When I first joined this forum in 1997, I used to post under my real name but when I saw that 99% of everybody else was under a pseudonym, I had my handle changed to SamAdams76. Remember, back at the time, many enemies of the then-current administration (Clinton) were dying under mysterious circumstances. The Internet was still relatively small in scale compared to what it is today and you didn't have to be overly paranoid to be concerned that you would be in danger simply for posting negative stories about the Clintons out on the Internet.
However, I think that if all of us had to post under our real names and our identities were known, we'd be much more civil to each other. The anonymity gives most of us a false bravado and that is why we are so quick to attack each other - when for the most part, we are all on the same side. Not sure anonymous screen names is a good thing anymore. If it was mandated by FR, I would be happy to flip my screen name back to my real name.
I think the way for us to post with our real names is already coming. As Facebook and Google become the portals of choice for over 80 percent of us, they will become the logins for most commercial website discussion boards. Facebook already requires your real name and real photo and they are getting better at enforcing it. Both want confirmation of your account with them given by providing your cell phone number to them, as well.
90 percent of all Internet users spend most their time on a few dozen mega-websites these days. The Internet used to be way more open than that. The big sites are consolidating all the traffic and they’ve done a brilliant job corralling quite a few of us and that’s not good.
I think the solution is moderation, which we have here, but over-moderating could kill a website’s traffic.
I agree with you regarding having some kind of accountability. It would make everyone more civil.
Well, I meant as the big Portals like Google and Facebook corral more users and act as gatekeepers for the rest of the web, sites OTHER THAN SITES LIKE FR will switch to Google and Facebook logins for their discussion boards. The benefits to the average user are a seamless interface and the benefits to a commercial website may mean more traffic directed to them from these portals. The downsides are the obvious privacy concerns. Many websites are already doing this and eventually most of them will jump on this bandwagon. Google and Facebook will use the mountains of cash that they have to buy tech companies that faciliate their lock on traffic or add to the ‘seamless’ experience. I don’t care for that, though and I hope that it doesn’t kill sites like FR but I know things aren’t what they used to be because these Freepathons take longer. That reminds me, It’s probably time to donate again... I didn’t mean to ramble.