Handles or real names?

There has been some discussion recently (and probably for a very long time too) about the use of a handle or alias vs using your real name on forums, blogs, social networks, chat systems and so on…

Way back (20+ years ago) I used to go by a few handles online, but then I decided to start to use my real name – Or something close to it – I’m usually just Gordon, or Drogon (anagram, not that you wouldn’t have guessed!), or gordonDrogon or even my email address, so I’m now firmly in the real-name camp.

I don’t have issues with people using a handle or alias, but when interactive with people online, what I do like to see is a profile type page with hopefully their real name and (sometimes as important if giving advice for purchasing stuff) their location.

I think that putting your name to something gives it weight. It gives you more credibility than just being a somewhat anonymous entity.

I also have a terrible memory for faces, names, etc. )-: and it’s caused me great embarrassment in the past – and recently e.g. 2 nights ago at the Raspberry Pi Jamboree. (although a wee touch of alcohol never helps here either!)

During the Pi Jamboree I met many people – and saw their name tags, but no reference to their handles/aliases on the forums, IRC, etc. which was a great shame as there were one or 2 people I’d really have liked to talk more with, but not knowing who they really were was a real missed opportunity.

So a request: If we meet in real life, please let me know what your online handle or alias is! Write it onto your name badge if it’s at a conference, etc. Put up a profile page somewhere that give a bit more information about you and take more responsibility for what you post.

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