitter and other platforms
  • Anonym : used on anonymous websites such as 4Chan

He goes onto explore the costs and benefits of each.

The main detractor of using your real name online is that it can hinder freedom of speech.

The reality is that you operate in the real world of corporations, reputations and egos. If you are a medical practitioner for example (Scott Alexander of https://slatestarcodex.com) – the opinions and views you put out into the world can damage your reputation. Freedom of speech is impaired

Scott Alexander has recently faced threats of being ‘doxxed’ by the NYT i.e his real identity being revealed.

As a result, he has shut down his blog because by revealing his identity it would hinder his patient-physician relationships, expose his identity to detractors and have real world safety concerns.

This has annoyed me. A lot. I gain about 100x the value from SCC than the NYT.

This whole situation has reminded me that we should be moving towards pseudonymity if we want some element of freedom of speech.

In particular ‘freedom after speech’. No Lynch mob descending upon you for expressing your opinion. But in the past few years, it seems like we are experiencing mass outrage and ‘deplatforming’ of real people simply because they express their views.

So my message here is : post pseudo-anonymously (if you feel compelled that is). It allows for

Freedom of speech practically without harming your ‘real world income earning reputation’ Still allows you to develop a reputation under an alternate name Allows you to explore truth without necessarily worrying about harming your opportunities in the real world.

Conclusion

Earn under one name. Speak under another.

Fame is overrated. If you wish to seek truth and explore ideas, fame isn’t part of the equation. It can hinder it.