Usenet falsehoods (was Re: Bitching about the documentation...)

Aahz aahz at
Tue Dec 6 19:14:45 CET 2005

In article <11paan4og361529 at>,
Grant Edwards  <grante at> wrote:
>On 2005-12-06, Aahz <aahz at> wrote:
>> In article <11p9kl1cm57dr7b at>,
>> Grant Edwards  <grante at> wrote:
>>>Hmm, I though he explained it:
>>>  1) Not using your real name.
>>>  2) A yahoo, aol, or hotmail address.
>>>In the ancient and hallowed (by net standards) history of Usenet,
>>>both of these (particularly the first one) have been pretty good
>>>predictors of crankness.  The correlation isn't as high as it used
>>>to be, now that hiding behind silly nicknames has apparently become
>>>socially acceptable in other venues (web "forums" and "boards" and
>> I've been on the Net for more than fifteen years, and while this
>> canard about real names gets trotted out from time to time, it's
>> quite clear that many many people have been active on the Net *and*
>> taken seriously using names that aren't what you'd call a "real
>> name".  (People named "piglet", "tigger", and "pooh", just for
>> example, who were active long before I showed up.  Not to mention
>> "piranha".)
>I didn't said it was 100% reliable, but in most of the technical groups
>there sure seemed to be a good correlation beetween "screen names" and

My point is that I do not think the correlation has changed
significantly over the last fifteen years that I've been observing.
There is still a moderate correlation between screen names and trollish
behavior (just as there was historically); there is still a high enough
chance that people are using a screen name for reasons that have nothing
to do with trollishness that it should never be used as a primary reason
for selecting or rejecting posts from a person (just as it always was
historically).  For that matter, I have no evidence that your name is
Grant Edwards.  If I really cared, I could find people I know in
Minneapolis to look you up...

IOW, it just makes sense to me to skip the whole name issue and simply
respond to people's posts (for some strange reason, I have a vested
interest ;-).
Aahz (aahz at           <*>

"Don't listen to schmucks on USENET when making legal decisions.  Hire
yourself a competent schmuck."  --USENET schmuck (aka Robert Kern)

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