Steven Lyle JordanI’ve decided to ditch the alias I’ve been using on Kinja pages (like IO9) and and start using my real name.

Fake names and aliases tend to inspire people to do and say things they wouldn’t do or say when people know who they are. People also don’t take you seriously when you hide behind an alias. This simple fact is the cause of most of the angst, trolling and attacks that take place on the web.

When the public first took to the web, the idea of using aliases was mostly fun… a way to adopt cool nicknames to show off your “inner you,” much like a CB radio “handle.”  Eventually, the idea of anonymity became so much of the culture of the web that using real names was almost considered low-class (unless, of course, you were famous and wanted everyone to know who you were).

In some cases, anonymity was a useful web tool, as it allowed people in oppressed locations to speak out without fear of reprisal—which usually meant imprisonment at least, and death at worst.  However, the vast majority of web users soon realized that anonymity allowed them to be juvenile assholes, saying things that any respectable individual would not say in public, just to be mean or spiteful. 

Today, most online discussion groups are very familiar with this “coward’s internet.”  The web’s built-in privacy tools unfortunately allow these cowards free reign on many sites, to the extent that these anonymous users can become purposeful nuisances, ruining the online experience for anyone else on a particular site or discussion group.

I’ve decided that this is something I will no longer tacitly accept by participation.  Any site that I sign on to speak will see my name, and anyone who reads my content will know who’s speaking.  If I’m going to speak, I want people to see my words and know I’m serious. I want people to know that I will not be a cowardly ass, nor pick on people just because I can.  This is my guarantee that, when online, I’m going to act like a civilized human being.  Even on Kinja.