Forum etiquette: say who you are
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,730
    One of the forum etiquette points is "Say Who You Are":

    "Real identities are preferred to anonymous posting, else readers are left to speculate, and this can cause confusion and rancor."

    That's certainly true. People don't behave the same on the internet if they think they can write anonymously. Anonymous posting lends itself to bickering and gossip, and it's not appropriate for this site: after all, this is the forum for a professional association.

    Occasionally, someone will sign up for a forum account and start writing messages without knowing that anonymous posting is not appropriate here. Recently, one user went to great lengths to hide his or her identity, registering with a "disposable" e-mail account and using other tactics. I've disabled that forum account.

    Why, I've even seen two anonymous user accounts controlled by the same person "debate" each other. Some people have plenty of time for such creative maneuvers, apparently!
    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • TCJ
    Posts: 623
    In a way I understand that, but I really don't like having my name out in every forum I post on. These initials COULD stand for a name anyway.
    Thanked by 1Ig_Noto
  • Ig_Noto
    Posts: 5
    *I do apologize, Chonak. I did read the terms of service when I signed up, but you're right--I did not read the For Newcomers etiquette guidelines about the disposable email address. (I do like that address.) Again, I apologize, and if there is any way to get unbanned, I would appreciate it. I have been reading the forum for a while so I didn't think about reading the For Newcomers information. But this time I remembered the asterisk! Aren't we supposed to put an asterisk on our first post?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,730
    We've been very loose about this; maybe we ought to put in some procedure for new users where they have to identify themselves at least to the forum admin.

    I'll get back to you.
  • Chonak, I gave up my superheroine moniker to use my real name. (Old-timers- Singing Mum lives, bringing Gregorian chant to all she encounters!)

    But here I'm just plain Mary Ann again. Alas.

    So I did notice, and I agree on the reasons you mentioned.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,303
    I have mixed feelings on the matter, but I think the forum should lean in the direction of allowing anonymous profiles. For one thing- you can't REALLY know if someone is using a false name anyway. But moreover- some things people need to be able to talk about around here would most certainly get them fired IRL.
  • I agree with Adam. Not only could it get you fired, but just recently the post from David Andrew is another great point, where someone began to cyber stalk him. That seems to be when things could get a bit scary. Unfortunately, it seems to be the world we are now living in.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,960
    I read about the stalker, too. I don't go to any great lengths to hide my identity, and am more than big enough to take care of myself. I do agree that we should be able to discuss issues without attracting such attention, Also, without having to worry about employers identifying us.
    Thanked by 1ContraBombarde
  • WendiWendi
    Posts: 633
    At the very least the forum Administrators should know who the person is. David Andrew's situation came immediately to mind for me as well.

    On a personal level, I would prefer to know who I'm speaking to. If you aren't willing to own what you post...don't post it in the first place.

    As usual YMMV.
    Thanked by 3Kathy CHGiffen chonak
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Just a reminder that our new and lurking friends can choose to provide first names within a post rather than as a "username" so that if the plausible deniability defense when sheep attack, and DA's not the only one who's been stalked and slandered here, still qualifies as enough ID for commiseration.
    Charlie, ever the "Serious Man."
    Thanked by 3Kathy CHGiffen Gavin
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    I think at the very least you could add that users are only allowed one account/username.

    While it sounds nice in theory, I don't think that there is a way to practically enforce the "real identity" thing. Leaving you in no better place than now - the troublemakers can still make fake accounts to cause trouble.
    Thanked by 1Kathy
  • Ally
    Posts: 223
    I also have mixed feelings. While this username is really my real nickname, most people don't use that with me professionally. It is a "both/and" - anonymous enough, but close old friends do call me Ally in real life! I chose not to go "totally anonymous" because it would be weird for me having people call me someone I'm not. I do share the concerns others pointed out about the need in many cases for some anonymity (employers/sheep/etc)... but I'm sure someone could figure out who I am if they really wanted to.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,001
    I personally think pseudonymns are useful at times. Different people are employed at different levels of professional freedom.
    Thanked by 2Ally Earl_Grey
  • Bobby Bolin
    Posts: 368
    How about instead of making it mandatory to use real names, just make it mandatory to have some background information in your profile? That way people at least know where someone is coming from when they post.

  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    No one needs to know who I am. You don't need to know where I work. And no one using google needs to find things written by me on here so that they can "see where I stand," or find ammunition.

    I'm a graduate student in organ at a well known conservatory and I have over15 years of experience in parishes and one cathedral as an organist, assistant and director of music.

    That's all anyone needs to know. If that's not enough, than don't take anything I say seriously.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,303
    My opinion:
    Someone should be ejected based on what they post, not what they put in their profile.
    If someone's posts are borderline, then maybe the fact of their anonymity (which, together with post content, might give the impression of malice) could be reason for ejection. But if someone's posts are perfectly fine, I don't see any reason for their desire for anonymity to be a cause for suspicion or suspension.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,730
    Adam and Paix, I sympathize. On the other hand, a few extreme cases stand out: we've had people using "sockpuppet" accounts to engage in trolling (posting provocative remarks to get a reaction). That's a dishonest practice.

    Maybe it's premature for me to post about this problem when it's not clear where to draw the line.
    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,303
    Still my opinion (like all things I say, really):

    Maybe it's premature for me to post about this problem when it's not clear where to draw the line.


    Or... it's a good idea to post about it so you can see what other people think about the matter. As a "Benevolent Dictator For Life," you are not bound by anyone's stated opinion, but it seems useful to see what people think.

    a few extreme cases stand out: we've had people using "sockpuppet" accounts to engage in trolling (posting provocative remarks to get a reaction)


    1. I'm morbidly curious about this. I imagine it's imprudent to post details, but I wish there was some kind of "hall of shame" for this behavior.
    2. (More to the point)- Which is why the content itself ought to be the determining factor.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,404
    Still my opinion (like all things I say, really):


    Oh, Adam! How disappointing!

    I have no problem with people knowing who I am or where I work; however, when I opened this account, I used a pseudonym because of the general 'liberality' (in a bad way) in my diocese. People in the area now, more or less, know where I stand on liturgical matters, and there has been no back-lash - so far. I have thought about switching to my real name on t' Forum, but just never got round to it. (Saying this, because I believe that chonak once mentioned being able to change user-names. Correct?)
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,730
    Yes, if anyone ever wants to change usernames, feel free to contact me to accomplish that.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    Salieri,

    If you do, I would start a thread about it, just so people don't get confused...
  • WendiWendi
    Posts: 633
    I can understand that some people find it necessary to use a pseudonym if they are stuck in a hostile work environment.

    However...in that case it is even more essential that they let the forum administrators know who they really are. For reasons, see Chonak's original post.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    Agreed.
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    I'm not understanding the whole "let the forum admins know who you are" idea. So would there be a field that says "real name" where only the admins would see it to approve your registration? How are they going to tell a fake "John Smith" from a real one? Are they just going to say, "Oh, we've never heard of you and you've never been to a Colloquium, so we're not going to approve your registration?" I'm just not seeing what difference it would make to require people to, at any point, provide a "real" name. (How do you verify that?!)
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,593
    I think the forum works nicely as is (most can probably figure out who I am by my picture / screen name). Perhaps the moderator can just stop into any thread in which someone is posting back and forth with themselves and make note of it. Embarrassment can sometimes be the best medicine.
  • Ig_Noto
    Posts: 5
    As the sorry subject of this thread, I would like to especially thank the ever-practical Adam Wood for his perspective that post content should be the determining factor when considering suspension.

    I would like to share some context. Yes, I prefer to remain anonymous at this time due to a sticky situation. This situation has led to a deeper reading of the GIRM and other documents--not a bad thing per se, because I've certainly learned a lot, but I have many ponderings as well.

    I thought it would be prudent for me to have a safe and supportive outlet where I could ask questions about music and the liturgy. My intent is to post polite and respectful comments/questions and participate in the intellectual and thought-promoting discussions that I have been reading on this forum while I work through my situation. I am concerned that any postings other than anonymous postings would have the potential to jeopardize my situation.

    I hope that I may be allowed to stay based on the merits of my participation in the discussions. If anything I have posted thus far has been offensive, please let me know via the "Hall of Shame," as I do not wish to repeat such acts in the future.

    Suffice it to say that I am Ignoto and I love church music and I desire to be faithful to the magisterium. Wilt thou accept me?
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    ALTERNATIVELY - Here's another idea - although I doubt it's practical because there are not enough staff/volunteers.

    A law enforcement forum that I'm aware of has a process by which members "verify" that they are, in fact, police officers. They provide, to the admin, their real name, where they work, etc. The admin then calls and verifies with the person whose name was given as well as someone working in that agency that they are employed. There are sections of the forum that are "locked" and may only be viewed by "verified LEO's". This allows police to discuss tactics, sensitive information, and perhaps just air opinions that might be distasteful away from prying eyes.

    IF we had the people to administrate it - and I doubt we do - it might be great to have a "verified music director" section. I'm not kidding - somewhere password protected, where the admin's know exactly who we really are and it's been verified that you aren't Joe Parishioner or Fr. Prying Eyes, and where we can go to discuss realities and situations without the ever present reality currently present of "I'm not going to post specifics because the wrong people could see."

    Until that happens, I'm anonymous or I don't post at all.
    Thanked by 1Ig_Noto
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,404
    Sometimes pseudonyms are useful when people may not want to put there full name. There seem to be so many Charleses, Adams and Jeffreys - I shudder to think how many more of them are out there lurking in the shadows, waiting to pounce ...
    Thanked by 1Ig_Noto
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I am Ignoto Montoya, you killed my Communion Meditation, prepare to die!
    I'm sorry, mi amigo, I couldn't resist being silly, that's just me!
    Of course we wilt accept thee. You could in real life be Screwtape, but "we" are commanded to believe you "are" the Christ at our door. So, hopefully you will "know we are Christians by our love, by our love!" (Ouch.)
    I think your concern is nominal, or based upon nomenclature found in the documents and letters that comprise our "dictums." I think that we all go about helping or hurting each others' efforts to discern the intent of the specific contents of those documents by the extrapolation of meaning in our words of response, the stylized manner inwhich we construct our words and the manner in which our words are received and as to how others responded to them. Frankly, I think there's great wisdom in the perceived ambiguity present in documental items. We can't think of everything! "Oh Lord, to whom shall we go?"
    But my way works for me and a handful of others, but drives a lot of folks here nuts! (Is RC lurking about?) But eventually one's intent becomes clear, and most folks will then make their call whether we're a "good witch or a bad witch." The late George Carlin and Jonathan Winters had radically different approaches to making folks laugh. And they're beloved figures of happy memory. But then you'll come across a Ricky Gervais or the late Lenny Bruce, and tho' their intent is the same, to bring joy and laughter, their manner of doing that clouds that same intent. Don't worry, be happy.
    "Charlie"
    Thanked by 3Wendi Ig_Noto CHGiffen
  • Ig_Noto
    Posts: 5
    LOL! Thanks.
    --"No one of consequence"
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    It's a matter of etiquette, not rules. Melofluent is still here, chonak and I only have half of our names (or maybe it's Gavin Chonak, arguing with himself...), and others have plainly obvious aliases.

    If you don't want to follow the etiquette, obviously you won't get kicked off. I don't see the need to rail against it or demand verification systems or whatever other weird direction this thread will turn. It's etiquette. I loosely follow it here. On the other hand, I also don't tip at Starbucks. I don't follow etiquette there. Do it or don't.
    Thanked by 1Ig_Noto
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,107
    How about instead of making it mandatory to use real names, just make it mandatory to have some background information in your profile? That way people at least know where someone is coming from when they post.

    In a previous incarnation of the forum software, it was possible to put such information in ones profile, but that doesn't seem to be possible now. I wish we had such a profile feature available to us once more.

    ... it might be great to have a "verified music director" section ... somewhere password protected, where the admin's know exactly who we really are and it's been verified that you aren't Joe Parishioner or Fr. Prying Eyes, and where we can go to discuss realities and situations without the ever present reality currently present of "I'm not going to post specifics because the wrong people could see."

    Do we really need this? I hope not. If we are here to complain about personnel and personal issues, then we are probably here for the wrong reasons. I thought our purpose was issues, mainly musical issues, relating to sacred music. Sure, sensitive issues sometimes do arise, but if one is worried about repercussions for posting about these issues, one doesn't have to post. Moreover, there is always the possibility to communicate with someone else or even a group of members via private messages ... just send a message to several recipients to start such a discussion.

    I'm not currently a music director (nor do I expect to be anytime in the near future), but I am a Catholic composer, a retired academic and mathematician, a devotee of early music (especially choral music), an ex-music director, an administrator and president of a public service organization (CPDL), and, of course, an aging singer. You all know my name. If being a "verified music director" is a requirement for participation here, then I don't belong here.
  • Ig_Noto
    Posts: 5
    I think there are other music organizations that have something like what PaixGioiaAmor suggested. I think that could be useful for discussing issues and situations in a music director context, but I agree with CHGiffen--my impression is that this forum is much broader in scope and would be open to anyone who has a "special interest in music and liturgy." (Hence why I wanted to join, and that is the only forum in which I would want to be.) I think PaixGioiaAmor was actually suggesting a separate subset of this forum (not a replacement) for those who would be eligible. Good point about the private messages--thanks.