There has always been ongoing discussion about whether or not real names should be used in online discussions. danah boyd and others, including the author of this article Judith Donath, have expressed the positive effects of using different identities in different spaces. Certainly there are cases where avatars, or pseudonyms, are abused and can bring out the worst in people. Then again, with the permanence of online discussion, should every place we ever participate online become a part of our online identity? Donath uses the example of personal health issues, and it is a good one. For those who insist on real names, she says, “Instead, we should focus on how to design for keeping online discourse civil and constructive. And this involves supporting the middle ground, pseudonymous identities, which can provide both accountability and privacy.”
via We Need Online Alter Egos Now More Than Ever | Opinion | WIRED.