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First Names and Privacy, Doxxing, Etc.

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Depending on where you look, someone's first name is either considered "personal information" or it's considered that only when it can pretty uniquely identify the person, like saying "Randall, who lives in lower Upper Sandusky and owns the shop on 14th Street"…

Anyway, the gist of it is this. On another forum, I said basically "Randall, you and I draw the line at different points." (or some such), using the person's name just as I would in real life. The person's name isn't the same as his username, but those who know who he is know his real name. He's never gone too far out of his way to hide it. It's in public documents on the forum when he signs up for events, or to get packages shipped to him, etc.

I don't consider saying "Randall, blah blah blah" to be "doxxing" but that's what I was then tagged with, even though within about 90 seconds, I deleted the name at the request of the person named.

What gives here? Doxxing is not just saying "Randall…". That's your name. I didn't give his social security number. He can't be uniquely identified. His boss can't search the Internet for "Randall" and find out that he's posting about stuff on company time. His name isn't QX47Petar (or something else pretty unique).

Now, I'm not going to pretend I don't also think "anonymity" online is stupid. I think the Internet would be a better place if, when people are discussing things with one another, they put their name on their opinions. That they manned up and said "here is what I think" and effectively signed their card. (I'm generally against companies being creepy and collecting a bunch of unique data about you, selling it, whatever.) I think if you're going to put your name out there, others can use it to talk to you. It's civil, it's personable. If you're worried about your boss finding out that you're spending all day posting online instead of doing work, that's your problem.

Whatever. Venting over. I'm unconvinced that posting someone's first name is a sin.

P.S. Yeah, this is from 2013:

 

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Maybe Randall, er, the guy, is a little sensitive.  Perhaps he's been burned on the internet before.  Maybe you two were in such strong disagreement he didn't want you getting chummy with him.  There could be a lot of reasons.  Ask him, see if he will tell you.

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41 minutes ago, iacas said:

Depending on where you look, someone's first name is either considered "personal information" or it's considered that only when it can pretty uniquely identify the person, like saying "Randall, who lives in lower Upper Sandusky and owns the shop on 14th Street"…

Anyway, the gist of it is this. On another forum, I said basically "Randall, you and I draw the line at different points." (or some such), using the person's name just as I would in real life. The person's name isn't the same as his username, but those who know who he is know his real name. He's never gone too far out of his way to hide it. It's in public documents on the forum when he signs up for events, or to get packages shipped to him, etc.

I don't consider saying "Randall, blah blah blah" to be "doxxing" but that's what I was then tagged with, even though within about 90 seconds, I deleted the name at the request of the person named.

What gives here? Doxxing is not just saying "Randall…". That's your name. I didn't give his social security number. He can't be uniquely identified. His boss can't search the Internet for "Randall" and find out that he's posting about stuff on company time. His name isn't QX47Petar (or something else pretty unique).

Now, I'm not going to pretend I don't also think "anonymity" online is stupid. I think the Internet would be a better place if, when people are discussing things with one another, they put their name on their opinions. That they manned up and said "here is what I think" and effectively signed their card. (I'm generally against companies being creepy and collecting a bunch of unique data about you, selling it, whatever.) I think if you're going to put your name out there, others can use it to talk to you. It's civil, it's personable. If you're worried about your boss finding out that you're spending all day posting online instead of doing work, that's your problem.

Whatever. Venting over. I'm unconvinced that posting someone's first name is a sin.

P.S. Yeah, this is from 2013:

 

You didn’t cross any boundaries - he sounds like a guy who likes to hide behind his keyboard; those folks say whatever they want until you confront them personally...while you didn’t remotely get too personal by simply using his first name, he was prob threatened by it as that type typically gets defensive pretty darn quick. 

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I'm not afraid of using my name on the web...as you can tell.   My caveat,  I don't say anything on the web I wouldn't say to the person if they were sitting next to me.   I've typed many things and deleted them before posting.    Socrates: Is it true; is it kind, is it necessary?

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Hi Erik...Pete here.  Oops!

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Using someone’s first name and first name only on the internet isn’t doxxing.

I’m conflicted about internet anonymity. On the one hand it enables people to troll or otherwise behave in a destructive way that they might not in real life. On the other, it allows people to open up about personal issues that they might not be willing or able to do in real life and get support from others who are also more willing to share for the same reasons.

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I run a small forum mostly used by members of a fishing club but open to anyone. I require that all registrants use only their real name. No alias’. For one, I need to know who the paid members are and by posting with their real name, they are much less likely to be rude or cause trouble. 

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1 hour ago, Double Mocha Man said:

Maybe Randall, er, the guy, is a little sensitive.  Perhaps he's been burned on the internet before.  Maybe you two were in such strong disagreement he didn't want you getting chummy with him.  There could be a lot of reasons.  Ask him, see if he will tell you.

Yeah, in case it wasn't obvious, the guy's name wasn't "Randall." 😄

1 hour ago, dennyjones said:

I'm not afraid of using my name on the web...as you can tell.   My caveat,  I don't say anything on the web I wouldn't say to the person if they were sitting next to me.   I've typed many things and deleted them before posting.    Socrates: Is it true; is it kind, is it necessary?

That's a bit similar to how I feel. I would 

1 hour ago, Piz said:

Hi Erik...Pete here.  Oops!

Hi Pete!

10 minutes ago, billchao said:

I’m conflicted about internet anonymity. On the one hand it enables people to troll or otherwise behave in a destructive way that they might not in real life. On the other, it allows people to open up about personal issues that they might not be willing or able to do in real life and get support from others who are also more willing to share for the same reasons.

Yeah, and I appreciate that. But a lot of those forums that deal in those things protect anonymity somewhat. We're just talking about golf here. 🙂

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3 minutes ago, ScottF said:

I run a small forum mostly used by members of a fishing club but open to anyone. I require that all registrants use only their real name. No alias’. For one, I need to know who the paid members are and by posting with their real name, they are much less likely to be rude or cause trouble. 

First and last? Or, just first?

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I prefer first and last, but I allow first name and last initial. I need enough to identify the person.  I’m sure it cuts down on the number of registrations, but I don’t care. I really only want our members on the site. If it keeps out the trolls, so much the better 

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I see you're venting but I'm gonna "assume" that you also would like to hear opinions so here's mine:

It's your forum and your rules. You can call someone whatever you please and it's sort of like "excessive" golf fees - if someone doesn't like it there is nothing stopping them from moving on. Do I think it's "doxing"? No. It might be a breach of etiquette, though, given that you're privy to info that maybe hasn't been freely shared by the member - including a first name.

Given that, I would prefer to be known as "Zippo". My username pretty well describes my knowledge on a lot of subjects including golf. If I wanted to be called "Randall" I would log on as Randall, or some derivative if the moniker was already in use. When I participated in a couple of motorcycle forums I was Zippo. I called my motorcycle the "Zipsicle" (except for my Goldwing. That I called the "Bulgecycle").

I am not anonymous here. You know who I am. I gave you that info when I signed up but I did so with the expectation that it would not be shared, except by me. There are only a few forum members that I might ever meet and, if I did, they would certainly learn my name. But I would hope that they would still address me on this forum as "Zippo". Even my hats have "Zippo" on them.

Should I ever use abuse my privilege of "anonymity" I assume that you, or one of the mods, would rightfully limit my use of the forum until I corrected the offensive behavior. I don't expect it to ever come to that, though. I'm here for the fun and the learning - not to be abusing people.

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@Zippo, two quick notes:

  • I don't know who you are.
  • I am not an admin on the other forum. I said "Randall" the same way I might say "Hey, Matt" in someone named "Matt"'s Member Swing topic.

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Whenever I meet someone or an introduced to someone for the first time they shake their hand and give them my name. My real name. More often than not, both my first and last names.

Why would sharing my name on a forum be any different than sharing it verbally to someone I don’t now?

David

...and yep, I live in Florida!

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27 minutes ago, David in FL said:

Whenever I meet someone or an introduced to someone for the first time they shake their hand and give them my name. My real name. More often than not, both my first and last names.

Why would sharing my name on a forum be any different than sharing it verbally to someone I don’t now?

David

...and yep, I live in Florida!

When you meet someone for the first time, shake their hand and have a conversation, the scope of that conversation is pretty tightly bounded. The contents will be known to the two parties, maybe a few third parties, and perhaps a bystander or two.

When you engage in a conversation with that same person over the internet, the contents of your conversation are available to just about anyone with a computer and access to the internet.

Now on a golf forum, that's a fairly low risk proposition. Even if someone knows who I am, where I live and what I do for a living, they aren't going to find much on here that could get me into trouble. On a political message board, that's an entirely different story. 

I don't know the type of forum that Erik is referring to above, but I do think it is valid in some cases for people to want to remain completely anonymous online.

Edited by Big C

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There is no anonymous. Once they post or sign up or text it’s grabbed and stored should the need ever arise to use it against them. 

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6 hours ago, Zippo said:

I see you're venting but I'm gonna "assume" that you also would like to hear opinions so here's mine:

It's your forum and your rules. You can call someone whatever you please and it's sort of like "excessive" golf fees - if someone doesn't like it there is nothing stopping them from moving on. Do I think it's "doxing"? No. It might be a breach of etiquette, though, given that you're privy to info that maybe hasn't been freely shared by the member - including a first name.

Given that, I would prefer to be known as "Zippo". My username pretty well describes my knowledge on a lot of subjects including golf. If I wanted to be called "Randall" I would log on as Randall, or some derivative if the moniker was already in use. When I participated in a couple of motorcycle forums I was Zippo. I called my motorcycle the "Zipsicle" (except for my Goldwing. That I called the "Bulgecycle").

I am not anonymous here. You know who I am. I gave you that info when I signed up but I did so with the expectation that it would not be shared, except by me. There are only a few forum members that I might ever meet and, if I did, they would certainly learn my name. But I would hope that they would still address me on this forum as "Zippo". Even my hats have "Zippo" on them.

Should I ever use abuse my privilege of "anonymity" I assume that you, or one of the mods, would rightfully limit my use of the forum until I corrected the offensive behavior. I don't expect it to ever come to that, though. I'm here for the fun and the learning - not to be abusing people.

I think this is fine and Zippo is a cool nickname too, easy to remember and type. My first name is shown because I am a moderator and I’ve introduced myself on an older thread.

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6 hours ago, Big C said:

When you meet someone for the first time, shake their hand and have a conversation, the scope of that conversation is pretty tightly bounded. The contents will be known to the two parties, maybe a few third parties, and perhaps a bystander or two.

When you engage in a conversation with that same person over the internet, the contents of your conversation are available to just about anyone with a computer and access to the internet.

Now on a golf forum, that's a fairly low risk proposition. Even if someone knows who I am, where I live and what I do for a living, they aren't going to find much on here that could get me into trouble. On a political message board, that's an entirely different story. 

I don't know the type of forum that Erik is referring to above, but I do think it is valid in some cases for people to want to remain completely anonymous online.

The topic was golf. It wasn’t particularly personal and the first name is a common one.

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I post on a small number of message boards, and it is incredibly weak to ban someone (or otherwise penalize them) for using the first name of a poster; especially if that poster has made the information available in other places on that board. Once you post it, it is there forever.
And while I'm in agreement that message boards and social media would be a better place if people used their real names (yes, I get the irony) - but I also remember a board years ago, Bitter Rivals, which someone figured out a way to hack IP information or user registration and went about doxxing a large number of people. At the time I mainly just read the board and didn't post, but it was eye opening and scary to see how vindictive people could be and started contacting peoples employers, family and causing havoc in others lives. 

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