[Haskell-cafe] Hackage accounts and real names

David House dmhouse at gmail.com
Mon Apr 5 08:59:50 EDT 2010

On 5 April 2010 12:52, Ross Paterson <ross at soi.city.ac.uk> wrote:
> Basically http://meatballwiki.org/wiki/RealNameUserAdvantages, especially
> simplicity, trust and recognizability.

Allow me to respond to some of these points. I find none of them
particularly convincing, especially not when compared to the
disadvantage that it's holding back contributors to hackage.

> Simplicity. It's the simplest thing. You need a name, you use your name.

Disagreed. For those people who consistently use an online pseudonym,
the simplest thing is to continue that consistency, rather than
remember a list of exceptions who had a real names policy.

Moreover it makes things more difficult for everyone else. If someone
uses their pseudonym on IRC, on the wiki, on the mailing lists, on
their website and so on and so forth, that's how I know them. If I
want to find their hackage contributions, now I need to know their
real name. Where do I find this information, in general? (I presume
this addresses your "recognisability" point as well.)

> Trust. If a person doesn't use their RealName, there is a reason for it. There are many possible reasons, most of them mean problems. So the community will not trust people without RealName - except if there is a really credible explanation.

This is an incredible claim. The number of online communities that
mandate real names is tiny. This article seems to imply that the vast
majority of online communities would be rife with mistrust. This is
simply not how the internet works, or has ever worked.

The rest of that article is a list of barrel-scraping excuses, e.g.,
* "Authorship. Being recognized (and honored) as the author." (Why
doesn't that apply to a pseudonym?)
* "Reputation. Using a RealName is the most credible way to build a
combined online and RealLife identity." (Some people don't want this,
for whatever reasons.)
* ... and so on.

> I don't recall anyone else refusing to use their real name, though
> a number of people have not responded to enquiries I made of them.
> Of course some may have been put off by the User accounts page.

There was at least one other person in the conversation who mentioned
they'd be put off by this policy. A few others chimed in with general
support, if not a specific mention of boycott.

IMO this policy is hurting the community in much greater weight than
any purported advantages. I'd like to see the restriction lifted.


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