The Pseudonymous Poll Trailer

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

[NOTE: This is not the poll, it is preparation for the poll.]

Well, I have to say that I have learned a whole lot already in this project. In preparation for an upcoming poll on the use of names in posting, I’d asked for reasons why people post either pseudonymously or under their own name. I was very surprised at the number and the wide range of reasons people put forward.

In order to make sense of it all, I have divided them up into general categories. I think that what I’ll do with the poll is ask the questions about the categories. I’ll include the examples so that people can make informed choices. In general order of the number of responses, these are the answers to the first question:


The category that got the most answers was

The Issue is Privacy/Security From General Retaliation / Fraud / Spam

In this category I tried to distinguish the issue of the specific subject matter (climate change) from issues regarding privacy or retaliation in general. The comments were:

  • Stalking is always a concern to a female.
  • I was stalked by a spaced out woman. A narcissistic poisonous toad from high school.
  • I have been attacked for my views.
  • I am pleased to get some protection from the cloud of gnats hovering around the net.
  • I am the sole support of others.
  • I’m concerned about putting any personal information about myself on the web for any reason.
  • I believe in the right to privacy
  • A substantial reason in the UK is the current state of defamation law.
  • I post anonymously to avoid ad hominem and personal attacks from a co-worker, who is a rabid militant anti-religious, pro-CAGW atheist/zealot (not a nice guy). 
  • I cherish my privacy.
  • Having been personally harassed (phone calls, sugar in the gas tank, nails in the driveway), I’d rather avoid dealing with more crazies. 
  • Even if the risk is only slight, countless others are refusing to take the risk, so why should I?
  • I don’t know who might read the post and what they might do with it.
  • It would be easy to connect up my posts, email address and ultimately my credit cards. Spam and fraud would then follow.
  • I have someone constantly Googling my name.
  • Metaphorically speaking, I have relatives in the old country …
  • I am concerned about identity theft.

The Issue is Freedom to Express Myself

In this category were a variety of statements that the person found it easier to express their opinions when using a pseudonym.

  • I can say things that I would be embarrassed to say in person.
  • I feel able to express more confident views if those statements aren’t personally attributable to me.
  • It is like putting on a superman suit, you can say anything, be anything and fly anywhere. And if any-one with kryptonite strikes you down, what does it matter, tomorrow you will be Clark Kent.
  • I find it easier to express negative views when I post anonymously.
  • The anonymous nature of the blog site allows people to speak more freely. 
  • I have blown my credibility using my previous handle. It is time for a new public identity.
  • It allows me to “compartmentalize” my opinions on very different subjects.
  • Posting anonymously offers an opportunity for crowd-sourced criticism before having my name attached to a bad idea.
  • I have no strength of conviction or lack intestinal fortitude.
  • I enjoy “trolling”, stirring things up.
  • It’s a chance to let out my repressed wild and crazy inner personalities.
  • To express things I wouldn’t have courage to express otherwise, the same reason many students are hesitant to put their hand up in class.
  • I’m posting for relaxation – not “publication”.

The Issue is that the Web is a Permanent Record

In this category people pointed out a number of issues with the permanence of the electronic record. The comments were:

  • To be honest, I also say some pretty stupid things, occasionally, especially when imbibing the suds.
  • A future employer might have issues with some of the things I post.
  • Who wants to be responsible for my stupid ramblings when I am involved with Jack Daniels? Not me!
  • I want to maintain plausible deniability.
  • I don’t want people / future employers / opponents to be able to research my previous statements.
  • What you say on internet is searchable anywhere and forever.
  • It could interfere with getting a security clearance.
  • I don’t want current comments being dredged up in a possible future political campaign.
  • If a potential employer or anyone else for that matter searches for me, I want them to see my CV or work
  • I plan to run for president and want to be able to change my opinions as may be convenient.
  • I don’t wish for my thoughts and comments from years gone by to turn up whenever someone does a search on my name.

The Issue Is The Specific Subject Matter of Climate

These were people for whom the issue was that stating their views on climate would cause them problems.

  • It may cost me business/lose me funding.
  • I work with clients/customers or in a market where skeptical views are not welcome.
  • I don’t fancy being beaten to death with a lump of coal in the middle of the night.
  • I do a fair bit of sub-contract work for companies that have bought into the green dream, so I’m invoking my very own version of the … uh … precautionary principle 🙂
  • I wish to keep my views and general discussion on climate (and science more generally) distinct from my professional life which has an element of being public.
  • A rabid green has haunted me in other forums.
  • I have to make a living proffering engineering services to some of these “green” industries, so I can’t risk getting blackballed.
  • I’ve experienced prejudice in the workplace
  • I work with people who believe Albert Gore is a scientist.
  • If I posted under my own name, it would be tantamount to expressing my political views to all and sundry and in my industry that would convey a lack of professionalism.

The Issue is Judgement Of Ideas and not Personalities

These people felt that if they posted pseudonymously people would judge their ideas, and not judge them personally:

  • I want readers to judge my comments on their content, not their provenance.
  • I don’t wish to disclose my formal qualifications, or lack of them, or that I am in a different field.
  • My identity does not validate or invalidate the contents of my post. Too often credentials are used instead of a sound argument.
  • Using my real name is just asking for ad hominem attacks.
  • I don’t want to be associated with my job when posting on technical subjects.
  • I have worked for oil companies, mining companies or agribusiness and it would likely be held against me.
  • I am concerned that my age, gender, ethnicity, educational level, etc are factors that can affect the people who read a comment and many of them unfortunately then respond in a biased way.
  • It’s good that no-one on the internet knows if you’re a frog.

The Issue is Governmental/Organized Retaliation

For these people, the issue is organized retaliation or reprisal from the government or other major organization:

  • I post anonymously for the same reason I do not register a gun.
  • Trust no one.
  • Greenpeace said “We know who you are. We know where you live. We know where you work. And we be many, but you be few.”
  • I’m not even half as paranoid as I should be.
  • Didn’t Zorro and the Lone Ranger wear their masks because of things like this?

My Pseudonym Is A Significant “Nickname”

These people feel that the pseudonym under which they post has significance:

  • I use a moniker because it describes what I am and how I see the world in 3 words.
  • It’s traditional since the beginning of the web to have a handle.
  • People will recognise my handle and recognise what I stand for.
  • I think it is fun to call myself by my handle.
  • I enjoy putting forward an identity that says more about me than my name.

The Issue is Restrictions On My Freedom To Post

These are people who have external restrictions on what and where they can post:

  • In my country you could be targeted by the consensus people.
  • I am an executive in a company incorporated in the U.S. As such, I am legally responsible for anything I say in public, and anything I say is by definition, company policy.
  • It has been explicitly stated that unapproved public posting (on any website) would be a bad career move.
  • Many companies have policies against talking to the media without authorisation – usually for the obvious reason that the employer doesn’t want employees holding themselves out as representing the company if they’re not authorised to. 
  • I am under an implied contract to never make public pronouncement under my name that might in any way embarrass or disadvantage any segment of a multifaceted corporate endeavor.

There are Issues With My Real Name

These people pointed to various problems that can arise when they use their real name:

  • I have a common name and use a pseudonym so that I can search for my postings.
  • I’m not British / American, and for an English speaker my name is difficult to remember / sounds weird / carries a silly pun / leads to misunderstandings.
  • it would be entirely possible to get a stalker, and some poor innocent victim(s) could be hounded unfairly.
  • Google my name and you can find many people. I would not like to get any one of them in trouble.
  • My name is the same as a wanted criminal / bad person.


This is a catchall category.

  • I feel more comfortable posting anonymously, but I’m not sure why.

OK, so those are the categories for people who post pseudonymously, along with the examples. If there are problems or things mis-categorized or better categories, please let me know.

Next, here are the categories that came up in response to the second question, again in general order of number of responses:


It Is An Issue Of Honesty / Responsibility

The most common response said that when posting under their own names, the issue was one of personal honesty or responsibility. The comments were:

  • If I write something, I’ll stand for it, or I would not write it.
  • I feel that by posting under my own name I am showing I am willing to be open and honest about who I am, what I do and why I believe what I do.
  • If I can’t be willing to put my name to what I think, I won’t post it.
  • I can’t lie with a straight face.
  • I say what I mean and am terribly honest at it.
  • I’ve had my own name a long time and have grown attached to it.
  • I have to stand for what I believe as who I am, otherwise what I say is all posturing.
  • I consider my self responsible for my own opinions.
  • It’s a matter of clarity and honesty.

I’m Free To Disregard Opposition

These people recognized that the were operating in a hostile environment, and are free (for various reasons) to choose to ignore that:

  • I am retired, and don’t care if people read what I post.
  • I’m confident enough in who I am to not be concerned about what others think of my opinions.
  • I don’t fear professional retribution as most of my peers hold similar views to mine or are just plain disengaged from the topic of global warming.
  • I’m in the “I don’t care” crowd.
  • I am totally uninterested about what other people think of me.
  • Because I don’t follow th herd.
  • Since my work is not publicly funded or grant funded, I’m at liberty to say what I wish without concern of losing my job.
  • If they want to google my name, they should do it if they don’t have better things to do.
  • I don’t post anonymously because I have a martyr complex.

It Is An Ethical Question

For these people, it is a question of personal ethics:

  • A person of worth will stand up in their own name for what is right and against what is wrong.
  • If such things as climate change are important we should pony up and admit where we stand.
  • I dislike anonymity on principle
  • A screen name feels like hiding behind a false front.
  • I consider it a basic aspect of decency not to say or do anything to which you would not sign your name.
  • I grew up a cowboy, and criticizing someone from behind a mask of anonymity feels like shooting someone from ambush … and a cowboy can’t do that, it’s in the contract, ask Tom Mix.
  • I feel uneasy posting anonymously.
  • I have never not posted with my own and real name. Why would I do otherwise?
  • I prefer to say what I think and feel anyway without hiding under a cloak.

The Issue Is Standing Up To Intimidation/Fear

These people say that they post under their own name because they are standing up to intimidation:

  • I refuse to be intimidated by the dangers of the world.
  • It would be cowardly for me to hide behind an alias.
  • I would rather walk free in the sun, than skulk around, frightened of my own shadow, tugging my forelock at the Econazis.
  • I always sign my name. I believe that it is cowardly not to. I am a devout Catholic and a AGW sceptic.
  • If I have too little courage of my own convictions to sign my name to my opinions, why should anyone pay attention?
  • It’s a statement that I will not be intimidated.
  • I think it is cowardice to post anonymously.
  • Courage is what is needed right now, if you have something to say and if you can, then put your name to it.

It Acts As A Brake On Excessive Behavior

These people highlighted that they act less responsibly when they post pseudonymously.

  • I am much better mannered when I have to take responsibility for my words.
  • My claims tend to extravagance when I post anonymously.
  • Using my name forces me to keep my posts measured and decent.
  • I started posting under my real name after making an ass of myself anonymously in a blog comment section.

There Are Social Benefits from Knowing Each Other’s Names

The benefits to society were the main issue to these people

  • I believe it is simply good manners to identify yourself when talking to people.
  • I think that in the long view we as a society get along much better when we know each others names.
  • I use my real name after getting involved in a serious debate turned web based research project with several people who had to live down the consequences of being called killer wombat, Mr buggles and mudge!

I Have No Problem With A Permanent Record Of My Statements

These people are aware that the web record is permanent, but they are not deterred by that:

  • I feel free to change my opinion should I have reason to and will defend or dismiss my former opinions accordingly.
  • I have no concern about people reading my opinions a decade from now.
  • I want to be able to claim ownership of my ideas.

So that’s the categories for the poll as they stand now. A few general comments.

First, I was surprised by the wide variety of responses to both questions. I would not have thought that there were that many reasons. Even divided into categories there are still a lot, and very interesting reasons.

Next, I plan to add the following questions:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Country
  • Career (Industry/Education/Science/Health/Student/Retired … what other careers?)
  • General AGW position (skeptic/supporter/still considering)

What else would make the poll more interesting?

My thanks to everyone for their contributions to date, the poll goes forwards.


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April 25, 2011 11:42 pm

I share my real name with a climate scientist at the UEA – it could be embarrassing for one of us.

April 25, 2011 11:42 pm

Wonderful post and endeavor,
I did not participate in your poll, but would have to say, if I had, that there is no way I would comment in public on WUWT with my own name. I am located in a GHG emission concerned country and I work in the governmental apparatus to implement GHG emission reductions. Do you think I am crazy???!!!!

Andy G
April 25, 2011 11:56 pm

My real name is Andy (or Andrew) and my last name starts with G, but is a very uncommon name and I could easily be located if I used it, so I prefer not to at this stage.
As to the extended questions..
I am 55, male from NSW Australia
I have a BSc (maths major) 1978, was a high school maths teacher for 20 years. Have recently completed a BEng(Civil, Hon-1), a MEng, and currently working on a PhD in Engineering.
My position on AGW is that I very much doubt that a small increase in a plant required trace gas is likely to have anything more than a VERY minor effect on climate, ESPECIALLY compared to natural climate fluctuation. In fact, I suspect that the increase in CO2 will actually prove to be very beneficial for mankind, so long as we don’t wreck the economy chasing red herrings … such as high cost inefficient wind energy.

Jenn Oates
April 26, 2011 12:02 am

I post anonymously on several blogs, but figured that on a science site I ought to be as accountable as I expect the AGW folks to be. As Popeye says, I yam what I yam.

April 26, 2011 12:06 am

General AGW position (skeptic/supporter/still considering)
This one is very disappointing. They accuse us of being “deniers”, without of course saying what it is we are denying. Give us a chance to deny some things:
deny the climate is changing, or has ever changed, deny global warming, or deny catastrophic global warming, deny humans cause significant global warming, deny CO2 is the one and only cause of any global warming, deny the AGW team has any science/morals/ethics, deny the earth is flat, deny that global warming causes X, etc.
Same for skeptic. skeptical of AGW or skeptical of the IPCC and team’s science? skeptical and also a lukewarmer? skeptical that the problem is worse than the cure? skeptical that there is a failure of communication?
team supporter? how about believer?
A series of clear statements with agree/disagree responses would be far better than a classification based on vague, loaded terms.

California Bureaucrat
April 26, 2011 12:20 am

I work for a city in California where I am required to publicly toe the line as it relates to climate change issues and reducing CO2 emissions, even though I think it to be a fool’s errand. Posting with my real name would be detrimental to my career and my family’s finances.

April 26, 2011 12:26 am

Well, I am a “sceptic”, because that is what science is all about, i.e tyre kicking.
As for pseudonyms, you know where I live (NZ), you know my facebook profile, you know my email address (not hard, just Google me)
Make my day…

Scottish Sceptic
April 26, 2011 12:28 am

I used to post under my own name, then I got a blog and WordPress doesn’t understand that I want to post here under my real name and if you really were interested there’s details on the blog of who I am.

April 26, 2011 12:29 am

Hey Willis
I don’t know if you recall a few years ago you had brought this up then. At the time I located your e-mail and we ended up having a discussion over a little while, very good one, not about monikers, just general stuff.
Anyways, I think it is dangerous to put your name out, if your a general schmo, I would not classify you as a general schmo. You’ve got the beans to stand up to harsh criticism, not just the thick skin, but the intellectual chops too. Not all have those.
As an aside shortly after that time I did put out my real name on CA based on the bearded Australian wanting to know whos and whyfores on a paper he was disusing at the time. He wouldn’t send it to Steve or Andrew for nonnynonnybooboo reasons. He sent me the paper under the strict rules not to send it to Steve or Andrew. Of course I was more than willing to send a copy or paraphrase it or whatever. Andrew said to hold on…… anyway not important, that one got a way from me a bit.
Anyways. Just bringing it up, got no insight. I’ll say this. On the net I’m more known as SidViscous than my true name, so I don’t know that putting out my true name would make a difference. I have no academic credentials (though I did just watch the Feynman Messenger lectures and his Lecture series in New Zealand) and see no real benefit to anyone, not least of all myself, to putting my real name out.

April 26, 2011 12:30 am

Wait, it wasn’t Andrew. It was John over at CA I believe. Not important just making the clarification lest Andrew get sidetracked.
John Also one I believe who held his true identity close for specific reasons.

Scottish Sceptic
April 26, 2011 12:43 am

Andy G says: April 25, 2011 at 11:56 pm
My real name is Andy (or Andrew) and my last name starts with G, but is a very uncommon name and I could easily be located if I used it, so I prefer not to at this stage.
Come on, this discussion is out of date because I can’t see what the fuss is about, it’s traditional not to use your own name online and scepticism is now so acceptable that it is almost becoming fashionable!
Indeed, if the trend continues we’ll soon get inundated by the wantabe fashion trendies, …. then I’ll want to post annoymously (if at all) but … my real concern is not being labelled a sceptic, but that someone might think that because I hang around with so many right wing Republicans, that someone may mistake me for some kind of REPUBLICAN!!!!!!!
But seriously, my real name is Mike Haseler and there’s only a few dozen Haselers all of whom are related.

April 26, 2011 12:52 am

I have found – particularly among socialists, environmentalists, religionists, and other viciously fascistic sons of bitches – a robust tendency to engage in real, material personal attacks designed to damage people who dare to voice positions contrary to their predatory designs.
Bear in mind that none of these people have any respect for human rights of any kind. They are by definition violent aggressors bent upon policies destruction of social comity. I would sooner squat naked over a tank filled with piranha than allow these people to learn my Real Name.

John A
April 26, 2011 1:06 am

As someone who is currently unemployed in the UK, life’s hard enough as it is.

Alexander K
April 26, 2011 1:07 am

I am not a public sort of person and feel uncomfortable about being in the general public ‘s eye; some of the comments made to my online persona (for what I saw, and still see), as very ordinary and innocent questions made me very uneasy at that time and convinced my of the sanity of remaining relatively anonymous.
I have university qualifications, but don’t regard those as important as some of the most ignorant people I have met were keen to flash their various qualifications at me. Conversely, some of the most charming, humerous, intelligent and successful people I have met have no formal qualifications whatsoever!

April 26, 2011 1:10 am

I can make some predictions about age/gender
Mostly adult males
As for the realname people, it’s a bit hubris. There are not that many people that know who is who, assuming that your real name would add much is weird.
If you are someone very well know, maybe. But in general unique names don’t exist (except with fazed out moviestars children). so what’s the point.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 26, 2011 2:18 am

Alarmed => Dismissive
That’s a good list – I’ve looked to come up with some thing like that for some time.

April 26, 2011 1:22 am

Hello my cowboy friend. Sorry, I know we’re not really friends but it just sounded right in my head.
You asked what would make the poll more interesting and noted that you planned on adding “Country”. I think it would be interesting to get more specific geographic identification than country, perhaps asking what is the closest major city. It would be interesting to me to see how the answers to your poll correlate to where one lives. Is someone from Boston or Boise more likely to post with a pseudonym? Or perhaps it could instead be approached from a political angle, where instead of, or in addition to “Country” you could ask whether one lives in an area that is mostly liberal, conservative, green, socialist, mixed, etc.
Another thing that might be interesting would be to find out more about a respondent’s family situation (and perhaps economic situation). Like me, who is “the sole support of others,” concerns about supporting my family on all fronts are paramount, really the only thing that truly matters in my case (especially given that my second is on the way). Finding out more about someone’s station in life could be fruitful. Another possible question: What is your country’s form of government?
That’s about all I can muster at the moment, though there are others on the tip of my brain. If I can reel any more in I’ll pass them along if deemed worthy enough. Thank you for doing this. I look forward to participating and seeing the results, and of course, seeing your take on them.
Finally, I was glad to see you got a kick out of the sniper comment. Always good to get a rise out of the post host. Much appreciated. See you at high noon.

April 26, 2011 1:23 am

Interesting post, I missed the original post due to being ‘out of office’ at a rellies.
I post anonymously for two main reasons:
1- this (climate) is a highly polarising subject and there are people who will go past the bounds of what is reasonably acceptable to ‘harry’ someone they view as an opponent. I am in no way suggesting that anything serious would occur, I am by no means that important in this debate, but I have been ‘tracked’ across sites I frequent (where I use a different moniker- non climate related stuff).
Now for myself, I’m a (very) big boy and am more than capable of looking after myself and dealing with any harrassment- but I refuse to put my wife and child in a situation where they may have to deal with it.
Again, I DO NOT claim anything like that would happen, but when it comes to family, even the potential is enough for me to take a harmless, easy step of posting under this moniker.
2- it’s a career thing. I’m quite outspoken on this subject. My work depends on working with many varied and often government sponsored agencies- there is a chance that my opinion could not only hamper my career, but damage my companies work with these ‘clients’. As such anonymity seems sensible.
I don’t however use it to ‘hide’. When talking on climate I only ever use this moniker and will always do so, to maintain ‘traceability’ as it were.
As for the extra questions:
I’m 29, male and a research scientist in the biotech industry. I live in England.

April 26, 2011 1:29 am

I suppose I fall into the category of thinking it’s fun to play with names. My real name is Jeremy (prefer Jerry) Monk and I acquired the nickname on a college course when someone coined it by a combination of The Mad (don’t ever call me mad!) Monk of Russia and my somewhat disputatious nature. It amused me and it stuck.
Re: Tucci78 – I am still capable of retaliation if physically attacked, so although I am of a peaceable bent should anyone wish to get physical I am quite prepared to use the English Common Law on the right to self defence – and to argue about it!

April 26, 2011 1:33 am

Further to the above, I do not accept the concept of Human Rights as currently construed. You have such Rights (with regard to me) as I care to grant you at any time; outside that, you can observe the Wiccan Rede: “An it harm none, do as thou wilt” (no, I am not a pagan or subscriber to any other form of superstition).

V for Vicarious
April 26, 2011 1:44 am

Andy G says it for me. This is precisely my view from a similar understanding/education in science….

April 26, 2011 1:45 am

Willis Eschenbach
[snip . . you know the house rules . .kb] But do I acknowledge it?

April 26, 2011 1:46 am

Nope. I’m still not getting this, Willis.
Inasmuch as I can understand that wholly anonymous posts are a real pain in the arris and should never be acceptable, on this blog I accept that my name/pseudonym is going to be unique and will therefore identify posts only from me. This is because I trust the mods to cross-check if they see, or are alerted to, someone posting in my ‘name’ but not having the same email id to back it up.
To sum up, I hate truly anonymous tags but can accept unique identifiers, whatever form of letters they take. Anyway, as I understand it, ‘George Orwell’ was the pseudonym of Ian Blair. Hmmmm.

April 26, 2011 1:48 am

[snip . . . your manners and discourse are poor . . kb]

RR Kampen
April 26, 2011 1:51 am

Posting under my real name. Everywhere. I am actually looking out for Inquisitionists 🙂

V for Vicarious
April 26, 2011 1:52 am

And agreed with scottishsceptic, about being labelled with republicanism and right wing thinkery. plenty of us left leaning sceptics out there who stand against profiteering and corporationsim but don’t believe this is a factor in CO2 +AGW

April 26, 2011 1:54 am

It’s a comprehensive list of reasons you have assembled. My own case embodies more than one of them.
I used to comment on this blog under the pseudonym “Grumpy Old Man” (since taken up here by another), because at the time I was bound by my conditions of employment. Mu sceptical views on CAGW directly contradict the Corporate Social Responsibility goals of my former employer. Using a pseudonym made me uncomfortable, as the haven of anonymity is too often misused by malicious cowards, and I don’t wish that association.
I am no longer an employee of that organisation, and am now pleased with the freedom to post here under my own name.
Over on Delingpole’s Telegraph blog, I have long posted as herkinderkin. When my employment status changed, the identification I used had become so strong that I decided to continue it there. Some of my comments have elicited email responses. I sign that correspondence with my own name.

Andy G
April 26, 2011 1:57 am

I also post on several other forums on totally unrelated stuff. I use the same moniker on those sites, and I have phyically met several other participants of those sites.
Its the moniker I use on the web, sort of anonymous, unless you know me…then it isn’t. 😉
And Scottish Skeptic.. I was born in Scotland, hence the first name.

April 26, 2011 1:58 am

I am a wanted criminal. (My “Legal Fiction” did not complete the census forms in 2001 and 2011)

Peter Miller
April 26, 2011 2:13 am

Reading this made me think that for many commentators it must have been like living in Libya a few months ago and believing in democracy. You only dare state the truth/your beliefs among those you know who won’t betray you to the authorities, so you won’t lose your job or business.
I found this very sad – the AGW cult is a kind of thought police for all too many of us – intolerant of criticism, disrespectful of facts, fraudulent in its interpretations and rigid in its orthodoxy.
As for me, I am a geologist – to any alarmist reading this, that’s a real scientist, very different to being a ‘climate scientist’ – with my own company. I make it a habit to shred the opinions, by the use of facts, of the occasional alarmist I meet – I must be mixing in the wrong circles, as in recent months they seem to be becoming as rare as rocking horse poo.
In my world there is a growing awareness that the AGW cult and unscrupulous tax grabbing politicians have achieved a mutually beneficial relationship: You print and preach BS on climate change, saying that we need more taxes to fix something which doesn’t need fixing, and I will continue funding you at the grants trough.

April 26, 2011 2:33 am

I haven’t seen my reason posted so here goes.
Blogging seems to be an intermediate step in my thinking. I read or hear an argument on a topic, I may go to bed and awaken the next morning with a complete thought. My blogging is similar to thinking out loud, formulating, refining a thought. The process of writing is for me a process of thinking. Once written, I may or may not receive feedback. In any case, I take the idea to bed to mull over, or just drop it, and move on. Blogging anonymously means that I am accountable to myself, my harshest critic. Cognizant that I need to think with an eye to what others may think has always short circuited or circumscribed idea options for me.

April 26, 2011 2:33 am

Dear Willis
For what it’s worth , I use a psuedonymn for business reasons, I mainly post on alarmism and politics. In the uk alrmism hold sway.
Slightly off topic, but as an example there was a programme last night on the BBC about the carreer of George Martin, the record producer. The usual close ups views of the countryside with background music he had produced. On at least four occasions, half a dozen windmills on a wind farm were shown as part of the idyllic countryside scene?
Maybe one the reasons that people use psuedonymns is that they are able to. So a question maybe “would you post comments if you had to post with your real name”.
You are normally so thorough that you probably already have this covered so apologies in advance.

Reply to  Stacey
April 26, 2011 2:38 am

“would you post comments if you had to post with your real name”.
That’s a good question. I suspect the answer for many would be no.

April 26, 2011 2:36 am

I would recommend allowing two (or more?) choices. I’ve always posted as H.R. everywhere on the net so that is “me” to the net-world. I don’t expect I’d have any negative consequences posting under my real name in regards to CAGW but I have every reason to suspect I’d have problems related to another topic.
I would check check something under:
The Issue is Privacy/Security From General Retaliation
My Pseudonym Is A Significant “Nickname”
and neither of those are related to the climate topic.

April 26, 2011 2:42 am

Where do you consider people like me who use just their first name to fall in this? It’s not a pseudonym but still doesn’t really give up my identity.

April 26, 2011 2:44 am

If I might add my two penn’orth – and I have said this before – it’s sheer reticence that prompts me to limit my name. I don’t have any scientific qualifications to lend weight to my words, so they must stand or fall on their own; if I had I would want to put my name so you would know that I had some authority. I really am called Dave, my surname starts with F and Mr Watts and his team can easily figure out my surname and what I do for a living from my email address, so I’m not hiding from the people that run this blog. By just being DaveF people can figure out I’m just an ordinary bloke.

Jan v J
April 26, 2011 2:50 am

A gentle suggestion:
The first category could usefully be split into Privacy and <Fear of consequences (not related to views expressed). The second category suggested would include things like fraud, identity theft, stalkers (non-activist) &c.
Personally, I have a minor fear of the latter, but would major on the former.
FWIW, I might also re-arrange some of your categories. Fear of consequences (arising from views expressed) might include, as being of a similar nature, persecution/discrimination by governments and their agencies, employers, clients, activist organisations &c. (friends? family?)
I would keep Freedom of expression, but combine all Name issues.

April 26, 2011 3:00 am

How about the THOUSANDS who read all the posts and articles and never post a comment themselves? I am a retired airline pilot but consider myself a science student. I am using a pseudonym because an eminent scientist has an identical name. Age 66, Male, England, Very very Skeptic.

April 26, 2011 3:02 am

While I post under a pseudonym on some political sites, I decided that I’d post under my real name at WUWT. My web site contains material I’ve written which is very critical of CAGW and I decided that this is an issue where I have to take a stand. This is done with the full knowledge that my last name is unique and Googling it either gives references to things I’ve written or my late fathers publications.
Climategate was what made me decide to stop posting anonymously. There are advantages to posting under ones real name such as checking posts a lot more carefully and keeping things civil. Having been involved in numerous flamefests on usenet during the 1990’s, it is all too easy to lapse into this mode when posting under a pseudonym.
Being a physician, I have no concerns that my views will affect my career — especially practicing in an area with a perenial shortage of doctors. I can understand why some people will post under pseudonyms; if I was a grad student in climatology with skeptical views I would use a pseudonym. Now, virtually all employers will Google a potential employees name to see what comes up. Having posted some intemperate material in the past may make the difference between getting a job or not. Surprisingly, even now a majority of people seem to be unaware that whatever they post to the internet is there forever.
I have been advised to hold off on posting under my real name until I retire. Given that most doctors never retire it would mean either not having anything to say about the underlying statist agenda of CAGW, or posting my ideas too far in the future to make a difference.

April 26, 2011 3:07 am

from: Studentnigel. What about the (probably) THOUSANDS who read ever post but never post a comment themselves? I am a retired airline pilot and now consider myself a science student. Age 66, Male, England, Very very skeptic!

Andy G
April 26, 2011 3:09 am

@Anoneumouse says:
“I am a wanted criminal.”
Shouldn’t you be posting at some AGW site then ?? 😉

April 26, 2011 3:13 am

“There are a number of reasons why you should always blog anonymously and very few against it. There are some fanatics in the AGW debate whose activities go far beyond what would be termed acceptable behaviour both in the blogosphere or outside it. Indeed, if they were traced and they can be, they could end up in a court of law.”

April 26, 2011 3:27 am

My real name is Sue Denham

Andy G
April 26, 2011 3:37 am

@V for Vicarious
” who stand against profiteering and corporationsim but don’t believe this is a factor in CO2 +AGW”
but V…… profiteering is one of the big driving factors behind the mirage that is AGW.

Bernd Felsche
April 26, 2011 3:40 am

I post with my real name here and on other blogs; including those of the Alarmist Broadcasting Corporation (of Australia).
There are a few blogs where I post “anonymously”. Basically to keep the self-selected martyrs and clowns from playing silly games. Anybody with average intellect or better can work out who I am anyway.
Posting “anonymously” provides distancing of the person from the idea being posted. You know; like how science is supposed to operate. But that only works if you use a different tag every time you post — something frowned upon by some blog operators. It also means that you can’t construct a complex, coherent argument over time.
I’m widely recognized as a global warming infidel and heretic. People know where I stand; and that I’m prepared to argue rationally. So no harm in using my real name in blogs not frequented by mental toddlers.

Captain Jack Walker
April 26, 2011 3:43 am

I use a pseudonym because my real name is Hannibal Dahlmer-Manson. The few times I have posted under my real name I have received some very distasteful comments on sexual and other person appetites, unfairly I have thought.
The internet can be a very hateful place.

April 26, 2011 3:47 am

You are lacking one category, well two actually.
What if the person is famous, or infamous? For how would those people share their ideas and opinions without the person getting in the way of the communication if they couldn’t be anonymous.
And if the idea is to get a statistical overview doesn’t the methodologies dictate a clear cut context and not an overly generalized one with collection of general questions. After all you get the answers you ask for. :p

Alan the Brit
April 26, 2011 3:47 am

I used a nom de plume simply because at the time of my becoming aware of this site, I was high up in my local Institution’s committee, soon to be it’s regional Chairman in our Centenary year. I was aware of the official stance all professional institutions are taking on Climate Change, up to & including the ridiculous. My name is Alan, & I am British & English, & proud of it, although not of our guvment/political correct/ NGOs etc at times as I am sure many of you Colonials will be aware. My real name is Alan Hannaford, however I will continue under Alan the Brit as I do on other blogs.

Steve in SC
April 26, 2011 3:52 am

I have a name problem.
My name is Steve McEntyre
(note the spelling)
I got tired of defending myself on Climate Audit by people who were accusing me of spoofing the esteemed proprietor of said blog.
Those people did not attend lecture 4a in the continuing series on precision speaking.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Louis Hissink
April 26, 2011 3:52 am

This will raise your eyebrows a little – Catallaxy Files just posted this statement:
“Three comments appeared at the Cat today by a person other than the identified poster. I’m not opposed to individuals modifying their pseudonym although I’m not in favour of individuals posting under multiple identities. It is not acceptable to appropriate the identity of an existing catallaxian, especially their real identity. The comments have been deleted, as will any other comments from the same person using that false identity.”

April 26, 2011 4:11 am

You need more levels of categories for the answer. The first question (why do you use a pseudonim) needs three main categories with several sub-categories:
1.- FEAR:
1a) Fear of retaliation / fraud / spam of any kind.
1b) Not being allowed, by law or contract, to have or to show certain ideas about a given topic (or about any topic) too sensible in one’s circumstances.
1c) Fear of other people getting the wrong idea about oneself, not being able to control what they will find and whether they will access only incomplete, badly worded, obsolete or just wrong information (permanent record).
2a) Feeling more free to express oneself, because of being too shy to show any strong beliefs in real life, but believing that some things have to be said.
2b) Allows to write in a more relaxed way, by not needing to be as accurate / good mannered / politically correct as one would need to be in real life.
2c) Keeps the other people’s attention focused on the written idea, not being interested in anything but discussing the ideas themselves.
2d) Inconvenient real name (too laughable, too long, difficult for others to write it properly, etc)
3.- ACTUALLY BENEFITTING from the chosen nickname:
3a) Having used it for so long that the nickname has its own life now and tells many things about one’s own ideas, and wanting those things to be searchable by anyone interested in knowing more about the person that uses that nickname, i.e. wanting people to be able to associate one’s current postings to one’s previous postings anywhere anytime.
3b) The nickname expressing something about one’s role in the discussion / in life and wanting the reader to get that idea first of all (i.e. Avenger, WorriedMum, NumberOneSkeptic…)
3c) The nickname being far more uncommon than the real name, therefore allowing oneself (or others) to search for one’s postings more easily.
My 2 cents.

April 26, 2011 4:12 am

Nice list, now to “compress” it to something manageable for a poll setup.
To add to my reason for using 2Hotel9 as my online identifier. It was a radio call sign I used in US Army. Originally a one time use call sign, I kept using it, as the unit I was in did a lot of support services for the Basic Training and other schools on the post we were on, and it just kinda stuck with me. After leaving service I used it on CB and work radios and hunting. I resisted the Computer Age until 2001(sorry, I refused to use the unfriendly crap that was available in the 1980s and ’90s) and when I did jump in I was already aware of the identity theft and privacy problems attendant with the interwebs. So, here I is. And within 30 days of coming online and using my call sign I was contacted by several people wanting to know if it was, in fact, me. And that is my tale of woe, or whatnot.

Atomic Hairdryer
April 26, 2011 4:14 am

Another one. Systems requiring a unique username when many people have non-unique names. Some prompt with suggestions like jdoe9976, some don’t so users a left trying to guess a unique and memorable combination of their real name. Or create a pseudonym that’s personal, memorable and hopefully isn’t already registered.

April 26, 2011 4:15 am

Oh and another reason for using a PSEUDONYM is to make it difficult for the UK Stasi.
The National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit (NETCU) is a British police organization funded by, and reporting to, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) that coordinates police action against groups in the United Kingdom it describes as extremist. Because the ACPO is not a public body but rather a private limited company, NETCU is exempt from freedom of information laws and other kinds of public accountability, even though they are funded by the Home Office and deploy police officers from regional forces.

Keith G
April 26, 2011 4:15 am

You might want to ask if the individual “always” posts either pseudononymously or eponymously. They may have different a different modus operandi depending on where/what they are posting.
You could also ask if they are a convert from one method to another.
Make sure to leave a space for people to write narrative. It may be tedious, but I imagine you are looking for a broad understanding rather than a simple set of statistics.

Scottish Sceptic
April 26, 2011 4:16 am

Willis Eschenbach says: April 26, 2011 at 1:31 am
Scottish Sceptic says:
April 26, 2011 at 12:43 am
Come on, this discussion is out of date because I can’t see what the fuss is about …
Well, perhaps so, but if you think that … why post on this thread?
Me, I don’t see what all the fuss is about in threads where people get passionate discussing the proper way to do cross-stitching on pillowcases … which is why I don’t post on those threads.
And particularly, I don’t post to say “Your cross-stitching discussion is out of date because I can’t see what the fuss is about …”
I’m sure you can draw the appropriate conclusion regarding your own behavior.

Willis, that’s an interesting reply. Perhaps you misunderstood me? Or perhaps I didn’t make it clear enough.
Your whole premise is that people would be afraid to post under their real name, that premise is based on some absurd notion that being a sceptic is socially unacceptable – it’s no more socially unacceptable than being a republican, conservative or English. In Scotland and I presume the rest of the UK, being a British Sceptic is quite a respected point of view. This may just be a British thing and I’m sorry if you don’t live in an open society which respects people of alternative views and if so apologies for not understanding your problems, but in our society we value those with differing opinions because all opinions add to the spice of life (including alarmists).
So your whole premise seems from a UK perspective, absurdly paranoid. There are many reasons why people prefer not to use their real name, and to suggest the main reason … no to presume the main reason is fear really is an odd position to take.

Kelvin Vaughan
April 26, 2011 4:18 am

I use my real name because I cant afford a headstone for my grave so I will be remembered for my comments all over the WEB instead.

Shub Niggurath
April 26, 2011 4:34 am

The catalogue of reasons for why people post anonymously, and why they do not, are facile and perhaps even contradictory. If all the reasons given in the first set about professional reputation being affected are true, for example, then the reasons given by people who post under their real name for doing so, do not apply to those who have given them!
Secondly, it is clear to me that the list of reasons for anonymity sounds frivolous. If you ask a swat cop, “why do you wear an armored vest?” and he replies: “So that I can only be shot in the head”, that is a joke, but the underlying answer is serious. If you then turn around and make your list so,
Q: Why you wear an armored vest?
List of answers:
1) So that I can be shot only in the head.
you are probably missing the point.
Case in point: Look at your ‘list for reasons why I use my real name’. Is there a single silly-sounding entry in the entire list? No. Why is that? The list of ‘reasons’ for people using pseudonyms, on the other hand, looks to the contrary.

Paul Deacon
April 26, 2011 4:43 am

Willis – your classification is as good as any for the purpose. Go ahead and all the best.

Scottish Sceptic
April 26, 2011 4:46 am

DaveF says: April 26, 2011 at 2:44 am
If I might add my two penn’orth – I don’t have any scientific qualifications to lend weight to my words, so they must stand or fall on their own;
That Dave, is what I love about anonymous discussions – and why many of the establishment elite and climate alarmists hate them.
In an anonymous discussion you don’t know who you are talking to, so you can only judge what they say and their position, experience, following, money etc. etc. has no bearing unless they can express convincing arguments.
For all you may know (unless you check my link), I could be George Bush, the Head of “Dirty Oil”, Prince Charles or just some no one. It doesn’t matter, you have to read what I say and judge me on my words alone.
As soon as you start putting real names into the conversation and you know you are talking to people with experience/reputation, people inevitably start deferring to the “better” judgement of these other people, they don’t judge them by their words, but only who they are.
I don’t want to be constantly trying to work out who I’m talking to, I want to listen to what they are saying not who is saying it and so judge them whether their arguments are interesting and make sense. If everyone posted using their real names, not only would lots of people be put off because they aren’t “experts”, but any experts who really want to test their words make sense will be put off for fear of saying something stupid.
Personally, I think the best forums are the ones where people are constantly getting banned and have to change their names. That way, you can’t even judge comments based no what the same person said before!

April 26, 2011 4:54 am

galileonardo says: April 26, 2011 at 1:22 am
Good points and agree may be of interest to Willis and yourself.
I wondered on the sniper also, reading the previous post but thought the comment may not be appreciated. [Farms, foxes, lambs.] So you made the observation. I laughed and laughed.
And then I forgot to respond.
Tucci78 says: April 26, 2011 at 12:52 am
‘… They are by definition violent aggressors bent upon policies destruction of social comity. I would sooner squat naked over a tank filled with piranha than allow these people to learn my Real Name.’
Yikes. That is too horrible a thought. I checked out your wish. However I would suggest that you squat over a well fed school and recently cleaned tank housing piranhas, if you have a choice.

Geoff Sherrington
April 26, 2011 4:58 am

To add another dimension re probability, I will here make the claim that the contributors who are most read and most credible are those who use real names.
I do not think that scientists use pseudonyms or false contacts when submitting scientific papers. Where’s the difference?
If you read a neat blog under the correct name, it’s a reflex action to go to the literature for more enjoyment. And vice versa. It’s a good way to learn. Why, you can even send an email to a real person if you wish to learn more.

April 26, 2011 4:59 am

My real name is kim. The pseudonym under which I pretend to have a real life is…..oops, snipped by kim.

April 26, 2011 5:00 am

Every name is a PSEUDONYM and every PSEUDONYM is a name. Hummmm……

Scottish Sceptic
April 26, 2011 5:04 am

Andy G says: April 26, 2011 at 1:57 am
“And Scottish Skeptic.. I was born in Scotland, hence the first name.”
Between you and me I was born in Australia of English parents and went to School in England — also I’m interested in History particularly around the time of the invasion of the Scots (who aren’t “Scottish” as they are from Ireland) — so the name is not exactly what it appears and expresses many things: my current identity as a Scot, my real identity as English and Australian and my scepticism both of global warming and “Scottishness” (which without writing an essay is also a critique of identity of Scots as “Celts”).
… Oh, and its also a dig at the Americans for the way they bastardised the English language! (wink)

April 26, 2011 5:06 am

I’ve always used my real name even when public inter computer communications were not just the domain of the world wide web.
I found though that my name was often already taken when I decided to break away from the privately owned networks and started using the internet.
My moniker is just my name and initial without spaces. I’ve never cared about what people think of me and never will.

April 26, 2011 5:13 am

Although I no longer work for the government (because I was naïve and somewhat foolish and used my real name to fight wind farms in my area, while working on a bioenergy project) I still would prefer to remain anonymous because of my family.

April 26, 2011 5:14 am

G April 26, 2011 at 1:57 am:
I also post on several other forums on totally unrelated stuff. I use the same moniker on those sites, and I have phyically met several other participants of those sites.
Its the moniker I use on the web, sort of anonymous, unless you know me…then it isn’t. ;-)”

Andy, I also use the same ‘moniker’ for all my internet postings. So for those who follow blogs they will see a consistency of opinion from ‘me’. As it happens, I may be mistaken, but I have seen your contributions many times on the Daily Telegraph blogs where I have also seen an ‘AndyG’ moniker: not sure if that one is you though…

Mervyn Sullivan
April 26, 2011 5:15 am

Interesting! But I say this to all those on the internet who post anonymously. Have some courage… be brave… take the plunge… lose your inhibitions… cleanse yourself of gutlessness… experience the feeling of liberation… use your real name. It’s empowering!

April 26, 2011 5:15 am

I stick to Polistra for two of the commonly given reasons: (1) I’m semi-retired but I sometimes do orogramming work for academics. (2) I’ve been blogging and commenting under the name for 6 years and it pretty much feels like my name now.

April 26, 2011 5:16 am

Erratum: Programming, not orogramming. (I’m not a mountain-mapper!)

Midwest Mark
April 26, 2011 5:27 am

I post annonymously for the same reason I vote behind a curtain. While I tend to give my quiet respect to those with differing viewpoints, there seem to be many who do not. Specifically, I have a number of friends and acquaintances who are very vocal–almost militant–with their left-leaning thoughts and opinions.

April 26, 2011 5:29 am

It strikes me that this is a kind of appreciative inquiry that could be of use in other contexts where there is a wide variety of opinions

May I suggest a poll that asks the question:
Q. Why are you sceptical of man-made global warming as described by the IPCC?

Ian H
April 26, 2011 5:36 am

My name really is Ian. My surname really does start with H. And Anthony has my real email address. I’m not hiding who I am. Anyone with good reason to find out could do so. Some people who know me might guess. But I prefer not to proclaim my identity.
Apart from anything else, I prefer to be judged on what I say. Who I am is or should be irrelevant. Given that the specifics of my identity are irrelevant I prefer not to provide more detailed identification.

April 26, 2011 5:40 am

Truth always underlies great humour, Willis. Cross-stitching – that’s hilarious.
On the darker side of pseodonyms, I see on Twitter a piece of scum tweeting as JamesDellnpole. He even uses Delingpole’s avatar photograph. It would be hard to think of a more execrable anonymity than one used to impersonate a real person.

Scottish Sceptic
April 26, 2011 5:42 am

Geoff Sherrington says: April 26, 2011 at 4:58 am
“I do not think that scientists use pseudonyms or false contacts when submitting scientific papers. Where’s the difference?”
Geoff, all forums for debate (including scientific journals) have their rules both expressed and implied. Scientific papers are based on the presumption that the views have been carefully considered and should be read with reference to previous work. As such, this kind of forum is hostile to those who do not have a standing in science (or can’t get their paper’s published in “peer reviewed” journals).
In contrast, the internet is a far more egalitarian place requiring less careful drafting of your posts and where many forums are based on the presumption that people are judged on what they say not who they are, nor is anyone expected to have read all their proceeding posts in order to comment on the last. (Much to annoyance of those “in charge”)
The result (where posts are anonymous) is that a newcomer to a forum can post pretty much on a par with someone who has been in the forum for a while. That is why many internet forums have been so successful – they don’t discriminate against the newbies only against those who either can’t, or won’t, make a good argument.
Now, it may be a better question to ask why people are allowed to use their own names, particularly when they are well known in this forum? E.g. should the comments of Willis be more important and more carefully read than the latest newcomer if e.g. Willis is talking rubbish and the newcomer is speaking sense?
By having anonymous posts for everyone, you prevent the “argument from authority” (which is the usual method of Climate Alarmists), and you force people to argue on the facts. That may be unwelcome if someone finds that they are constantly repeating the same facts and arguments again and again to each new comer, but the benefit is that newcomers are not put off replying to comments because they are “too low in the pecking order” of the forum to feel able to comment.
Mike Haseler

Pamela Gray
April 26, 2011 5:51 am

You may have to add another poll on why one would or would not answer the following questions:

erik sloneker
April 26, 2011 5:51 am

Contributors to this blog have the courage and conviction to divulge their real names. My posting under my real name is a hat tip intended to be acknowledge your courage and send the message that you are not alone.

April 26, 2011 5:59 am

I use a pseudonym because I work in the environmental field, and also teach in higher education. I know that I have lost work because I have not been a whole-hearted flag waver for AGW and fear I would be unemployable if I “came out” as a skeptic.

Andy G
April 26, 2011 6:06 am

@Scottish Sceptic
My parents are actually also English, but we moved over here (Australia) when I was 5, so I count myself as an Aussie.
Oh and your right about how them Americans shure do butcher the English language 😉

April 26, 2011 6:17 am

I post on multiple fora which cover multiple subjects, often having to do with politics, and always use the same username. When I meet people on these fora with whom I can establish a position of trust, I share privately with them, my given name. I acquired my username very early in my career by a collective admin pool, all women, who had a tough time understanding just what it is that I do for a living.
I am a forest geneticist, 55, living in Oregon.
Because Oregon is a bluer-than-blue state controlled by progressive democrats that mainline the anthropogenic CO2 as driver of global warming KoolAid, and I work for a public agency, I must be discrete in how I identify myself in public fora. That said, I am finding there are many skeptics in my agency. I do take the time to share information from time to time, pointing to the weakness of the AGW argument, with both true believers and skeptics.

V for Vicarious
April 26, 2011 6:25 am

@ Andy G – agreed indeed, I speak from the sense that ‘original sceptism’ is somehow ‘Shill’ originated. However, here and now, I agree we’ve seen this rather insidious embracement of ‘left’ into any ecomentalist ideology/technology. Perhaps akin to an orwellian (farm) anology in which the righteous misanthropic left are keen to find a new science to lean on where they can be seen to be ‘saving the world’ (AGW). Profiteering with a green rinse. Like the windmill, the air turbines muct be erected at any cost…!

April 26, 2011 6:27 am

I still believe I was forced out of my last teaching job due to bias against my AGW and conservative viewpoints.

April 26, 2011 6:27 am

Some random anonymous thoughts:
Why do most newspaper, magazine and other blogs ask you to provide a username? Having a username appears to be standard practice.
# # #
Scottish Sceptic says:
“I used to post under my own name, then I got a blog and WordPress doesn’t understand that I want to post here under my real name…”
When I try to post using my real name on other sites hosted by WordPress, I get an error message saying, “You do not own that identity.” Huh? WUWT?
# # #
Rules against pseudonyms would mean the demise of the WWF. Professional wrestling would never be the same without wrestlers named Gorgeous George, etc.
# # #
I make no apologies because I’m doing nothing wrong. It’s not an indictment using a screen name. I give my ID to those I choose. Anthony and I have met several times. He has my name, address, email address and phone number. The general public does not. Why should they? I am a commentator under one name, so both of my regular readers know me as well as if I commented under my birther name.
# # #
No doubt the summarily fired Oregon State Climatologist wishes he had used a screen name when expressing his educated opinion about natural climate variability.

April 26, 2011 6:28 am

Level of education tends to be sociologically significant. Different countries have somewhat different systems, but you can try the double-barreled approach: ask for highest degree earned (< high school, high school / technical school, associate, BA/BS, MA/MS, Ph.D., Post Doc which should be a multiple choice, not open-ended question) and number of years completed.
I would also be interested in multiple choice questions about religious affiliation and general political orientation. The first 'cause I've always had an interest in what correlates with religious affiliation (I believe my MA thesis in 1973 was the first time ever anyone reported that Catholics had achieved income and educational parity with Protestants in general). The second because I think we are a more diverse lot politically than is sometimes apparent. The down-side to both questions is that if 90% of us turn out to be Libertarian Druids it would confirm the worst suspicions of our critics and make life for our fellow Druids much more precarious. The political orientation question can be difficult: we have a variety of different citizenships represented here, so party affiliation is not going to be much of a help, while even terms like "liberal" and "conservative" have different meanings in different places and probably don't tap adequately into important dimensions of political orientation – ahhh… Oh well….. if you were to use a check box "are you a registered member of a political party?" and then provide a fill in the blank box, you might get sufficient responses to be able to say something…. Just keep in mind that ipen-ended questions are harder to tabulate than multiple choice.

Concentrated entropy
April 26, 2011 6:29 am

An interesting question might be: Who inspired your interest in Science? As for pseudonyms, I am deep in the heart of Indian Territory trying to anchor commission decisions in common sense. I am always trying to get folks to consider the repercussions of having all of our eggs in one basket, if by chance conditions unexpectedly go in the opposite direction.

April 26, 2011 6:29 am

We do It because we are not nerds here, our names are what we like to call ourselves, Not what we are called by the sports jocks.
Here we have the power of our minds(or not).
I did hear a saying once that .The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth.
Maybe they were thinking about the internet, It WWW.

Rob Petrie
April 26, 2011 6:30 am

I never post on a forum or newsgroup without doing the best I can to hide anything that will identify me. In this case, I am sending this message through three proxy servers. Giving out personal information to the world is not my idea of rational behaviour.

Alan D McIntire
April 26, 2011 6:37 am

There are a number of reasons why I post under my own name, most covered in the list above.
I’m a government bureaucrat, with more than enough years in for retirement benefits, so there’s no fear of repercussions at work.
By posting under my own name, I’m countering the natural tendency in everyone, including myself, of descending into name calling when dealing in emotional issues.
I have a wife, and my kids were teenagers not to long ago. All of them were quick to point out my character flaws, so I’m not living in a fool’s paradise where I think I’m perfect. I’m willing to admit errors of judgment.
A referral was made to the cowboy, Tom Mix, above. Tom Mix was before my time, but Paladin – in “Have Gun-Will Travel” fit into the same mould. Also Richard Boone, the lead actor, was somewhat ugly- someone I could more readily identify with than Roy Rogers or Tom Mix.

April 26, 2011 6:37 am

Willis, I think you need to break the “general AGW” question down into categories. Sceptics are all over the map on the various aspects. A response that averages out these issues may not tell you much in the end. Sub-questions might deal with degree and type of anthropogenic influence, urgency of response (if any), type of response (from conservation to geo-engineering), etc. Yeah, that opens another can o’ worms, but why not do it right the first time?

Paul Vaughan
April 26, 2011 6:45 am

“I was surprised by […]”
Careful there Willis. [ :
Invites drawing of parallels with mainstream science press release.

April 26, 2011 6:48 am

Living here in the Peoples Republic of Kalifornia, as one of the productive private sector tax paying slaves I fear retaliation from my government masters.

S Bleve
April 26, 2011 6:48 am

‘Every name is a PSEUDONYM’
Skynet maker of a machine – terminator. Business or Government?
Why shouldn’t truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction after all, has to make sense
There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics
Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society
For in a Republic, who is “the country?” Is it the Government which is for the moment in the saddle? Why, the Government is merely a servant- merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn’t. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them.
What is in a name, Mark Twain is not Samuel Clemens, I hope.
A pressurized vessel in at terminal over-pressure – Shrill scream.. Boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion.

April 26, 2011 6:53 am

My real name is fairly unique, and I don’t want something I wrote in the past to be dredged up to be used against me by some future business associate or person doing “due diligence” on me. In addition, search engines generally will not easily provide the full context of any comment at the time of a future inquiry, so my comments could be greatly misunderstood.

Scottish Sceptic
April 26, 2011 6:56 am

Andy G says: April 26, 2011 at 6:06 am
@Scottish Sceptic
My parents are actually also English, but we moved over here (Australia) when I was 5, so I count myself as an Aussie. Oh and your right about how them Americans shure do butcher the English language 😉

Next you’ll be saying you married another graduate at St.Andrews University! I’m intrigued to find out more, but perhaps it would be more sensible to carry on the discussion on my blog (click the name at the top of my post).

barn E. rubble
April 26, 2011 7:05 am

Purely privacy issues for me. I use ‘fake’ names and email addresses strictly while out and about the web. I can say without doubt that I get spam and plenty of other unwanted contact having only used a name somewhere. I suspect adding any/all of the free EM endings like ‘@yahoo’ is all the spammers need. I change them up once junkmail exceeds the free space allocated.
* Age
* Sex
* Country
* Career
General contractor, home renos/construction (Formerly in corporate commnications, and before that educational TV/animation)
* General AGW position
Two things red flagged for me. ‘Now we know everything’ and the consensus that, ‘OK, NOW we know everything.’ My experience in edTV was that you could add 1 month to pre-production schedule for every expert on the vetting committee. Getting experts to agree – on anything – was a line by bloody line fight. As was agreement on what we could say, “for sure, for sure.”
Visually describing something like how this atom bonded with this one was torturous. Even with accepted science, every statement of ‘fact’ had to be couched with “what we know now” or “what we think (now) happens” or “what ‘many’ think happens is something like this . . .”
Never, and I mean never could you say something like ‘we know this’ or ‘all scientists agree’ or even ‘just the really smart ones’. To keep things on track you would often have only one expert for one specific area and another for this bit, and so on. That way you had more than 1 expert for the program as a whole but no 2 sat in on the same script meeting. My first experience with the, ‘now we know everything – not’ was back in the mid-80’s when the accepted science had a linear progression for man’s evolution. (Oh, and don’t get me started on using terms like, ‘man’. That thought just brought a shiver.) There was some theories out there about multiple branches, or shotgun evolution explosions in many directions but the general consensus (at that time) was monkey to man in a nice straight slope. Our series was in the can less than 6 months when proof positive, no doubt whatever, was found. A fundamentally less developed skull but unquestionably younger (by thousands of years) than the far more developed skulls of our ancestors. OK, NOW we know everything . . .
Global warming first came into our programs in the late 80’s. I was on board at the time as it seemed to make sense and the crazy/alarmist stuff hadn’t started or at least caught my attention. The ‘now we know everything’ and that some 2000+ experts were all in complete agreement as to what we know ‘for sure’ struck me as well, impossible. So I started to look into the science of what we ‘know for sure’ and the more I looked the less I found.
I’m still looking into it; and looking with an open mind – or so I think. I find it hard to believe that we can continually pump our waste into the atmosphere and water without any negative effect, however I find it equally hard to believe that the only solution is, “Shut ‘er down – RIGHT NOW!”

Amino Acids in Meteorites
April 26, 2011 7:09 am

California Bureaucrat says:
April 26, 2011 at 12:20 am
I work for a city in California where I am required to publicly toe the line as it relates to climate change issues and reducing CO2 emissions, even though I think it to be a fool’s errand. Posting with my real name would be detrimental to my career and my family’s finances.
This epidemiologist at UCLA who didn’t toe the line is running into the troubles you speak of:

April 26, 2011 7:23 am

Your list seems pretty complete, except for “Unknown.” Maybe you should list it as “Fool’s names, like fool’s faces, are often seen in public places.”
But, similar to Nylo, I wonder if you could construct the poll in a manner to see what issues are different for those who post under pseudonyms and those who post under their given names (and I’ll repeat—all posters are anonymous to you unless you know them personally). For instance, a poster using a real name may also understand security/privacy concerns while one using a pseudonym may not engage in excessive behavior in any case.
The personal questions are fine. I don’t know anything to add, except for, as someone has already noted, the US is a big country. Alaska is not Hawaii is not Texas is not New Hampshire is not etc. But then the same is true of the United States of Mexico.

April 26, 2011 7:31 am

I choose to remain Pseduoanonymous for a few reasons:-
1) Kent is in the UK, which is NOT a free country under the EU bureaucratic dictatorship. I don’t wish to be on their “watched” list as a potential terrorist.
2) Safety- animal rights nutters already have put bombs under animal researchers cars here in the UK and some (many) of these crazies are also alarmists.
3) I don’t like to spread my real name around the interweb for Identity security reasons.
4) Using one’s real name just might not be a good idea in todays “climate” of corruption. May impact on my chances of future job applications and business opportunities.
5) My real name being used on a US climate sceptic website may cause problems the next time I try to visit the US or even leave the UK.
6) You just don’t know who is reading this and what they may do if you put your real name up.
Geoffrey Ebeneezer Postlethwaite

April 26, 2011 7:33 am

I only use my real name when I post on Oregon State University blogs. Oh, wait. Should I not be doing that??

Coach Springer
April 26, 2011 7:42 am

1. Until very recently, I worked for a company that worked with the Chicago Climate Exchange. Although they were clever enough to avoid firing someone directly, they do keep score and only promote “their people.”
2. I hope to be employed again and political opinions (climate, economics, energy, religion – you name it) are not the key determinant to an acceptable position.
3. I have friends who are fear-based climate followers. They won’t listen to anything I say if they associate me with a “skeptic site.”
4. They are the same friends that think failure to vote for Obama is a racist act. They’re good people, but polarized and will take offense at the expense of friendship if discussion is not carefully restricted.
5. I’m not getting paid to expose myself to harassment from a troll or just about anybody else who cares to. It’s bad enough that my SUV got anonymously “keyed” by random high school students urged on by a teacher when the Iraq war started.
6. I think the secret ballot is a very, very good idea. At the very least, it permits being candid.
I actually worry that my pseudonym is not anonymous enough. The internet is the most powerfully and comprehensively invasive tool yet invented. I use my real name on one site. It’s about music. It has “pigeon-holed” me both musically and socially.

Wondering Aloud
April 26, 2011 7:46 am

I can’t risk the likely result that people professionally associated with me would lose their support. This was especially true at the time I started posting.

April 26, 2011 7:48 am

\\ terms to describe peoples position on the GHG question //
Willis, what IS “the GHG question”? Seems to me you are making the same mistake as the programmers of Deep Thought [1], seeking the ultimate answer to a question you don’t understand nor specify.
Frankly, there should be a poll to LIST the GHG questions.
For instance:
Is CO2 a Green House Gas?
If CO2 increases in the atmosphere, will the atmosphere on average get warmer?
Is CO2 concentration in the atmosphere likely to increase in our lifetime?
Is CO2 concentration likely to double by 2100?
If CO2 concentration doubles, will anyone without a Ph.D. or government grant notice?
If the Atmoshere warms from a CO2 doubling, how many of the 7 billion people on this planet would welcome it?

April 26, 2011 7:49 am

In the field of climate change my opinion is stratospherically unimportant.
Using my name might lead people to infer that i think otherwise.
Metrologist, aero industry, coventry, england ,male 48
The banjo handle? oh dear! It started something like this.
“Chris mate,(thats me) you REALLY can`t play the guitar! you sound like a cat trying to s**t a banjo!”….friends eh?

April 26, 2011 7:55 am

I post under this pseudonym because I work for an FFRDC (that’s a Federally Funded Research & Development Center, for those not familiar with US government alphabet soup). I’m not a government employee; I work for the organization that runs the FFRDC under contract to Uncle Sam. I wouldn’t expect any career harm from exposing my opinion on Climate Change (whether skeptic or believer) — that’s far removed from our area of expertise.
However, my employment contract prohibits me from making any public statement that could possibly be construed as “speaking on behalf of the organization,” unless that statement has been fully vetted by management. So I use a pseudonym to ensure that my remarks are clearly personal, and are unconnected with my employer.
Note that there’s a thorny little legal issue hiding here. They can’t tell me not to have opinions — that would be illegal. They can’t tell me not to express my opinions — that would also be illegal. But the requirement above has held up in the courts… even though it differs from those obviously illegal cases by only a hair. Sigh.

C. Bruce Richardson Jr.
April 26, 2011 7:58 am

Willis, I generally sign my climate posts with my full name, city and state. I usually do the same for letters to the editor, etc. If I’m not willing to put my name on something that I write, I probably shouldn’t have written it.
For better or worse, someone can Google my name and see where I stand on a number of contentious issues. Hopefully I have never written something that I will have reason to be ashamed of later. I do think about that before I press send.
For some people, being able to post anonymously brings out the beast in them. They feel that they are free to attack someone personally thinking that they will never have to answer for it. For others, it brings out the troll.
Some folks may feel that they must remain anonymous. But if that’s the case, it might be wise to avoid commenting at all. With the Internet it is often possible to uncover real identities if someone is actively communicating.
Back in 2008, I had an exchange with Joshau Halpern AKA “Eli Rabett.” I thought that his attitude was contemptuous so I did a little detective work. I addressed him as Dr. Halpern in my reply. He hasn’t posted at ClimateChangeDebate since. You might say that he ran away like a scared “rabett.” 🙂 It didn’t take much to figure out that that Tamino is Grant Foster at that time either. Whenever Tamino is mentioned, I respond with Grant Foster AKA “Tamino.”
So those posting anonymously may not be as anonymous as they think they are.

April 26, 2011 8:09 am

Male, 57, Canadian, professional oil and gas geologist, BSc.
Conservative, pragmatist philosophically, divorced, white, atheist, hetero, tendency to play the fool ….
We have so many tags ….

Ben Hillicoss
April 26, 2011 8:11 am

My real name is Ben Hillicoss( there are three of us, Dad, Me and son), and there is NO ONE who has ever met me that does not know my opinions on AGW, or recycling, or democrat policys, or local politics, or Washington, or…well I guess I am one of those…I wear my mind on my sleave and wave it about alot.

Douglas DC
April 26, 2011 8:16 am

The reasons I use a handle here is simple-safety and business. I have had a very interesting life. I also am married to a semi retired teacher, who would like to substitute occasionally. The anti-skeptic community in my NE Oregon town isn’t as bad as the left coast of Oregon. But it is here. Also being anti-wind power is akin to being a Paedophile.
I have said there are people who scour the internet locally who want to harm the lives of non-believers. I personally know of one wind opponent who is now off the internet. What is ironic, is that the Anti-wind people are both left and right politically.
As for my previous life on the coast, was accused of: Being a CIA agent/pilot. Which I:”Cannot confirm or deny. ” According to the local Post mistress of my small fishing village that I lived in. This crap hurt my wife. So hence the handle…
Protection of my family… Period..

April 26, 2011 8:17 am

There are a lot of crazy people online, and I don’t crazy people (both those who agree and disagree) stalking me.
I also don’t want my opinion, which doesn’t match the so-called “consensus view” to effect my career and employment. No, I don’t work in a weather- or climate-related field or a scientific field. But I don’t want to be blackballed for a position because somebody found my post using a Google search and disagreed with what I have to say.

April 26, 2011 8:35 am

I support Robert E. Phelan’s suggestion to add to the stratification some measure of education. But more important than just the highest degree earned, the area of study could be enlightening. Are your degrees in: physics, mathematics, geoscience, computer science, political science, statistics, electrical engineering, civil engineering, architecture, naval architecture, chemistry, oceanography, education, history, art history, physical education, biology, microbiology, medicine, medical engineering, business administration, accounting, law, journalism, …
A list like this would be long [1] and the stratification difficult, but the exercise might be very rewarding.
Perhaps this would work: Rate your education 0 (low) to 3 (high, major), in each of the broad categories:
Physical Sciences
Life Sciences
Computer Sciences
This would allow for 4^6 = 4,096 combinations, yet easily aggregated into some significant strata.

April 26, 2011 8:36 am

DesertYote is as much my name as my given name. When I was in the service I had a nickname, everyone including my CO called me by it. But my wise First Sargent realized that I was not a Wolf but a Coyote. I had just been raised by wolves. So when I left the Service, I changed my name to be more accurate. I currently were the hat of a test engineer, accuracy is everything.

April 26, 2011 8:48 am

Rate your education 0 (low) to 3 (high, major), in each of the broad categories:
Business << added Now 16,384 combinations
Physical Sciences
Life Sciences
Computer Sciences

April 26, 2011 8:50 am

I hope the section requesting information on professions is robust enough to deal with someone like me who has done a great many things in widely desperate fields.
I am knowledgeable of Ichthyology, freshwater ecology, Carnivore biology, Software Engineering, systems engineering, Semiconductor Manufacturing, Test and Measurement, and Mathematics. These are just the areas where I have worked professionally, not the area that I have an interest in and have studied extensively like history (most recently Japanese history up to the Meiji restoration).

Jenn Oates
April 26, 2011 8:50 am

Hmmm…out of curiosity I have just googled my name and discovered that it–and variations thereof–is more common than I thought.

Dr. Dave
April 26, 2011 8:53 am

You may wish to consider asking about education (e.g. high school, some college, college degree, post-grad, doctorate). You may also want to ask on how many sites do they regularly leave comments. About 1/3 of my comments are left on climate sites, the rest are usually political sites.

April 26, 2011 8:57 am

Stephen Rasey
April 26, 2011 at 8:35 am
I like the idea, but how dose this capture someone like me who is an aspie, had great difficulty with schooling ( I have hated Marxist indoctrination since I was in the 5th grade and I realized that my teachers would sometimes lie), and am almost completely self taught. I read books on things like Tensor Calculus for fun, and work the problems like some people play video games.

Alan Clark
April 26, 2011 8:58 am

Willis: One further reason for posting under one’s own name is the confidence one gets from seeing people who you admire and respect that share your views and are rational and authoritative in their declaration.
I work with brash young men and I try to mold their civility to make them better people, husbands, dads, and keep them on the narrow path to a better life and professional promotion. I lead strictly by example and the consequence is that these youngsters respect me as a person and as an authority. For these fellows to hear me express calmly, rationally and authoritatively, views which they hold themselves and have been ridiculed for, strengthens them. Just as hearing my views articulated by Anthony Watts, Willis Eschenbach. Tim Ball, Steve McIntyre, etc. etc., strengthens me. A little confidence is a powerful tool.
Thanks for mentoring me.

April 26, 2011 9:00 am

I am strongly suspecting that the WUWT community has a large number of autodidacts and polymaths.

April 26, 2011 9:02 am

I am ecliptic all over the web – I only post with that name and I’m the only ecliptic out of 6.6 billion ( which I think is kinda cool ). We are living in a nightmarish combination of Brave New World, 1984, and Terminator. “SkyNet” is literally about to go live. Big Nanny is not only watching and collecting Total Information Awareness about you, but using that information in predictive algorithms and vast data-mining schemes beyond anything George Orwell could have imagined. New computer software request-for-bid asks for software to allow one government-paid troll to become 50 trolls, complete with 50 back-stories all nicely organized:
I agree with Tucci78 – be wary of the “greenies” … they are little fascists deep down and if given the opportunity will take that fascism all the way to it’s inevitable “final solution”: re-education camps with funny little ovens located out back . . .

April 26, 2011 9:08 am

Frankly, people using a pseudonym annoy me. They should have enough integrity to stand behind what they say and not hide behind a pseudonym and shoot darts from the dark. Web sites should insist on real names when important subjects are discussed. If it is criticism we should know where it comes from in order to respond to it.

April 26, 2011 9:24 am

Amino Acids in Meteorites,
Thanks for posting that astonishing video @7:09 am. It shows why the great majority of those using their given names are commentators are those in a position with nothing to lose: retired folks, or folks who are otherwise fortunate enough to be in a position to speak freely without fear of retaliation.
When a faculty member with over 30 years seniority is summarily fired for falsifying a baseless CARB finding, even the vaunted university tenure system is no protection.

April 26, 2011 9:38 am

I have noticed when posting to some news sites, that after a few postings, I am not published again. I change my pseudonym and my email address and voila! I am posted again for a few times, then the gag is applied again. Does anyone here know why this happens? Is it the moderators or is it a special computer programme used in news websites?

April 26, 2011 9:47 am

RE: DesertYote – self taught.
We just have to be clear that we mean education with a small e. What are you trained in. What have you learned, what you know – as opposed to what class you slept through.
I’ll confess, my list of seven above might not fit Tensor Calculus and other branches of mathematics well, but what do you USE them for? That will lead pretty quickly into Physical Sciences and possibly Engineering or Computer Sciences.
In my own case, Linear, Integer, and Geometric Programming are all mathematical optimization tools to be applied in an Engineering (and Business) domain.
Now it might behoove the stratification to be more “Climate Science” oriented as in your knowledge of Earth Science, Statistics, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Other. But I like the openness of the general list.

April 26, 2011 9:52 am

Well, I don’t think “skeptic” or “supporter” are loaded terms, and I’m only interested in seeing how the person self-identifies
Fair enough. By “loaded”, I meant that each side uses them to mean different things.

I like it.

April 26, 2011 9:54 am

Here is one other stratification that will warm your heart, Willis.
The number of total years you studied or worked outdoors collecting data or earning a paycheck. This is obviously a mechanism to separate those know reality only from a computer screen or lecture hall.
“She’s television generation. She learned life from Bugs Bunny”. — Max Schumacher, Network 1976.

The Total Idiot
April 26, 2011 10:07 am

Frankly, I tend toward this name because it lends itself well to those who have less ability to attack data, and prefer, rather than addressing sources, to attack the person. It has become a persona in its own right, allowing both assumed, and admitted idiocy in my person. The nom de plume lends itself well to my purposes, and allows me to ask questions, idiotic in their isolated state, but pursuing a pattern of consistencies and inconsistencies, to determine that which is truth.
A name on the internet is not always to hide, but just as a mask can, sometimes to reveal. It can allow disassociation of one’s prior beliefs, and simplifies assumption of the ‘contrarian’ position in order to more fully explore the facts of any given case.
Largely, it’s true, I’d rather be an idiot willing to ask questions than a being unwilling to seem foolish enough to learn, as the possession of data also requires that one do their best to understand both import, scope, and error endemic to the set.
I am not anything save an amateur researcher in history. I have no papers, no research grants. I have no ‘dog in the fight’ as it were, save that of a student of history, recognizing severe inconsistencies within the record, compared to what I perceive to be true of the past, by record, evidence, and writ. That is the lead that drew me hence, researching those inconsistencies.
I have drawn both vitriol and praise in the past, for challenging closely held assumptions, up to and including threats of maiming and death for collating , assembling, and presenting data from outside sources for that purpose. This is reason enough to remain, ever and truly, your Total Idiot.

Darkinbad the Brightdayler
April 26, 2011 10:13 am

My nom de plume means little except to an Eng Lit student and even then it leads nowhere.
It carries no authority and makes no claims.
That means that whoever wants to respond to any argument I put or statement I make has to focus on that since there is nothing much else to go on.
I’m comfortable with that and if anyone else has an issue then that’s their problem and not mine.

April 26, 2011 10:15 am

Stephen Rasey
April 26, 2011 at 9:47 am
Just to be clear, I was in no way criticizing, just bringing up an additional point. I think that your very general list is the way to go. It even forms a nice “cover”. I don’t think being more climate science centric is a good idea. That could distort the data.
BTW, Tensors have a very wide range of application. Physical systems is just the most obvious. Currently I have been thinking of cognitive processes embedded within “world views” in terms of tensors. Nothing firm yet, still pretty nebulosity, but the framework is starting to congeal.

April 26, 2011 10:23 am

Anonymity is really not as anonymous as people think. Most forums have moderators and they usually require a legit email address. While that can be anything it can be traced back to an IP etc etc all the way back to the user. If you doubt that setup a really anonymous account and threaten someone powerful. You will be shortly joining a bunch of ID10T error types in jail (and rightly so IMHO).
I’ve been working with computers for a living since the mid 80’s. In that time I’ve seen the value of making the general public unaware of one’s real name. They have neither the access, skill or persistence to trace someone. This is a good thing because a lot of them are zealots for their beliefs and if you cross them god knows what they would do if they realized you lived nearby.
When communicating with politicians (a hobby of mine) on various issues I use email and my full name. For the public at large? No way. I try to think before I post and if I am wrong (frequently) or offend people unintentionally (some take things the wrong way and some are just too thin skinned) I apologize. I’m used to being wrong (just ask my wife!).
One question is why does WUWT have multiple users with the same name? I’ve changed mine because someone else started posting with the same one. Just a thought for the site admins.

April 26, 2011 10:31 am

I would find it interesting to see the political affiliation of anon posters.

CRS, Dr.P.H.
April 26, 2011 10:51 am

I’m a professional scientist with affiliation to the University of Illinois and others. Needless to say, I’m a small fish in a tank full of sharks. Most don’t like when I argue against their positions with logic and good science, so I tend to hang back.
I’m not particularly adverse to revealing my identity, but WUWT is read by a wide audience, including the extremists on the warming side. I find that I can be quite a bit more uninhibited in what I say by being largely anonymous.
My political views tend to the right, and I’ve been an environmental science advisor to the GOP at the level of US Senate, House and State levels. However, I’m not at all in favor of the present “defund the EPA” since I remember when Lake Erie used to catch fire, and Lake Michigan contained lampreys, carp and little else.
When I feel like it is time, I’ll speak out more openly. Thank you, Willis.

April 26, 2011 10:53 am

I guess I fall under the “other category”… I don’t use a pseudonym, but have chosen to use just my first name because I’m a PhD student working on a climate related dissertation… and I want to graduate!

April 26, 2011 11:13 am

I don’t have time to read the other replies so this may be redundant:
I would find it more interesting to know the political affiliations and stance on AGW of *both* those who post pseudonymously and use their real names.
It seems to me that there is a difference as well between posting under an obvious pseudonym and one that looks like a real name. How many of those who post under a pseudonym make it clear that’s what they are doing, and how do they choose the pseudonym?
Have reasons for the pseudonym changed?
I originally posted under a pseudonym for the first reason- issues of safety. We adopted children, their family of origin included a psychotic stalker with a restraining order against her by her own mother, and she had tried locating us several times- coming too close for comfort more than once even without the internet. Now those children are grown and the threat is no longer so immediate, but I just feel more comfortable this way, having been posting under a pseudonym for years.
An early pseudonym actually looked like a real name- I used a combination of two family names, both fairly common so I wouldn’t be getting others into trouble. But that felt far more deceptive than an obvious pseudonym, so I switched.

April 26, 2011 11:15 am

I agree with Robert E. Phelan, above. Education level might be very interesting, and/or degree and field. Not sure religious affiliation would be relevant or wise, though.

April 26, 2011 11:22 am

An interesting question would be: Did you change sides? How long ago? What was the reason (AIT, Climategate, Failure/Success of a prediction…)?

April 26, 2011 11:33 am

Dave says:
“I guess I fall under the ‘other category’… I don’t use a pseudonym, but have chosen to use just my first name because I’m a PhD student working on a climate related dissertation… and I want to graduate!”
And there is the crux of the problem. Screen names are largely a symptom caused by those with an evil totalitarian mindset. Academia is infested with, and ruled by freedom-hating collectivists, who use every unethical trick in the book to get revenge on those who simply have a different point of view.
A screen name and a diploma? Or openly expressing a reasonable opinion that a professor with True Believer climate views might read? How many in Dave’s situation would make the latter choice? Be honest.

April 26, 2011 11:38 am

some women use a masculine name to avoid getting hit on or just ‘regarded’ as a feminine entity.
try putting a Dr in front of a nick, too – watch how ppl talk much more carefully

April 26, 2011 11:44 am

Nice Picture Willis, tis the wallpaper on my phone.

Evey Hammond: Who…who are you?
V: Who? Who is but the form following the function of what. And what I am, is a man in a mask.
Evey Hammond: I can see that.
V: Of course you can. I’m not questioning your powers of observation, I’m merely remarking on the paradox of asking a masked man who he is.

Bruce Cobb
April 26, 2011 11:49 am

I signed up here a little over four years ago, after lurking a while (coming in from sunsettommy’s skeptic site), and I was writing letters to the editor around that time about global warming or climate change, which required signing my name. So, using my real name here seemed a natural extension of what I was already doing, although I knew the reach was far, far broader. I’m sure I thought about it some. Perhaps the fact that Anthony uses his name, and I noticed quite a few others that did as well convinced me to do so as well. I’m not aware of any business repercussions, which would be my main concern.

April 26, 2011 11:52 am

In response to my earlier post to the effect that I would sooner squat naked over a tank filled with piranha than allow the warmist [i]fascisti[/i] to learn my Real Name, we’ve got [b]Jessie[/b] at 4:54 AM on 26 April posting: [blockquote]Yikes. That is too horrible a thought. I checked out your wish. However I would suggest that you squat over a well fed school and recently cleaned tank housing piranhas, if you have a choice. [/blockquote]
Not much of a choice. As an undergraduate in pursuit of a degree in Biology, one of the “Let George Do It” jobs with which I got stuck was the maintenance of various aquaria, both marine and freshwater, and in several of these volumes one instructor was maintaining schools of piranha.
My own projects ran toward the study of ascidians and sea urchins at the time, and I didn’t give a damn about the characidae, but unpleasant and unrewarding scutwork is supposed to be part of your “learning experience,” isn’t it?
Well, what I learned about piranha is that well-fed or hungry, they’re unpleasant, aggressive, vicious little bastids, nearly as treacherous as career politicians and MSM journalists.
Thanks for the suggestion, and in return may I suggest that [b][i]you[/i][/b] try it instead.
I’ll happily stand by with hemostats, Gelfoam, and plenty of dressing materials.

April 26, 2011 12:06 pm

Quote: Willis
This is a catchall category.
■I feel more comfortable posting anonymously, but I’m not sure why.” End quote.
Thanks for reminding me as that explains a whole lot of personal approach, for many not just me. I am very introverted. No, introversion is NOT an illness that can be cured by forcing us to the front; that is pure fallacy. I have been front and center in my past and every time I found/trained/delegated a replacement ASAP.
I am firm believer that we are warming. Because that is the general interglacial phase earth is in. The overall trend is up over the current millennia; decadal up or down within that trend apparently is determined by far more than CO2/GHG’s
AGW? Well, let me put it this way; I am a firm believer that man drastically affects man’s micro-environment. I just have severe doubts that a few ten thousands of CO2 concentration has any discernable effect, period. Asphalt, A/C, huge areas of heavily manicured lawn, billions of machines consuming fuel/electricity producing heat, breeze blocking buildings, huge areas of concrete/brick absorbing sunlight and radiating heat; all of these seriously impact micro-environments and in some heavily urbanized areas, the local macro-environment. Still, all of this combined is still just a thin mosaic of veneer on a small portion of land and to me, unlikely to dramatically change/disturb earth’s atmosphere.
I loved Chemistry, Math and Physics back in school; but I was not destined to graduate higher into the occupational levels. Instead I worked my way up from the bottom, literally shoveling human waste into wheelbarrows at a sewer plant as part of my background and experience. I got promoted when PC’s first hit businesses and no-one knew how to operate them. At the time I had formal training in COBOL, CICS, FORTRAN and BAL Assembler, (at my own expense); but I got to work on PC’s, and fix bad BASIC and DBase programs. At the time, Finance was the main part of business looking into PC’s. Helping Finance employees understand their Lotus spreadsheets caused them to realize that I understood math AND (a very big AND) I was meticulous on numbers; both their source and meaning. I introduced statistics trend analysis to budget analysis and taught my employees that statistics trends are indicative and are never proof. From PC flunky to Finance guru and finally top banana as Budget Manager for a three quarters of a billion dollars per year and 110 offices. From there to HQ and sideways promotion to something called Business Systems Architect. I interfaced with Information Technology on their developments and the business customers they were developing for. Working up from the bottom meant I knew not only the positions and duties impacted by new programs, but also real people filling those duties. I was the wakeup call for many; a trouble shooter par excellence for many, a valued sounding board for others. To many, I was obsessive about data, meta data, word meaning and use, math, detail and databases. Along the way, I added C, C+, FOCUS, some SQL, CLIST, Advanced Basic, and a smattering of other languages to my coding ability. After a fun career, I retired. The majority of my life I spent working for the United States Federal government; mostly because I believed that the best opportunities for someone without a degree was in the civil service. It only took a couple of dozen jobs like the sewer plant one before I figured this out.
Why all of this discourse? My hackles stand up when I hear/read bafflegab. Especially, when bafflegab is used in response to definitive and succinct queries. Over those years in Finance, I helped many people frame their technical jargon and knowledge into clear English or conversely reading their technical gobbledygook budget request submissions as just that, gobbledygook meant to confuse not educate.
I never can understand why so many in the organizations I worked in, insisted on blinders, metaphorically speaking. In an environment where a desired outcome is C and A + B = C; it always seemed to me that people assigned a task inherent to A or B would almost always forget that C is the desired outcome. Focusing on a component and forgetting the result is absurd. Compound that by stacking component focus upon component focus and we lose all sight of the result. To me, the climate goons have lost sight of the climate prediction goal. They are so entrenched/entranced on stacked components that they have lost sight of even their climate god (CO2) and have replaced it lately with a small component concept (alarmist AGW). To me they must prove the CO2/GHG warming effect before they can man’s true contribution to CO2/GHG. They can do it the other way around, but that assumes the climate goons drop all pretenses that CO2 is evil; (which do they claim is the true danger factor, CO2 or man’s contribution to %CO2). The climate goons have cried/screamed wolf for decades now and we are not much closer to truly knowing atmospheric interactions and CO2’s roles in that atmosphere. The theory has been stated, but there are no defined tests proving the theory; component focus and computer models are NOT valid substitutions for defined and controlled tests of the theory. Tree sampling, ice coring, mud sampling, extinctions, melting ice, weather blaming are all component diversions that do not prove any part of the CO2 theory, let alone AGW and catastrophic climate.
United States of America
Federal Government (Information Technology, Finance, Retail, Metallic Paint factory, Colored Paint and Clear Finishes factory (assembling batches and Laboratory work), janitor, short order cook, US Steel laborer, Farm laborer (milk farm) in reverse order with many smaller occupations left out)
AGW skeptic, Interglacial Lukewarmist
Data/detail intent
Formula driven
Computer Code conscious and depending on language often literate
Firm disbeliever that computer models are absolute in accuracy. Sorry, I’ve written/seen the code in many. People are human and tend to code very narrowly. A true climate model would dwarf the most complex operating system extant. The sheer amount if inputs, calculations, trends, outputs that impact inputs is darn near infinite. To date; all climate models have been developed with minimal resources often depending on a very limited subset of developers and a very limited set of real data inputs. A truly genuine and comprehensive climate model would take decades to develop; be highly modular allowing sub component corrections, require billions of inputs
Enough physics background to cringe when AGW alarmists and climate goons claim gas/vapor cause/effects without the physics to back up the claim.
Enough statistics background to seriously doubt anyone’s on the fly statistics formula without first exposing that formula to serious evaluation and independent testing. Statistics formulae kept secret means that they are not ready for prime time and often that the developer is embarrassed about coding structure and order.
Enough outdoor adventuring from Western deserts, Sierra and Rocky Mountains, Gulf of Mexico fishing, Louisiana Bayous, Eastern Appalachians and Adirondacks to seriously doubt AGW alarmist claims of doom in all and sundry. Urban centric I am not.
Creature driven but not obsessed: I have raised/harvested all sorts of critters from quail to cattle. While I have loved many animals as pets, my farm background has always kept me aware of the dangers of anthropomorphism and where I stand in the food chain. I view all life as precious, but my life is more precious to me and therefore other life (from seeds to plants, fish, fowl, mammal, amphibian and reptile) are food (the Cajun influence).
In the Sixties, Seventies, and some of the Eighties I was considered a tree hugger and leftist. I watched as the eco-nutty moved so far to my left that I am now considered conservative. Funny, my beliefs are the same and if scratched on any of the old democratic causes I am still firmly democrat. The eco-nutty and democrat assault on modern society and US economics as some sort of penance for our past sins, I cannot countenance.
Firm disbeliever that Peer Review is a benchmark! Peer review is supposed to be a tool that aids quality submissions before publishing. Not to prevent publishing, but to help prevent embarrassment and perhaps career killing shame over a premature or immature submission.
Patented, copyrighted, proprietary intellectual knowledge is permissible when earnings are dependent on keeping specific intellectual components secret. I can think of nowhere in Climatology/tree coring/mud sampling/ice drilling/etcetera where this is the case. In fact, given the national/multi-national/global AGW claims, it is imperative that nothing is held back from the public. I federal service I was taught that when the Government became involved and national impact/importance is declared everything involved in deciding/determining that impact became Government property. That is; when the United States becomes responsible for a problem, the United States is responsible for all evidence and information about that problem. I am confused that that this has not been made so regarding AGW; it may be that the overseeing Government agencies are ignoring their responsibilities.

chris b
April 26, 2011 12:33 pm

A strong argument against internet anonymity.

Crispin in Waterloo
April 26, 2011 12:37 pm

Dear Willis
I agreed with a number of the reasons listed above, certainly a social anthropologists gold mine. My real name is Crispin and I am easy enough to find on line, but not so easy as to attract knee-jerk (with the emphasis on ‘jerk’) responses from trolls because it would take a little actual work to locate a working address. I append my moniker with my location at the time.
I work in a hotly contested energy field filled primarily with enthusiasts, which is to say, those with an inaccurate and incomplete knowledge of partially understood truths. Because the sector deals with energy, warmists abound, especially those with intent to harvest the crop of Dollars available from carbon trading.
Having been energetically attacked for expressing (obvious) skeptical views on religious, environmental and professional fora it suits me to make the loonies work a little to earn a chance to stuff my spam folder.
I am one of the lucky ones who are little risk of being actually fired for not singing the CAGW tune, but professionally it has had consequences, moreso among the poorly read and programmatically empowered. There are real consequences and I begrudge no one the opportunity to contribute intelligently from behind the pillar.
The main antidote to CAGW is education and enlightenment. The CAGW bats fly best in the dark, hence all their raging against the light.

April 26, 2011 12:44 pm

Oh yes and I almost forgot …
V: People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

John T
April 26, 2011 12:58 pm

I didn’t respond to the poll because I didn’t know how to respond. The reason for that is that many of the reasons listed play a role. When there are a dozen factors that play a significant role (say 6-12% each), can you really say which one(s) are most important?

Earle Williams
April 26, 2011 1:25 pm

I post under my name on climate related blogs, but typically under my gaming handle(s) on non-technical forums. I haven’t really given much thought as to why. My name isn’t so unique that it identifies me to all who see it, but throw in a few clever keywords to a google search and I can be found.
I don’t feel threatened by kooks or zealots, but I do respect the eternal nature of internet search data. So I craft my comments with care (except for the occasional one-liner 🙂 knowing that someone some day will try to hold my words against me.
Census data:
Male age 40 – 49
Educated as a geophysicist, working as a bureaucrat
Count me as the following:
Climate changes: convinced
Global warming since 1800s: convinced
Global warming since 1976: skeptical
The A in AGW: very skeptical
The C in CAGW: dismissive
The impact of the IPCC: alarmed
The level of fundamental science being done to quantify “the greatest threat to mankind”: disgusted

Justin Ert
April 26, 2011 1:29 pm

I thought that was a great post, very interesting. Posting anonymously strikes me as similar to MMORPG or even Avatar and the Matrix movies, and a whole host of William Gibson inspired cyber discourse, in so far as these fictions fundamentally depict role-playing behaviors in the digital realms.
Developing different gender characters on WOW or Second Life, for example, affords the user a whole host of advantages for the digital projection of oneself that transcends cultural norms in many respects. The internet, and by proxy, blogs, have also enabled us to create new digital selfs, insulated from much standard discrimination.
I post anonymously and in many ways there is a sense of liberty, freedom or un-shackledness in doing so: you are unconstrained by cultural norms and potential reactions to gender, qualifications, social standing, field of expertise, age and experience; the words that form your posts are the only means determining the make-up of who you are. This tends to focus a potential reply on those words, and not appeal to the authority of culturally established norms such as ‘I’m older, more qualified and more experienced etc., etc – so you’re wrong’.
I’m tempted to conclude that the use of pseudonymity is intrinsically a rejection of authority! Maybe it’s prevelance will lead it to become known as “pseudonyminism”…

Justin Ert
April 26, 2011 1:44 pm

I thought that was a great post, very interesting. Posting anonymously strikes me as similar to MMORPG or even Avatar and the Matrix movies, and a whole host of William Gibson inspired cyber discourse, in so far as these fictions fundamentally depict role-playing behaviors in the digital realms.
Developing different gender characters on WOW or Second Life, for example, affords you a whole host of advantages for the digital projection of oneself that transcends cultural norms in many respects. The internet, and by proxy, blogs, have also enabled us to create new digital selfs, insulated from much standard discrimination.
I post anonymously and in many ways there is a sense of liberty, freedom or un-shackledness in doing so: you are unconstrained by cultural norms and potential reactions to gender, qualifications, social standing, field of expertise, age and experience; the words that form your posts are the only means determining the make-up of who you are. This tends to focus a potential reply on those words, and not appeal to the authority of culturally established norms such as ‘I’m older, more qualified and more experienced etc., etc – so you’re wrong’.
I’m tempted to conclude that the use of pseudonymity is intrinsically a rejection of authority! Maybe it’s prevelance will lead it to become known as “pseudonyminism”…

Jay Davis
April 26, 2011 1:51 pm

I always post under my name because I really don’t care what other people think of my postings. I’m expressing my opinion and people should be happy to know: 1) someone else also thinks like them, or 2) someone holds a very different opinion and maybe their’s is wrong.

Die Zauberflotist
April 26, 2011 2:15 pm

In a word….. modesty.

Rational Debate
April 26, 2011 2:44 pm

In regards to some comments about just how common or identifying one’s real name is or isn’t, for example post by: Jenn Oates says: April 26, 2011 at 8:50 am

Hmmm…out of curiosity I have just googled my name and discovered that it–and variations thereof–is more common than I thought.

I’m in the opposite situation – while my first name isn’t a particularly common one, it isn’t at all unusual either. My last name is however – I know for a fact that there isn’t anyone else in the USA with the same name as mine (first & last even, e.g., true even without considering my middle name) – and strongly suspect that’s probably true world wide also. Even so, the name is often quickly noted/recognized and remembered, because of a famous 2nd cousin. If I used my real name, in two seconds flat anyone so inclined for any reason would know exactly where I live, what my phone number is, etc.
Those here who post using their actual name, who seem to feel that it is somehow less than ‘honest’ for others to not do the same, ask yourself if you would be so cavalier about it if you had a name that allowed immediate unique identification of exactly who you really are, where you and your family live and work, what your career is, and so on. Most people’s names are more common than that – and so they still have some anonymity even using their real name. Some of us don’t have that luxury.
Also, re the privacy issue – years ago (probably a decade or so) in completing a free but required registration at a site in order to post a comment, I used a made up first name and a very misspelled version of my last name. I don’t recall if I gave a real or made up email addy – but if the former it wouldn’t have been one that I used for muchy of anything. The site of course claimed that all such registration info was kept private, not sold, etc. IIRC, that was the only site I ever used that combination on, and it was a well known/respected news type site. Low and behold in very sort order the made up name appeared on my credit report as an alias. As I’ve never used ANY alias for any legal issue, or for that matter for anything other than internet posts, I don’t believe the listing as an alias on my credit reports holds any water – point being that things are incredibly interconnected these days.
I’m very open with friends and family, co-workers (possibly more so than is really prudent), and even with people I “meet” on the internet. I’ve wound up with a number of good friends that I met initially on the internet, some of which I’ve met later in person, and quite a few have remained friends for many years. It is an awesome aspect of the internet – we can ‘meet’ and get to know and be friends with people from literally around the world, who we almost certainly woudn’t meet otherwise.
Even so, I don’t think it is at all wise to put personal details out there widely to perfect strangers. I don’t go very far in trying to keep those details private – probably not nearly as far as today’s technological situation warrants. I have no doubt that anyone interested in doing so could probably figure out exactly who I am. I’m an open book very quickly even in relatively new private email correpondenses, and very much tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and feel that the enrichment gained that way far outweighs the disadvantages over time. It’s just not worth the extra time and effort to figure out how to cover my tracks better (although if I run across such info, and it’s not difficult to do, I’d incorporate such practices – I’d love to see a good authoratative article that says “here are the x number of steps, in order of importance, that you can easily take to remain private on the web” that at least goes beyond the most simple things like not accepting most tracking cookies & not using your real name on posts {VBG}).
I would have NO problem with Anthony, or quite a few other’s here at WUWT knowing exactly who I am. I do have a problem with the idea of any joe blow who happens on the site for whatever reason, or googles it up who knows how many years from now, knowing personal details about me. I just don’t think it’s prudent on many different levels. So while I’m sure ‘joe blow’ could figure out who I am, etc., at least it would take a little bit of effort on their part rather than it just being handed to them on a platter.
I also created (10+ years now), own, and run a high volume bulletin board (totally unrelated subject/discipline than here – and my real name is clearly there as list owner, although I still post there under a user id that isn’t my name, but with an auto sig. that is my actual name ending each post). Frankly I think many folks here would be utterly floored at the number of people who ‘lurk’ on blogs and bb’s, never or almost never posting – and for a wide variety of reasons. Being ‘attacked’ or ‘put down’ and ‘privacy concerns’ seem to be large issues for quite a few of those – and we’re pretty strict about not allow any personal attacks.
Many people who aren’t familiar with science or technical disciplines, however, seem to feel that even polite questioning of details, logic, assumptions, etc., are actually personal attacks. I find out about them when I get private emails expressing such concerns – or when they finally take the plunge and make their first post to the list and mention the issue. Some who send private email only, I can reassure with a bit of correspondence, explaining the list and how it works, why some posts that may seem harsh to them have very good reasons and motives behind them and how the back and forth winds up benefitting everyone, especially the person who might on the surface appear to have been ‘attacked’ (gees, you can’t help fix someone’s problem when they’re asking for help, without knowing all the relevant details!!) Others will come out of hiding after they’ve lurked for some time and begin to see the actual purpose and positive results that comes from reasonably polite questioning at inquiries. Others lurk to find prospective clients (I encourage membership to email me or my moderators immediately if they get private solicitations, and promply ban anyone who behaves in such a fashion). I’m sure some are trolls or have other nefarious reasons, although I very much hope there aren’t many of those. Then I’m sure a large number of ‘lurkers’ probably don’t really follow the list that closely, but don’t bother to unsubscribe.
The point is that literally anyone throughout the world can either post or follow lists – for all sorts of different reasons, both good and bad. And unfortunately, one has no way to know what some of those people might choose to do with the information. As with so many other things, all too often it’s very much a situation where a few bad apples spoil the bunch.

Rational Debate
April 26, 2011 2:54 pm

Willis, if you include any breakdown on education, please be sure to separate out the B.A.’s, M.A.’s etc. from the B.S.’s, M.S.’s etc. – at least in the USA, typically the former are non-science disciplines, while the latter are far more science oriented. A differientiation that I would think is highly relevant to your poll.

Scottish Sceptic
April 26, 2011 2:54 pm

Willis said:
My premise? My premise??? Dude, this is setting up for a poll. You do understand what etc. etc.
Take a deep breath and wait for the poll, my gaelic friend, that’s what polls are for,
etc. etc.

“Willis, when did you stop beating your wife?”
“What is causing global warming”?
“Can’t you understand irony”?
Have you never heard of a leading question?
I am extremely disappointed by your response, because I thought you were intelligent enough to understand what I was saying without forcing me to spell it out!
To ask the question “WHY DO YOU POST UNDER A PSEUDONYM?” implies by the very nature of the question that there must be some rationale for people using a pseudonym, just like asking “what is causing global warming” not only implies there is such a thing as global warming, but that it has a cause. The question demands an answer and by forcing people to find an answer that fits the question, a leading question forces people to bite the “bait” and use the answer implied in the question, thus leading them to say something they would not ordinarily have said. And then as people try to rationalise the dissonance between their response and their views, they solve the dissonance by bringing their views into line with their response, so changing their view to fit the answer they were forced to make by the leading question. The result: mankind must have caused warming because …I had to find an answer to what caused the warming and it’s the only answer I have … and because I said it, I must believe it!
It is a well known phenomena of questionnaires like this that e.g. fear of crime increases as soon as you ask people about their fear of crime, because asking people how afraid of crime they are immediately makes them consider all possible reasons they could be afraid which in itself raises their awareness they “should” be afraid and so such questions are known to ENHANCE FEAR OF CRIME.
So I have to ask: “Is your intention really to promote fear of being a sceptic?” If not then why are you actively running a series of articles suggesting to people that they ought to be afraid to use their real names in posts like this? To be frank, it’s entirely counter productive!
Fear breeds fear, and asking this type of question in the way you are going about it and then analysing in great depth why people ought to be afraid will only suggest to people (like me) who have no problem using their real name, that we must be wrong and that we ought to be afraid.
So, just tell me straight, am I wrong? Is there nothing to fear posting using your real name?

April 26, 2011 2:55 pm

—> I want readers to judge my comments on their content, not their provenance
I’m not afraid of using my full real name as much as I feel like this issue is wholly polarized on personalities. If I and others stay more anonymous, we may post in a more vulgar fashion true, but we also will not be creating more personalities that are simply dismissed out of hand because of the name.
I remember quite clearly when this “battle” between skeptics and warmists began. The first salvo’s fired from the warmists were pure ad hominems. I remember seeing lists of names of scientists who disagreed with the IPCC and all manner of slander against them. I remember laughing out loud at one particular “discreditation” list; in this list next to Steve McIntyre’s name they could only say, “Steve has no science degree.” Next to Ross McKittricks name, they could only say, “He is an economist.”
It was absurd, yes, but because those men lacked a peanut gallery that spoke unassailable truth while wearing a veil, they were ignored. I’m happy to provide a portion of that peanut gallery so that those men are not ignored.

April 26, 2011 2:57 pm

Die Zauberflotist says:
Ouch! That certainly sheds a whole new light on Tamino and Eli Rabbet…

old engineer
April 26, 2011 3:26 pm

As always your posts make me think. Since your last post on this subject, I have been thinking about whether to comment under my own name or not. I find I can agree with many of the reasons on both sides of the discussion. I can agree with reasons to use a nom de plume, or screen name as it is called now, and I can agree with reasons to use my own name.
I would like to point out, that using a screen name, as long as it is always the same, is not the same as an anonymous comment. For instance, here at WUWT, I recognize Smokey ( I know he says that’s his name) and his comments, as much as Pamela Gray’s comments, and I have come to respect them both.
Which brings me to my last point. I think your poll should also include a question for those who now use their real name, and those who did in the past, but no longer do.
The question: Have you ever had anything happen to you, that people fear will happen to them if they use their real name? We have already had a couple of comments to the effect that they are pretty sure they lost their job because they expressed their opinions openly.
What about it. Are these fears groundless or not?
As you can guess, for the time being I’ll stick to my nom de plume.

April 26, 2011 3:31 pm

My handle is my old computer sign in since before Al Gore invented the internet. It’s still part of my email. I am Dan and my name last starts with Bo. Though I rarely post here. I post other locations more. When I use my full name I feel like I’m going incognito.
For others concerns. I’ve been following this since the ice age scare. I’m one who has had warmers try to track me. (Elsewhere) And I’m a small frye. There is a skeptic with the same last name. A rather unusual one. But brilliant warmers don’t know the difference between Dan and Don. My long lost cousin is a bright guy.
I have worked in an unrelated field and had to deal with agencies and grants. So I understand some people’s cautions. For all the warmers whinning. They are the ones who have gotten people fired.
With an advanced degree, and experience in research. And worse “retired”. Greenpeace. You know who I am and where I live.

John Whitman
April 26, 2011 3:41 pm

I am comparatively analyzing two hypothetical situations.
The first is where someone engages actively in face-to-face discussions on a topic (say AGW-by-CO2) but on the internet uses a non-real identity to comment on the topic.
The second is where someone does not engage in face-to-face discussions on a topic but on the internet uses a non-real identity to comment on the topic .
Hmmmmm. In the first situation we cannot know the person is maintaining intellectual integrity between their face-to-face statements and their non-real identity online statements. So no accounting is possible.
Hmmmmm. In the second case we have a person showing implied anxiety as their motivation of using non-identity in the real world and also online. The behavior does not advance the discussion of a topic as well as an anxiety free situation that encourages using real identities.
Fun discussion.

April 26, 2011 3:48 pm

Willis Eschenbach
“While those are assuredly true, my question is not whether someone has the right to a pseudonym. It is why they are asserting that right, both here on this blog and on the web in general.”
So, essentially, you want to know why people are exercising their legal rights? O_0
Did you know that, apparently, of the more common practices for companies, organizations, and government, on the internet is practicing open source intelligence by searching blogs, facebook, and what not, for information about the people that are applying for jobs. The discussion these days aren’t so much about if companies, organizations, and government, should practice this stupidity but rather how to get facebooker to have an actual image of themselves rather than their puny baskerville hell hounds, and their real names and address’ on their blogs, because it has become too annoyingly easy these days for the knob and tool parade to mix up people, since too many of the internetians, apparently, have the audacity to have the same god damn names. :p
Are the services you use from Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook, et al, worth giving up personal information, information that is your “blueprint” on the internet, for, at every twist and turn? Commercial services aren’t for free, never has been and never will be, even if your experience of using ’em [feels] like they are for free, and all other services are taxed one way or the other.
It’s the one that legally collects and stores your personal information that owns that database, and such databases are a plenty, but they’re all legal to sell or license on the open market.
Would you choose not to walk into a neo-nazi parlor wearing a pink skirt flaunting your personal information every which way, speaking up for the jewish gay community? Does the world need to know why you exercised you right to choose not to?

Keith Minto
April 26, 2011 3:58 pm

Condensing these responses, it seems to me that either using a real name, a moniker or alias, we are seeking uniqueness. If a real name is common (e.g. ‘John Smith), confusion and mis-matched identity can arise. ‘grumpy old man’ was stolen, so the quest goes on. But if we are happy with a code name or a real name that identifies that author, and that author only, then that is all that is needed.
It is uniqueness that we crave.
(I use a moniker on another site, as do all the users, and the site registers them so that others cannot use that name, at least on that site.)

April 26, 2011 3:58 pm

Assuming you are continuing your poll in this thread (and you may not be):
Age: Over 65
Sex: Male
Country: USA
Career: Engineering Science, Aerospace Engineering, NASA Project Scientist and/or Project Manager for Space Shuttle and Space Station Scientific Experiments, retired
General AGW position: Skeptic. Based on my own detailed calculations and consideration of many factors, I conclude AGW is not proved and evidence is weak. If it exists, AGW and CO2 emission are, at worst, not significant problems — more likely, they are a good thing.
All in all, AGW is settled for me — its not something governments should waste time on — unless its a “scam” to justify enactment taxes and “green” laws, which is reprehensible.
AGW absorbed me for hundreds of hours of study and calculation. “Case closed” for me. Now, I’m on to other things. But, I still check in from time to time.

April 26, 2011 4:06 pm

April 26, 2011 at 11:52 am
Re: Piranha, defiantly keep nitrates below 15 ppm (10 is better) and turn the water over at least 3 times an hour (very high O2). They also are much calmer if they are in a fairly large group (at least 6 but 10 is better). I never had any problems except parents guarding fry, though I made sure that I was not tired or distracted before messing with their tank!

April 26, 2011 4:22 pm

I post under a pseudnom because I am concerned that my daughter who does valuable research in marine science (medical extracts and identification) will have trouble with research grants and other funding. She has already complained that research funds are heavily weighted towards global warming outcome projects (which have no benefit for anyone). My name is uncommon and a search on my name on the internet brings up thousands of hits about her work, papers, interviews etc.
I hope that my pseudnom expresses a friendly attitude.
I am an engineer who has some understanding of thermodynamics and heat transfer.
I take in and support the assessment of Dr Van Andel who has two interesting papers in the same issue of Energy and Environment as Willis.
I have calculted using Prof. Hoyt Hottel’s equations that CO2 in the atmosphere absorbs insignificant amount of energy so that the there zero sensitivity. It is good to see that Miskcolzci and Van Andel looking at real data confirm that.

April 26, 2011 5:33 pm

old engineer says:
“I would like to point out, that using a screen name, as long as it is always the same, is not the same as an anonymous comment. For instance, here at WUWT, I recognize Smokey ( I know he says that’s his name) and his comments, as much as Pamela Gray’s comments, and I have come to respect them both.”
Thanks, engineer, I agree with you about Pamela’s posts. But I have to make a correction: “Smokey” is the name of my wife’s scrappy tomcat, with notches in his ears from all the fights he’s gotten into [not so much any more, though; like me he’s gettin’ too old]. I’ve mentioned this a time or two in the past, but it’s been a while.
I always post my comments under “Smokey.” Thanks for noting that you can recognize an individual and get to know them, no matter what the arrangement of pixels precedes “…says:

April 26, 2011 5:35 pm

@ John Whitman
John, we’ve been through this before. I know John Whitman and you are not him. So why do you hide behind you plurality? Why don’t you assume “John Whitman #1642” or something even more identifiable and stick with it so we can know who you really are?
I converse via e-mail with scientists over this world and they all know who lowercase wayne is. They also know who I really am. I had the same problem you have, too common of a name. I was just one of the lucky ones that wayne happened not to be used for some reason, have never collided with anyone to date. Would it help if I assumed a pen name with first and last so you can feel you should then listen to what I say here?
Sometimes you are far too shallow in your thoughts on this matter. If you don’t realize it, you have belittled me, as a person, by your words on his manner, explicitly saying you will never listen to someone without two names in their pen. Do you think since so many people know who wayne is that I would say something I would not say face to face. Never. It is just an identity John and as much as your ego wants it to be, John Whitman is a plurality of a pen. Pick something totally unique (if possible) and stick with it.

April 26, 2011 5:36 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
April 26, 2011 at 11:17 am
I’m glad you liked the idea. There is an awful lot of religious organizations and the trick would be to keep the selection list fairly short and still be meaningful. Most of your respondents will be Westerners, so I would suggest being somewhat detailed where Western categories are concerned and more general for non-Western religions:
Roman Catholic
Orthodox Catholic
Anglican Communion (Anglican, Episcopalian, Church of Ireland, etc.)
Main-line Protestant (that would include Baptist, United Church of Christ, Methodist, Lutheran, Quaker, etc.)
Historically Black Church (e.g. National Baptist Convention, AME, etc.)
Evangelical / Holiness Christians (e.g. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Pentecostal Assembly, Church of God, etc.)
Atheist / Agnostic / Secular / Non-Religious
African Traditional Religion
Native American Traditional
Neo-Pagan / New Age
Spiritual but unaffiliated
This list includes most of the top 20 major religions of the world, but I’ve left off Juche , for example, (ranked number 10 in the world with 19 million adherents, according to ) because I really don’t expect to see any North Koreans responding to your survey. Even with the best of intentions there is still room for misunderstanding. During my race and ethnicity lecture I was trying to emphasize the similarities between White and Black Americans and made the observation that like most whites, most blacks were also Christian. One young lady got very indignant and accused me of politically incorrect generalizations. She insisted that most African Americans were NOT Christian; she was NOT Christian. I asked “What are you then?” She snarled back “Baptist!”. It’s not good form to weep in front of your students, so I threw her out of class instead.
As for the political orientation thing, I’m currently a registered Democrat, but that’s because a friend needed all the votes he could get in a primary election. Another friend once described me as a “right-wing social democrat”…. which may or may not have been the same as Gore Vidal calling Bill Buckley a “pseudo-crypto-neo-fascist” on national TV…. and, as I recall, they were the only two in the whole country who knew what THAT meant. I’m not sure your poll could successfully get people to reliably place themselves on some sort of continuum that is meaningful across societies (an American Liberal (Liberalus Americanus) as I understand it, would be considered reactionary in Sweden)…. so perhaps simply a check box for “I am a registered member of a political party” followed by a fill-in-the-blank box to put the name of the party…. that portion would have to be tabulated by hand, but you would be able to report “… out of 263 USA respondents, 3 were Democrats, 5 were Republicans, 2 said “a pox on all of you” and the remainder wanted directions to Attila the Hun’s camp”. If I can think if anything more sophisticated that won’t take up bandwidth I’ll let you know. I still think that the left-right, liberal-conservative, democrat-republican divide that we seem to see too often in these threads is really what the Marxists would call “false consciousness” – it’s really a statist elite versus the rest of us.

April 26, 2011 5:51 pm

John, I’m sorry, is that the very unique pen you chose? If so, ignore that above. (but I still think you should listen to everyone and get to know who to listen to or not by their words, not merely judging their pen name) ☺

Andy G ... now Andy G55
April 26, 2011 6:06 pm

There does appear to be another Andy G posting on local climate sites (or it was me and I don’t recall doing it, that can happen after a bottle of red ;-))
So henceworth I will TRY to remember to put ’55’ after the Andy G on any climate posts anywhere.. to make it a bit less ambiguous.

Alan Wilkinson
April 26, 2011 6:09 pm

It seems it would be a much shorter list to discover why people post under their real names. Mine is fairly simple. I got used to having to comment over my real name in “Letters to the Editor” hence have developed a “Don’t give a damn” thick skin. It also helps to be self-employed.

April 26, 2011 6:11 pm

I just want to be like everybody else, with a neato moniker that makes people think I’m a cool kind of guy. Kind of like going along with the consensus, I mean.
Really, isn’t that why everyone believes in global warming anyhow? And because the mass media tells us all it’s true, true, true.
Oops, wrong blog, I’m sorry. Thought I was on Real Climate.

John Van Krimpen
April 26, 2011 6:23 pm

The blogging world, every two to three years has this conversation, also on censorship or the snip functions. The censorship issues seem to be self maintenance by the blog owner/s and the better, read here more successful blogs run a well ordered free public house. Most bloggers seem to run post censorship either well or egotistically or selfishly. Guess which have the most hits and which don’t.
I have done work in privacy and security, previously. Not technical, but some of the high level stuff on the morality and safety issues and this issue is a trust and safety issue paramount.
Now we teach people, the internet is a dangerous space. And it is. The one crime on Pseudonyms that seems universal is sock puppetry. Double personality posting. I personally think the crime is more like an intellectual vote rigging thing, but it appears to be almost universally abhorrent .
Myself I use my psuedonym, in humor and whimsy and some times just to flame and my real name means I enter the debate with my most electrically charged point I have.
In the beginning we encouraged people not to give their real details and we still encourage children especially to be careful, I was doing some work in developing discussion to the new internet moralities. My space and face book have shown that though they are great tools, they are misused in bullying and associated results from bullying have been tragic, let alone more specific intended criminal actions.
What may be an intellectual debate on WUWT about comment identification if applied universally across the internet can and will have unintended consequences.
I note the blog owner Anthony Watts some years back appeared uncomfortable with psuedonyms. I thinks if he looks around in this charged political debate now on AGW he can see the real attacks and danger, now as historical facts.
Personally I am ambivalent on pseudonyms and prefer a cautious approach with personal details and identity.
Psuedonyms are not for everyone, fair enough, for any of us that prefer caution, we will use them and any blog demanding a real identity, should be prepared to decimate its readership and such a rule is counter intuitive about what the internet was designed for in free thinking and free discussion. Psuedonyms were allowed in the beginning of modern literature, say since Guttenberg. History is littered with ghost writers, ghost-talkers if you will, the reasons d’etterre are readily apparent. The world is very big and can be very dangerous for free thinker and free talkers.
The beginning rules of Net ID and email address are still valid.
Capn Jack says Yaar, “what me matey Nemo said. Interesting boofhead boffin debate, Yar bloggers can always contact posters by a personal email for a personal chuckle session but yer won’t”.
Final Note: This is the biggest in progress workshop this poor old species has ever seen, some wear suits and ties, some wear jeans and check shirts or t shirts and some come naked, it is the thought and knowledge and experience that is important.
Apol for length of post. Look at the bottom of most financial institution pages you will read a trust statement. Safe harbor statement. Most blogs including this one wont declare their own behaviours or guides. What they will or won’t do.
Me I started in the vexatious issue of identity ownership and Pamela Gray nailed this, I have to trust you to give you my identity not the other way round. I am doing you the favor with my visit, not the other way round.
I intend no offence, just observations.
[Reply: You write much more legibly than Cap’n Jack. ~dbs, mod.]

April 26, 2011 6:28 pm

I think that you have now made this so complicated that it will end up a meaningless exercise (sorry, but I had to say it). Several “issues” belong in several “bins.” Several issues are in the wrong “bins,” IMHO. No allowance for all the nuances involved.
I would just give it up, if I were you.

April 26, 2011 6:35 pm

Check out Hannity’s program tonight at Fox News. I just learned from a postnormal Gaia spokeswoman that I’m a deniersaur and a fossilfool! LOL. It just gets more and more fun!

John Blake
April 26, 2011 6:50 pm

Using one’s real name not only only encourages literacy, suppressing potentially idiotic rants, but makes it easy to filter out responses. Since crude and vulgar, nasty-minded individuals invariably prefer to post anonymously, comments under hippy-dippy pseudonyms are easy to excise, extrude, excrete on principle from posted threads.
Over the years, we’ve lost surprisingly little of interest by taking this approach.

April 26, 2011 6:50 pm

Plain and simple in my case. When a friend and fellow blogger received death threats from his right to life site, and then someone stole his identity and racked up bills in his name, I decided I would remain anonymous so I could have my career working for the federal government (as a contractor) independent of my views as a citizen.
It is actually quite refreshing to post my unvarnished opinions and not have to worry about some lynch mob of bureaucrats using my freedom of speech against me, my company and my employees.
Anonymity is not an issue, it all comes down to the content of the argument. What name is attached is irrelevant. And I am not risking my families future over prudish concepts by a few malcontents on the internet!
Cheers, AJStrata

Capn Jack Walker
April 26, 2011 6:59 pm

Yetis don’t have big feet, Skeptisaurs do. Their vibrations tear down fairy floss castles and bring out the criminal and violent tendencies in the stupid.
I would swear we live in a Jule’s Verne alternative universe. Nemo and me feel right at home.

Geoff Sherrington
April 26, 2011 7:23 pm

Scottish Sceptic says April 26, 2011 at 5:42 am that he does not agree that use of correct name in formal publications is the same as using correct names on blogs.
Use of a correct name on a blog is not simply an appeal to authority. One can reject the work of all people, if they use full names or false. There is no implied authority in using a full name on a blog post.
You did not answer my question about the difference between submitting to a blog or a publication under a real name. IMHO, there will be a greater incidence of false and mischievous blogs under noms de plume than under real names. Formal publications require real names to reduce the frequency of the known falsehood mischief, because there is a return path for repercussions.
The devil in me does admit that pseudonomynous blogs can be more entertaining that the straight ones under real names – but this is a science web site, not a Hollywood one.

Dave Worley
April 26, 2011 7:25 pm

Too many choices will ruin the poll.
Beside that, internet polls are not scientific.

John Whitman
April 26, 2011 7:35 pm

wayne says:
April 26, 2011 at 5:51 pm
John, I’m sorry, is that the very unique pen you chose? If so, ignore that above. (but I still think you should listen to everyone and get to know who to listen to or not by their words, not merely judging their pen name) ☺
Thanks for yourcomment. We can arrange for me to privately prove to you that my name is John Whitman.

Capn Jack Walker
April 26, 2011 7:47 pm

On topics of free speech, I find this post topic offensive, my right leg was amputated after I got a HTD, hospital transmitted disease. Guess what the name of the disease was. 18 Months till the saw cut. People demanded more off me in life than they would dare off another person.
I had a life of people trying to break my bones mostly failing. Free speech does not have to be rude or offensive and not by Maxwell Smart types who have never lived or worked under threat of violence or intimidation their life.

Capn Jack Walker
April 26, 2011 7:50 pm

Anthony and Willis and your crew I think we are done.
Fair wind at your back.

April 26, 2011 7:50 pm

Like many others, if I were still working in consulting engineering for clients that want/need to be “green:, I would have to use a pseudonym. My company does “green” energy studies and has received many environmental awards (for good engineering regardless of what name you give it.
My training and my 34 years of engineering experience tell me that AGW is political, not scientific. I had to study weather to do my engineering work, and it is pretty clear that CO2 is not the villain of the piece to me.
I retired to farming and given that my hay fields are still covered with nearly two feet of snow this year (last year I finished fertilizing weeks ago), it is just WEATHER. But the under 30 crowd have not lived long enough to understand weather variations nor have they read enough history to know how different the climate has been just in the time Europeans have been on the North American continent. In Southwestern Alberta, we cultivate the Palliser Triangle, an area the early explorers called a desert.
When Old Wives Lake in southern Saskatchewan dried up due to “Global Warming”, tree stumps were exposed in the lake bottom.
So, I have good reason to watch the weather … and I no longer have a reason not to use my real name. But I certainly understand that many of my peers in the environmental or related engineering disciplines could not use their real names for “political” reasons.

April 26, 2011 7:58 pm

I used to use another pseudonym along with my realname on a website I used to have.
Only to find some scumbags pirated/hijacked some of the material on my website to me and reposted it one of those radical anti-western forums of eastern european origin. The material was to do we radio communications. They didn’t bother to strip off the html tags at the bottom of the page that also bore my realname and amateur radio callsign. I ended up having to put a disclaimer on my webpage that I was not associated with that radical anti-western forum. That was only after I’d found out about it.
I had some rather unpleasant experiences in cyberspace there for awhile.

April 26, 2011 8:13 pm

I think it’s fine for many reasons. Under each pseudonym, there is a real person.
My second thought is: people should be able to modify/delete their WUWT comments for their own reasons. This is my only request for a quality website with fascinating stories, most of which, supersede anything you’ll find on a normal news site (minus drudge report of course).
Thanks for the great posts. Heed my request if others agree. It would be the icing on the cake. 🙂

April 26, 2011 8:29 pm

@ John Whitman, woops, forgot the happy face behind that first paragraph above. If you didn’t get that, I was just nudging you. ☺

April 26, 2011 9:08 pm

This is a hot button issue isn’t it. For me as you can see I use my name and professional title and well as my company name. The reason is not that complicated. I have always stood to be counted. I believe what I have to say is valuable and deserves to be taken seriously. I have the same right as anyone else to be utterly wrong. I will not be intimidated or silenced.
If others choose to use a pseudonym that too is their privilege. I am skeptical of people who do and also skeptical of those who don’t. Then being a scientist, I am skeptical of everything and everyone until it is demonstrated the skepticism is unfounded.
I too have a pseudonym, give to me back in the old days when we all had CB radio handles. I am even known to use it now and then. My name is fairly distinctive so I do not face that problem. Mostly I want to know who is behind the comments and opinions. It would be rather two faced to express that desire and make my own identity.

John Whitman
April 26, 2011 9:26 pm

wayne says:
April 26, 2011 at 8:29 pm
@ John Whitman, woops, forgot the happy face behind that first paragraph above. If you didn’t get that, I was just nudging you. ☺
– – – – – –
Sorry I mispelled your name in my earlier post. It was a mistake. Did that comment on my Blackberry while waiting for my bags at ALB baggage claim after a looooooong day traveling back from Tokyo.
It is nice to have a long standing protagonist like you. I enjoy dialog with you. No problema.

April 27, 2011 2:06 am

I prefer the Half-Weasel way myself. I use my given names and initials, in various order, on the internet.
I do make a point of being more polite in discussions with anyone using their full name, which I think they deserve, be they wrong or right.

April 27, 2011 5:30 am

“What else would make the poll more interesting?”
I don’t think it’s relevant, but I’ve been wondering about this for a while, and it would certainly make the poll more interesting: religious affiliation, or lack thereof.

Martin Brumby
April 27, 2011 6:06 am

I tend to the view that, if the bastards are out to get you, they’ll succeed whether you give your right name or not.
There are a number of regulars on here of whom I am in awe – but who chose to use pseudonyms. Doesn’t worry me one way or the other. They likely have their own reasons – a good variety of which are now listed.
What I’d really like to know is how many of the regular Trolls are actually riding on the cAGW gravy train. Sorry, don’t think the answers to Willis’s poll will show that up!
If Anthony Watts, Willis Eschenbach, Dick Lindzen, Roy Spencer and all the rest can use their own names when posting their bombshells, then I don’t see why I should be scared to make my trivial asides and comments under my real name.
And if Big Bad Bob “Attack Chihuahua” Ward or some other nitwit gets p*ss*d off at me taking the mickey and wants to track me down, then I’m sure Jeremy Grantham will advance him a few quid to pay for someone to find me.
If I might borrow an apposite expression from my cousins in Oz:-

Ben of Houston
April 27, 2011 10:12 am

I give enough to simply reference myself and give a general impression of my cultural standing (Texans are our own thing, and Houston runs on oil). However, I too represent a company that has decided interests in the climate change debate, and while I may not set compnay policy by my actions, I do have to deal with the regulatory agencies, so I am in a position where my environmental views are of legal interest, and I would prefer not to broadcast them to the world with my full, google-searchable name.

April 27, 2011 11:50 am

I utilize a pseudonym for several reasons.
1) According to Google, there are only two people in the UK with my real name.
2) I work in Scientific Research (Oceanography) and my views on Anthropogenic Climate Change are not in agreement with the organization for which I work.
3) KnockJohn is a handle that I have used on many more light-hearted / personal interest fora over the years and I rather like the name.

Dave Worley
April 27, 2011 4:45 pm

A foul wind blows here.
Wait up Capn’

April 27, 2011 7:37 pm

John Whitman, absolutely no need. I believe you. That is why I wanted to make sure you took that as a kind jab, a joke, cause I still remember your statement a year ago. Believe me, I have noticed you don’t actually do that, myself, cba and Smokey and us singulars get talked to anyway. lol.
I just thought others reading those words might stop and think deep on this complex topic and you were just what I needed. Please forgive me for not cueing you in advance (but that is kinda hard to do on a blog isn’t it without blowing the punchline) ☺
Can’t wait to see where Willis takes this topic, it’s like a porcupine.

Kelvin Vaughan
April 28, 2011 10:06 am

gerard says:
April 26, 2011 at 5:13 am
Although I no longer work for the government (because I was naïve and somewhat foolish and used my real name to fight wind farms in my area, while working on a bioenergy project) I still would prefer to remain anonymous because of my family
You should use the name of the person who sacked you!

April 28, 2011 8:48 pm

If i thought about it, I’d post under this moniker
Irrational people are easily distracted from the point and prone to judging the merit of argument on unreasonable grounds. The less ammo I can give to the irrational, the better.
But there are other, more pressing reasons why I don’t give out my full name. My name is unique in the world (or at least via google, but I’m pretty confident no one else has it). That makes me instantly findable for any loon who happens to take issue with me. I’m not particularly worried for myself, but I have lived with people who have been stalked and it’s not pleasant. I will do the necessary to prevent the people I live with having to endure that.
I have posted under this name consistently (and under barry schwarz on a couple of fora I’ve been at for years), so that my commentary can be traced and any contradictions pointed out. I want to be held accountable for my words.
There is no need for me to post under my real name. What material difference does it make? The great works are not less for having been written under a pseudonym. The authors are in no way scurrilous, cowardly or deviant. In fact, self-titling on BLOGS, for goodness sake, can be as whimsical as one likes. In does not impact on the CONTENT of the posts. They obscure the names of the makers at wine tastings for good reason. The quality of the wine matters when judging, not the character of the maker, or where it was made. They obscure the names to prevent the judges being influenced by their preconceptions.
The reason I started posting under this name, some 10 years ago, is that I was unfamiliar with security protocols on the net, but had heard stories, and decided simply to be prudent. It was barely a flicker of thought. I could not have foreseen that pseudonyms would somehow become a stick with which to goad opposing views.
And it IS a stick with which opponents are beaten, at least on this blog. The epithet ‘anonymous coward’ is always delivered to posters who don’t agree with premises/arguments/themes etc of this blogsite. NEVER to the people who cheerfully and anonymously agree.
This double standard, to a critical mind, is far more worthy of consideration than the rather obvious reasons people may wish to post pseudonymously.
To those who post under their real names because it somehow ennobles their input – a bad argument, a lie, a distortion or ignorance is in no way redeemed by having your real name appended to it, while good knowledge and sound reasoning does not require an identity card.

April 29, 2011 12:56 am

What about “I post semi-anonimously because I haven’t settled yet for an internet persona?”
Then we have the “I chose randomly to use a semi-recognizable nickname because this is the n-th registration form/nickname I have to choose, and I started to drift towards the first thing that comes to my mind, without committing to either full disclosure or a nickname that is impossible to trace. This is particularly true for places where I don’t know how the typical poster is gonna react.”
And then, of course: “I post with my full name because I feel the pain of dealing with people who are anonymous, hence unaccountable, immature and reckless, so I do what I’m expecting others to do.”

April 30, 2011 11:41 pm

Strange that some associate anonymity with cowardice, or that we “skulk around, frightened of (our) own shadow(s).” Dear me! I would think it simply a wise and acceptable thing to do, given the nature of the blogosphere. Since I am not a climate scientist, I don’t see that it affords you any advantage to know my real name for the purpose of general discussion.
Neither would it cause me to moderate my behaviour as some suggest, because my friends and family will instantly recognise my tag.
Nevertheless, my email is just two clicks away if you have any reason to contact me directly, to which I will respond using my real name. And the whois database (which was accessed immediately after my first post) will reveal the owner of my website, which just happens to be myself. So am I really what you would call anonymous? Or are those piranha salivating at the sight of my naked posterior?

Re: Toto’s list:
“A range of terms to describe peoples position on the GHG question:

Mostly too far to the left for my taste. I would pick “distrusting,” given that the whole edifice of AGW is built upon statements like those of Alexander King, Maurice Strong, Christine Stewart, etc.

May 1, 2011 8:25 pm

Great question!
Well, I figure if it was good enough for the most brilliant writer in the last half a millenium, it must be good enough for us mere mortals too…He had his reasons
Check out my own site for more details.

May 1, 2011 9:10 pm

Nice divide and conquer technique among friends!! Well done!!?/src
This topic as you can tell crosses the line with me, I apologize for my vulgarity and my lack of manners but my initial point stands wholeheartedly (which was that being somewhat anonymous and having the ability to say what I wanted too I did!) .
Willis Eschenbach Please drop this scientifically irrelevant subject.
Make your intentions clear what you wish to accomplish with such a pseudo-scientific exercise.