Revealing Usernames

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retiredjg
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Revealing Usernames

Post by retiredjg » Thu May 05, 2016 8:02 am

We continue to have new posters who are either using their real names or something so close to their own names that they are easily identifiable. It seems to have increased lately - to several each month.

That's fine for people who don't intend to share personal information, but I think many new posters have no idea how much of their personal information they may reveal over time while working on a portfolio.

I've contacted several by PM to suggest a change. I've also notified a moderator a few times to get a change made. I'm wondering if there should be some warning (or a better warning) in the registration procedure?

Edit August 2017. This thread bounces up from time to time and people are wandering off topic.

Please don't clutter this thread with comments about what your user name means or whatever. This thread is about a security problem - it's about people revealing too much information and how we can steer them away from doing that.

If you don't mind, I'd like to stay focused on that.
Last edited by retiredjg on Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Taylor Larimore
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Post by Taylor Larimore » Thu May 05, 2016 8:14 am

retiredjg:

When I began posting on the Morningstar forums in 1998, I remember making the decision "Should I use my real name or a secretive name?" Having been raised to always tell the truth -- and stand behind what I say -- I decided to use my real name.

Using my real name, Taylor Larimore, has never been a problem. To the contrary, it has allowed me to have personal communication and friendship with thousands of Boglehead friends.

Some risks are worth taking.

Best wishes.
Taylor
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle

retiredjg
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by retiredjg » Thu May 05, 2016 8:26 am

Agreed Taylor, but I don't think we are talking about the same thing. It makes perfect sense for you and many others to use your real names.

I'm not talking about people who are coming here for discussion. I'm talking about brand new people who are asking for portfolio help - and end up listing most everything they own down to the last penny. Sometimes, this ends up including sensitive or awkward family matters.

That information is just too available to anyone who does a google search on a person's name. It seems like a situation better avoided.

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InvestorNewb
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by InvestorNewb » Thu May 05, 2016 8:31 am

Maybe a warning on the registration page would be more practical? If someone really wants to use their real name, I don't see why they shouldn't be able to.
My Portfolio: VTI [US], VXUS [Int'l], VNQ [REIT], VCN [Canada] (largest to smallest)

Theseus
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by Theseus » Thu May 05, 2016 8:33 am

You have a good point. But I don't think you are allowed to change your user name as it appears. I just tried to see if that was possible, but the user name field is not editable. :x

retiredjg wrote:We continue to have new posters who are either using their real names or something so close to their own names that they are easily identifiable. It seems to have increased lately - to several each month.

That's fine for people who don't intend to share personal information, but I think many new posters have no idea how much of their personal information they may reveal over time while working on a portfolio.

I've contacted several by PM to suggest a change. I've also notified a moderator a few times to get a change made. I'm wondering if there should be some warning (or a better warning) in the registration procedure?

retiredjg
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by retiredjg » Thu May 05, 2016 8:34 am

InvestorNewb wrote:Maybe a warning on the registration page would be more practical? If someone really wants to use their real name, I don't see why they shouldn't be able to.

Yes, that is what I'm suggesting. I'm not suggesting that people should not be allowed to use whatever name they want. It just that some don't seem to give it enough thought.

retiredjg
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by retiredjg » Thu May 05, 2016 8:36 am

Thesues wrote:You have a good point. But I don't think you are allowed to change your user name as it appears. I just tried to see if that was possible, but the user name field is not editable. :x

I believe a moderator or admin person can assist anyone who wants to change a username.

ResearchMed
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by ResearchMed » Thu May 05, 2016 8:40 am

Thesues wrote:You have a good point. But I don't think you are allowed to change your user name as it appears. I just tried to see if that was possible, but the user name field is not editable. :x

retiredjg wrote:We continue to have new posters who are either using their real names or something so close to their own names that they are easily identifiable. It seems to have increased lately - to several each month.

That's fine for people who don't intend to share personal information, but I think many new posters have no idea how much of their personal information they may reveal over time while working on a portfolio.

I've contacted several by PM to suggest a change. I've also notified a moderator a few times to get a change made. I'm wondering if there should be some warning (or a better warning) in the registration procedure?


To change a user name, such as changing to something more anonymous, one needs to contact moderators/admins. They'll take care of it.

I think it does make sense for some sort of "notice" at registration.
There are a fair number of posters that begin with some sort of problem at work, for example, and they are probably not (yet) aware how searchable the internet can be.
At least they can then make a more informed decision about the user name.

RM
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stan1
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by stan1 » Thu May 05, 2016 8:43 am

Definitely a good idea to remain anonymous for most people and should be encouraged when any specific financial information is posted. Current and future employers, charitable organizations, school teachers, nosy neighbors, etc. can all do google searches in addition to bad guys who commit fraud. No reason to make yourself a public figure unless you want to be one because your name is associated with your business, blog, published work, or you want to be recognized as an expert. For others the risks aren't worth the benefit.

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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by Ron » Thu May 05, 2016 8:57 am

stan1 wrote:<snip...>For others the risks aren't worth the benefit.

Agreed.

If I'm willing to share financial/personal information on a public forum, I'm not willing to give a real name that can be linked to the information given. It's a bit like using a public internet to log onto your financial site (not a good idea).

If I had a commercial interest in having my name known, such as a published author or a firm that provides investment guidance, then that is a different circumstance.

FWIW,

- Ron

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jhfenton
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by jhfenton » Thu May 05, 2016 9:05 am

I essentially use my real name. I assume that I am completely identifiable and that everything I say can be traced back to me.

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greg24
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by greg24 » Thu May 05, 2016 9:34 am

The internet is full of danger. I don't use my real name if I don't have to.

protagonist
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by protagonist » Thu May 05, 2016 9:56 am

I got thrown off Facebook yesterday after using a pseudonym for 11 years. A funny one, too. Mark Zuckerberg wants to know my real name, my phone number, and he wants proof, eg. a copy of my driver's license or passport in order for me to access my account.

I have nothing to fear by complying, but there are lines I just don't cross with oraganizations that want my data for their own personal enrichment, to do with as they please. I need to get something more in return than Facebook is willing to offer.

Sorry, Mark. Your loss, not mine.

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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by Mingus » Thu May 05, 2016 10:16 am

Except for a very few specific reasons, it's really best to keep one's online identity as anonymous as possible

I can imagine user John Smith, or user Jane Doe commenting about something, or perhaps offering their personal opinion on a matter. Months later, years later even they interview for a position, and someone in a position of authority discovers John Smith wrote something they don't agree with and they are no longer in the running for the position.

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FreeAtLast
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by FreeAtLast » Thu May 05, 2016 10:49 am

protagonist wrote:I got thrown off Facebook yesterday after using a pseudonym for 11 years. A funny one, too. Mark Zuckerberg wants to know my real name, my phone number, and he wants proof, eg. a copy of my driver's license or passport in order for me to access my account.

I have nothing to fear by complying, but there are lines I just don't cross with oraganizations that want my data for their own personal enrichment, to do with as they please. I need to get something more in return than Facebook is willing to offer.

Sorry, Mark. Your loss, not mine.


And now when my friends and family ask me why I still haven't signed up with Facebook.....I have another good reason to explain my decision. Wow, these social media billionaires are exceeding the bounds of their previous arrogance levels, aren't they?
Illegitimi non carborundum.

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BarbaricYawp
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by BarbaricYawp » Thu May 05, 2016 10:57 am

FreeAtLast wrote:Wow, these social media billionaires are exceeding the bounds of their previous arrogance levels, aren't they?


Uh, how much are you paying to access Facebook? Nothing, right? This is an advertising-revenue model, not a subscriber-revenue model. In order to use the service, you give something up. It has nothing to do with Zuckerberg, it has to do with the advertisers who want more data to justify what they are spending on Facebook advertisements. Revenue from that allows FB to hire staff, power servers, develop new ways of enticing you and slap trolls/spammers/hackers when they show up. That's what businesses do in the new internet economy.

Having said that most of the folks I know who are involved with homeland security etc are banned from using Facebook because of the amount of information they track on an individual. Your real name and phone number are the least of the information you give up by using that 'free' service.
"The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity." --Dorothy Parker

furwut
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by furwut » Thu May 05, 2016 11:01 am

jhfenton wrote:I essentially use my real name. I assume that I am completely identifiable and that everything I say can be traced back to me.


This is largely true. Unless one goes to extraordinary lengths to prevent cookies and uses a VPN to mask they true IP address and so on the data aggregators are able to compose a very accurate portrait of every web user interests no matter what screen name they may use.

Still I would use a screen name and a different one for each website that I log onto. It prevents the casual user from seeing a name and wondering if that is the same J H Fenton I work with.

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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by jhfenton » Thu May 05, 2016 1:14 pm

furwut wrote:
jhfenton wrote:I essentially use my real name. I assume that I am completely identifiable and that everything I say can be traced back to me.


This is largely true. Unless one goes to extraordinary lengths to prevent cookies and uses a VPN to mask they true IP address and so on the data aggregators are able to compose a very accurate portrait of every web user interests no matter what screen name they may use.

Still I would use a screen name and a different one for each website that I log onto. It prevents the casual user from seeing a name and wondering if that is the same J H Fenton I work with.

If your J H Fenton runs and talks about investing and politics all of the time, then c'est moi!

I can see where you might want to ask a question on Bogleheads.org that is super sensitive (e.g. family or work-related), and in that case it makes sense to use a pseudonym. That hasn't been the case for me.

In my case, I've used jhfenton@xxxxx.xxx or jhfenton in many places for nearly 30 years (Fidonet in the mid-80's, college email in the late 80's). Currently that includes Facebook, Yahoo, Gmail, and Twitter. I've been on city council. I've been a political activist. If you search long enough you can find out that I won the 2012 Salmon Marathon and had kidney cancer two years ago. As a practical matter, I don't post anything on the Internet that I consider private. (Although if I did, I would use a VPN and a pristine virtual machine using a secure browser.)

I have two-factor authentication on any account that matters. If you want to hack my Spurstalk account and bad-mouth Tim Duncan, then I guess I'm at risk for that. :mrgreen:

tyc
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by tyc » Thu May 05, 2016 1:23 pm

I think username should be left to the user to decide, regardless of their reasoning.

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celia
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by celia » Thu May 05, 2016 1:31 pm

retiredjg wrote:I'm wondering if there should be some warning (or a better warning) in the registration procedure?

+1 I agree
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by harrychan » Thu May 05, 2016 1:33 pm

How do you know if it's their real name?
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.

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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by Ellie » Thu May 05, 2016 1:43 pm

Personally, I am a fan of informed consent; let each person decide what to do. If in this day and age someone doesn't know the risks of having a digital identity that ties back to his/her real life identity, that is not bogleheads' problem. IMO it would be more than sufficient to include a statement in the registration process stating that, to get the best advice, it might be necessary to relinquish personal details that will be then linked to the username. Doing nothing would be fine too :D

~ Ellie (not my real name)
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by Elsebet » Thu May 05, 2016 1:43 pm

harrychan wrote:How do you know if it's their real name?


It's on the internet, it must be true!

:wink:

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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by longinvest » Thu May 05, 2016 1:49 pm

I think that there is too much risk for an employee to disclose his identity when writing on public discussion boards; his employer might not like what was written and this could have a negative impact on one's career. Imagine someone disclosing his planned retirement date, for example.

On the other hand, I always assume that site owners/admins can pretty much identify who I am (from email address and various clues). That's fine, as they have to fight against spammers and trolls. I have no problem with them realizing that I am a real person.
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by PVW » Thu May 05, 2016 1:55 pm

I've tried to remain anonymous on this site because I reveal personal information that I wouldn't reveal to most people in person. I generally don't mind having my name linked to advice or non-personal discussions. Since the primary concern is keeping my personal information from being linked to me, I must remain anonymous.

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BL
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by BL » Thu May 05, 2016 2:01 pm

celia wrote:
retiredjg wrote:I'm wondering if there should be some warning (or a better warning) in the registration procedure?

+1 I agree

+2 I also agree. Both the user name and giving specific information can be a danger, so any short warning would be a service. I have cautioned people on identifiable information/name that could be found by searching. I do my best to stay anonymous on this site, although I am public on Facebook.

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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by nisiprius » Thu May 05, 2016 2:09 pm

I admire Mel and Taylor's forthright stance, but obviously I am not as forthright myself.

(I first begin posting on USENET during the 1990s, and used my real name. A favorite prank in those days was to add embarrassing newsgroups to the "reply-to" field so that if you replied to some trollish remark about SNOBOL being a sucky computer language, your retort would also be posted in alt.really.embarrassing. And then your Deja News profile would include that. And any potential employer who Googled my name would see that I'd made 2,048 posts to alt.snobol--and several to alt.really.embarrassing. I've been leery of using my real name since then).

I know that the admins hate to customize the site in any way that would need to be re-done on every phpBB update, but the registration terms-and-conditions text is obviously site-specific:

Image

I don't know if the "Username:" prompt is designed to be customized or if it's generated by phpBB:

Image

I think that one or the other should include a short reminder. Something like:
I understand that Bogleheads.org is a public website, and that my user name and any information I post is completely public and can be seen by anyone.
Last edited by nisiprius on Thu May 05, 2016 2:22 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by FreeAtLast » Thu May 05, 2016 2:15 pm

BarbaricYawp wrote:
FreeAtLast wrote:Wow, these social media billionaires are exceeding the bounds of their previous arrogance levels, aren't they?


Uh, how much are you paying to access Facebook? Nothing, right? This is an advertising-revenue model, not a subscriber-revenue model. In order to use the service, you give something up. It has nothing to do with Zuckerberg, it has to do with the advertisers who want more data to justify what they are spending on Facebook advertisements. Revenue from that allows FB to hire staff, power servers, develop new ways of enticing you and slap trolls/spammers/hackers when they show up. That's what businesses do in the new internet economy.

Having said that most of the folks I know who are involved with homeland security etc are banned from using Facebook because of the amount of information they track on an individual. Your real name and phone number are the least of the information you give up by using that 'free' service.


Mr. Zuckerberg is not an innocent here. His current net worth is estimated to be in the range of 35-50 billion dollars. My premise is that huge amount of money distorts his judgment about the value of other human beings' privacy. Why doesn't he set it up so that you would have a choice when joining Facebook: either advertiser-based or subscription-based? With the latter, all you would have to provide for membership would be a username and an email address.

I don't want to get too far off-topic. I agree with many of the other posters in this thread that your username on this forum should not suggest your real name. The exceptions, like Taylor, should be far and few between. Please cherish whatever privacy you have left in 2016.
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Ellie
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by Ellie » Thu May 05, 2016 2:20 pm

FreeAtLast wrote:Please cherish whatever privacy you have left in 2016.


I completely agree. But, my observation is that there is a significant generational shift going on around this sentiment. Increasingly, the younger generation has no expectation of or desire for privacy. Many put everything on the Internet, and we can't save everyone from themselves. If they want to make these disclosures, so be it.

~Ellie
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retiredjg
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by retiredjg » Thu May 05, 2016 2:24 pm

Nisi, I had not considered there might be some software limitations about this request.

What I had in mind was something like this.

    "If you are seeking financial advice, a significant amount of personal information may be requested. For this reason, consider an anonymous username instead of a username that relates to your actual identity."

Just something simple that will remind people to actually think about what they are doing.

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BarbaricYawp
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by BarbaricYawp » Thu May 05, 2016 2:28 pm

FreeAtLast wrote:
BarbaricYawp wrote:
FreeAtLast wrote:Wow, these social media billionaires are exceeding the bounds of their previous arrogance levels, aren't they?


Uh, how much are you paying to access Facebook? Nothing, right? This is an advertising-revenue model, not a subscriber-revenue model. In order to use the service, you give something up. It has nothing to do with Zuckerberg, it has to do with the advertisers who want more data to justify what they are spending on Facebook advertisements. Revenue from that allows FB to hire staff, power servers, develop new ways of enticing you and slap trolls/spammers/hackers when they show up. That's what businesses do in the new internet economy.

Having said that most of the folks I know who are involved with homeland security etc are banned from using Facebook because of the amount of information they track on an individual. Your real name and phone number are the least of the information you give up by using that 'free' service.


Mr. Zuckerberg is not an innocent here. His current net worth is estimated to be in the range of 35-50 billion dollars. My premise is that huge amount of money distorts his judgment about the value of other human beings' privacy. Why doesn't he set it up so that you would have a choice when joining Facebook: either advertiser-based or subscription-based? With the latter, all you would have to provide for membership would be a username and an email address.

I don't want to get too far off-topic. I agree with many of the other posters in this thread that your username on this forum should not suggest your real name. The exceptions, like Taylor, should be far and few between. Please cherish whatever privacy you have left in 2016.


If you are a subscription-based model you are collecting payment for accessing the tool. The way AOL used to be. So you would need to provide PayPal/credit card information etc. Personally I'd rather not do that. Zuckerberg has built a successful business (although the profitability remains in question) of harvesting data and reselling it. I have less of a beef with businesses since they are at least upfront about what they are doing and you have no obligation to use that given service. I have a HUGE issue with my state DMV selling my automobile and credit information to data aggregators since I have no option other than to register my car with the state. And pay for the privilege.

Anyway, we digress. My point here is that with or without your actual, real information attached to it you have no privacy when using services provided by Google, Facebook et al. It's hardly new technology to be able to track where you exit to after having been on a website, nor is it difficult to determine daily usage patterns, preferred web destinations, connections etc. So not using your own name only helps, as someone noted above, with screening your information from other human beings who might know you. It won't help hide you from anything else.
"The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity." --Dorothy Parker

protagonist
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by protagonist » Thu May 05, 2016 3:13 pm

FreeAtLast wrote:
protagonist wrote:I got thrown off Facebook yesterday after using a pseudonym for 11 years. A funny one, too. Mark Zuckerberg wants to know my real name, my phone number, and he wants proof, eg. a copy of my driver's license or passport in order for me to access my account.

I have nothing to fear by complying, but there are lines I just don't cross with oraganizations that want my data for their own personal enrichment, to do with as they please. I need to get something more in return than Facebook is willing to offer.

Sorry, Mark. Your loss, not mine.


And now when my friends and family ask me why I still haven't signed up with Facebook.....I have another good reason to explain my decision. Wow, these social media billionaires are exceeding the bounds of their previous arrogance levels, aren't they?


Actually I had a good 11 year run. I got a lot out of it. Windsurfing connections, music connections, connections with friends abroad, connections with my city councilmen to keep abreast of local politics.....not to mention the great cute animal videos and occasional riotous humor. Using all fake demographic info. didn't hurt me at all, since my friends all knew who I was. But now that I got caught red-handed I am unwilling to pay his price. (I have no idea how Zuckerberg figured out that I didn't really graduate from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry....he must have scoured their alumni records....)

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HomerJ
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by HomerJ » Thu May 05, 2016 3:44 pm

I had to change my username (the moderators/admins can do this for you) because my original username was my actual name, and one day I posted about my wife hating her job and her boss, and whether or not she should quit, and someone sent me a PM asking if my wife's name was "xxxx" and if she worked for "xxxx". He suggested I change my username.

He was correct on who my wife was, and so I changed my username.

I do feel more comfortable giving numbers now, because I don't have to worry about my brother-in-law or my coworkers seeing how much I make or how much I have saved.

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celia
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by celia » Thu May 05, 2016 3:52 pm

FreeAtLast wrote:I don't want to get too far off-topic. I agree with many of the other posters in this thread that your username on this forum should not suggest your real name. The exceptions, like Taylor, should be far and few between. Please cherish whatever privacy you have left in 2016.

It isn't just your own identity that could be at risk, but your family's too. If we will be talking about the quality of our local K-12 schools or the colleges our kids go to, the kinds of work a spouse does or what we spend on grandkids or our parents' nursing care, we could be exposing information about others without their knowledge.
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FelixTheCat
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by FelixTheCat » Thu May 05, 2016 4:01 pm

I use my cat's name. So far...no feline identity theft.
Felix is a wonderful, wonderful cat.

PNW1
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by PNW1 » Thu May 05, 2016 4:29 pm

nisiprius wrote:
...

(I first begin posting on USENET during the 1990s, and used my real name. A favorite prank in those days was to add embarrassing newsgroups to the "reply-to" field so that if you replied to some trollish remark about SNOBOL being a sucky computer language, your retort would also be posted in alt.really.embarrassing. And then your Deja News profile would include that. And any potential employer who Googled my name would see that I'd made 2,048 posts to alt.snobol--and several to alt.really.embarrassing. I've been leery of using my real name since then).

...



Wow, SNOBOL! Did you ever use SNOBOL for non-academic work? I learned about its grandkid UNICON while I was in university, and did use it once in industry. The coworker who I handed that work off to wasn't particularly amused...

PNW1

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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by bertilak » Fri May 06, 2016 7:32 am

Filing in a "name" can be ambiguous. Things should be made clear but often aren't.

Once, a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away, I joined a site with a forum (not this one). The registration asked for "name" and I gave my real name. I expected real name (private) and screen name (public) would be two different attributes but the sign-up process never asked for a screen name. I had to contact a site admin to get "name" changed.

P.S. At that site the admins always gave a humorous short description to each user. New users got an automated description from a canned list. The descriptions would change as the number of posts increased. One you established a "personality" the admins would come up with a personalized description, usually embarrassing. When I got my screen name changed I got a PM from the admin saying they were considering giving me a description of "Formerly known as Joe Blow" where Joe Blow was my real name!
Last edited by bertilak on Fri May 06, 2016 9:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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mikegerard
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by mikegerard » Fri May 06, 2016 9:00 am

Does it matter if random people know that I invest mostly in stock index funds and like to keep my fees low?

I personally don't like sharing on other social sites either (like facebook). Only go there once a month to see pictures of other people's kids. I post there maybe once a year. And I keep all the juicy details to myself.

likegarden
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by likegarden » Fri May 06, 2016 9:40 am

I had my (real) user's name changed to the present one years ago. One of the administrators did it without problem. I appreciate that.

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LadyGeek
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by LadyGeek » Fri May 06, 2016 10:44 am

No, we're not going to change the registration info to warn members about using their real name. First, it can't be verified (nor would we want to verify it). Second, no other forum has a similar warning.

If anyone needs a username changed, feel free to PM me (or another moderator). Changing your username will also change the username on all of the existing posts.
To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

KyleAAA
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by KyleAAA » Fri May 06, 2016 10:47 am

Some people just don't care if everybody knows their personal information. I don't really see a significant downside to somebody knowing my general portfolio allocation or net worth. I don't think a warning is necessary because everybody already knows what they post here is public. Besides, I've had my identity stolen before and it was really no big deal.

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Bob B
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by Bob B » Fri May 06, 2016 10:58 am

Best advice I ever received and continue to live by is..."Once you put it in writing, you have no expectation of privacy." This goes for the Internet and everything else.

I have noticed that most moderators on Bogleheads do not use their real name. What does that tell you?
Regards, | Bob |

PVW
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by PVW » Fri May 06, 2016 12:51 pm

LadyGeek wrote:Changing your username will also change the username on all of the existing posts.


But (I'm guessing) your original username will remain in quotes to replies of your existing posts.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri May 06, 2016 12:57 pm

While, in my case, Daft Investor is my real name how do you know these folks are using their real names? Many of them may be using a favorite name they like to go by here. I have been assuming when I see names from folks (other than Taylor, Mel, etc.) they aren't the person's real name.
I use some made up names on other sites that sound more real that Daft (Speaking of which - since I've been active here and reading lots I no longer feel "Daft" - maybe time for me to change my name....).

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TheTimeLord
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by TheTimeLord » Fri May 06, 2016 1:10 pm

Yes, yes I am The Doctor.
Run, You Clever Boy!

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Artsdoctor
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Re: Some risks are worth taking.

Post by Artsdoctor » Fri May 06, 2016 1:16 pm

Taylor Larimore wrote:retiredjg:

When I began posting on the Morningstar forums in 1998, I remember making the decision "Should I use my real name or a secretive name?" Having been raised to always tell the truth -- and stand behind what I say -- I decided to use my real name.

Using my real name, Taylor Larimore, has never been a problem. To the contrary, it has allowed me to have personal communication and friendship with thousands of Boglehead friends.

Some risks are worth taking.

Best wishes.
Taylor


Taylor, you are the epitome of discretion. To the best of my knowledge, you've never posted specific amounts or anything that would be harmful to you "if discovered." Some posters actually post income, portfolio worth, housing information, and location. For those that need to use information that is this specific, not divulging their identities would probably be prudent. This is unfortunate, but cybersecurity has turned out to be a much bigger fact of life than anyone could have imagined.

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LadyGeek
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by LadyGeek » Fri May 06, 2016 3:19 pm

PVW wrote:
LadyGeek wrote:Changing your username will also change the username on all of the existing posts.


But (I'm guessing) your original username will remain in quotes to replies of your existing posts.

Yes, it will. If a member is strongly concerned about privacy, he/she can request a moderator or site admin to modify the quoted replies.
To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

retiredjg
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by retiredjg » Fri May 06, 2016 4:14 pm

LadyGeek wrote:No, we're not going to change the registration info to warn members about using their real name. First, it can't be verified (nor would we want to verify it). Second, no other forum has a similar warning.

LG, your answer reflects that my suggestion may not have been clear. "Verification" has nothing to do with what I suggested.

As to your second reason, I don't see that what other forums do is relevant. What other forum does what we do or asks people to reveal so much?

Again, I'm only suggesting something like "If you are seeking financial advice, a significant amount of personal information may be requested. For this reason, consider an anonymous username instead of a username that relates to your actual identity."

Would that be terribly onerous to add to the registration page?

The reason for my request is that I've been messaging these people and they all pretty much come back with "Oh yeah, I guess it was dumb for me to do that. Thanks for pointing that out."

I'm surprised. I would have thought you would like this idea since you are probably the one that most people contact to fix their problem.

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LadyGeek
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by LadyGeek » Fri May 06, 2016 4:25 pm

I know members are reading this thread, as I've been contacted by a few already. :)

retiredjg - I see your point, but wouldn't your suggestion be better located in the forum policy, specifically in the Usernames (accounts) section?

Remember that the registration intro says:
You agree to abide by the rules of these forums set forth in the following “Rules” section: View the Rules of this Board
To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

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bertilak
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Re: Revealing Usernames

Post by bertilak » Fri May 06, 2016 4:28 pm

LadyGeek wrote:I know members are reading this thread, as I've been contacted by a few already. :)

retiredjg - I see your point, but wouldn't your suggestion be better located in the forum policy, specifically in the Usernames (accounts) section?

Remember that the registration intro says:
You agree to abide by the rules of these forums set forth in the following “Rules” section: View the Rules of this Board


Ah! The fine print! Always the first place I go.
Listen very carefully. I shall say this only once. (There! I've said it.)

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