Resisting the pull of cynicism since 1969.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Pseudonymity is not the problem

It's been years since I posted to this blog, but this needs to be said, and it's going to take more than 140 characters to do so. There has been an epidemic lately of left-wing Albertans calling out their political opponents on social media not for their words or their actions, but for using a pseudonym. Friends, it is hurtful when you do this. Please stop.

There are dozens of legitimate reasons to have a pseudonym on social media. For every troll who uses one specifically to aid and abet trollish behaviour, there are many more pseudonymous users who are just women who want to talk with their friends about TV and movies without harrassment, schoolteachers who want to be able to swear occasionally online without horrifying their students' parents, or public servants who want to engage politically without jeopardizing their jobs. Or any other number of kinds of people using pseudonyms in perfectly legitimate, non-trollish ways.

Also, I can't help but notice that the "if you're not using your real name, it doesn't count" argument is coming exclusively from men. It's well known that women have to deal with many more trolls than their male counterparts, but women still seem to have a much better understanding that pseudonymity itself is not the issue. Well-intentioned left-wing men could stand to think a lot harder about this.

By all means, keep battling the trolls. But please stop tarring all pseudonymous social media users with the same brush in the process. You'll just end up hurting many of your own.

Idealistic Pragmatist (a fellow left-wing Albertan who has used this pseudonym for non-trollish purposes consistently on various social media platforms for well over a decade)