Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Okay, This Whole Thing is Kind of Scary

Apparently lots of fans on livejournal are in an uproar because of something called "FanHistory", a wiki being made with apparently greed-related motives that, among other things, exposes the real names and identities of many prominent livejournal fans. (Some information here and a nice link list here.)

Okay, I'm not prevalent at all in livejournal fandom, in fact, I very rarely use my livejournal at all, and my real name and occupation is fairly common knowledge provided anyone has access to a search engine or newsarama and actually cares enough to look me up. So this isn't something that affects me at all.

Though amusingly I AM listed in FanHistory, solely for a wretched obscure Japanese series-based fanfic I wrote back in 2003. But I digress.

I'm still horrified by this. It's similar to what I feel when I see bloggers who use their real names express scorn toward bloggers/livejournalists that don't. I think whether someone uses their real name or a pen name ought to be their own personal choice and it does not invalidate any point that they make.

I mean heck, most of you (except for the bare handful who've met me in real life and seen my driver's license) have to take it on my word that I'm a 25 year old law student by the name of Melissa Krause. I could very well be a school teacher named Mark Matisse, for all the rest of you know. Even assuming there IS a 25 year old law student by my name in Michigan at my University, I may have found that out some other way.

I considered changing this blog over to my real name once I started at Blog@, since I'm really not bothering to hide it. But in the end, I chose to keep my penname out of tradition (I've used it in some form or another since age 14 or so), uniformity (blog, AIM, livejournal, et al. all use it), and the fact that quite a few of my real life friends actually think of me more by my screenname than my real name.

But that's my choice to make, you know? I CHOSE to keep my screenname but use my real name publically. It wasn't forced on me.

I don't understand all the business-idea aspects of this whole FanHistory thing. I have no idea how Ms. Hale intends to make money off of it. But I do understand that in the process, Ms. Hale is exposing certain livejournalists and making real life information available against those livejournalists' will.

That's terrible. It really is. You can find out a lot about a person just from their name and that can be troublesome or even dangerous. Consider the internet stalkers some people have reported! Or what about those awful stories about people who have had co-workers or supervisors stumble across their blogs and been FIRED. There are some very serious consequences being risked here!

But even without that, it's just basic disrespect! While it's true that anything posted publically is fair game for commentary and exposure elsewhere, I think posting someone's real name goes a bit beyond just linking someone's rant about Nightwing and mocking the shit out of it. (...not that I've done that...)

It's just...ultimately, I'm just really angry that someone would do this kind of thing. It's not a completely rational reaction, but I'm really appalled at this. People have the right to privacy and anonymity for their own reasons. This entire situation is abhorrent.


  • At July 24, 2008 8:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I don't quite get it listing people who wrote fan fiction only? People who are part of fandom in general?

  • At July 24, 2008 9:20 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Does it really matter? It could be the most annoying message board/forum commenters alive that are getting exposed like this and it would still be pretty damn horrifying.

    But as far as I know, it's primarily livejournal fandom and fic writers, there's a lot of overlap there.

  • At July 24, 2008 11:16 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Exposing people who don't necessarily want to be exposed is a cheesy move. Doing it for money is exploitive and cheesy.

    Why the heck doesn't she just post their Social Security numbers and addresses while she's at it.

  • At July 24, 2008 12:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh no, don't get me wrong...I thing it's wrong. I just just trying to figure the list out...see if I made the list or not. If it was just fan fics...I wouldn't have made the list...if it was general fandom...I might have.

    Either way, I do not approve.

  • At July 24, 2008 12:49 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Sorry, I can be twitchy sometimes.

    I THINK it's primarily fanfic writers (hence the ancient FF.Net reference for me) but with a lot of LJ type big name people too.

  • At July 25, 2008 9:51 PM, Blogger Ami Angelwings said…

    the idea of "outting" ppl's "real life" identities and their "real names" when they dun want it to be is rly troubling to me in general as a transperson and disrespectful imo :( ppl's identities should be respected, esp since apparently the person behind this is doing it for profit? >:\ and the information of knowing somebody's real identity and real name and all that can be used to hurt them so much :(


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