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Using and Banning Handles and Pseudonyms on OpEdNews

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Let's talk about using Handles and Pseudonyms on OpEdNews

When we added commenting and diaries to OpEdNEws, we included the ability to sign up with a real name but also to use a handle or pseudonym, which is the widely adopted way of many blog sites.

But first and foremost, we're a news and opinion media site. Technorati has told us that they won't allow us to claim our blog, because they categorize us as a media site.

While it has become "usual and customary" to sign comments and diaries on blog sites with handles, You don't sign an article with a handle. Part of the privlege of being a media site is we are spidered by the major news sites. Yahoo took up over 40 gigabytes of bandwidth, spidering us in July alone. These major news sites expect high standards for articles. Google says it only spiders 4500 media sites. Those sites include daily newspapers, Time, Newsweek, Asahi Shimbun, Guardian, Haaretz, New York TImes, and... OpEdNews.com. We have to maintain standards that keep us in that small circle of approved media.

Requiring the use of a real name will probably cost us some writers. But it will also increase our credibility and the trust readers have in what we publish.

We live in a time when the mainstream media, which I call the lamestream media, have repeatedly let us down and disappointed. Millions have turned to both the blogosphere and the new alternative media. By definition, as new media, we are in a stage of development and self definition, figuring out who we are and how we work.


As one of the higher traffic new media sites, we have a big responsibility to get what we do right, so people CAN depend upon and trust what we report and weigh in with opinions on. Requiring people to use their real names adds accountability to our process. When you see a reporter's name on a NY Times article, you can assume that the personnel department has on file, a photo, social security number, and all kinds of info that confirms who this person is.

At OpEdNews, we haven't gone that far... yet. But our goal is to build a media/community blog that also earns a reputation as a brand for integrity and trustworthiness. That takes rules and self regulation. We'll be trying out ideas. Some will work. Some will not and we'll cancel them and try other things. But being at the leading edge of the new media, and intending to be conscious in our development, not only of our content, but also of how we work, who we are and what we do, this kind of self evaluation and continual evolving of rules and policies is an essential part of our responsibility.

At this time, we will be moving with gradual steps. We will allow continued use of handles for most diaries and comments. It looks like, for writers who use some words that are abused, we may require use of real names (we'll use software to do that) if they use those words, so they can't hide behind handles. If you are known, on other sites, by your handle, you'll be able to include that in your bio.


The editorial team at OpEdNews has concluded that we're not allowing any articles to be signed with handles, with one exception, a writer and project partner we've been working with for several years, and we know who that person is. We will consider pen names on an individual basis, and most likely grandfather some.

When we instituted the policy, we will not do it retroactively, so those who have posted in the past with pseudonyms will not be revealed. But since the new articles will be appearing with real names, some users may choose to create new accounts. We'll send out at least two emails to all members to warn you before we implement this change.

But I want to put this out to our readers too. What do you think about this?

Any suggestions?

What about requiring real names on diaries? Yes or No? The thought is that this will increase accountability and civility and reduce nastiness and "hit-and-run" unpleasant comments.


And what about requiring real names for comments? There are a number of options here--
we can require real names for comments on articles but handles on diaries.
We can require real names on all content.

Here's your chance to participate in the decision making process. Have at it. But please, and I shouldn't have to see it, but find it necessary, do it with a civil tongue.

 

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

Rob Kall Wikipedia Page

Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also (more...)
 

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I have long favored and mentioned to hit and run C... by Professor Emeritus Peter Bagnolo on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 1:06:50 PM
I stopped using my real name when I got an online ... by Cameron Salisbury on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 12:53:43 PM
It makes sense for the writers of full articles to... by m w on Tuesday, Sep 4, 2007 at 9:43:19 PM
I agree 100 % with Pete the Prof or better yet Pro... by Kenneth Briggs on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 2:43:40 PM
If we want to be considered as serious journalists... by John R Moffett on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 1:21:41 PM
using real names if some of those flaggable words ... by Rob Kall on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 1:28:04 PM
I like the idea that initially the automated syste... by John R Moffett on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 1:40:39 PM
though I prefer to use ardee on the web, not to hi... by ardee D. on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 5:02:43 PM
is the requirement to use one's real name cens... by Rob Kall on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 6:08:25 PM
The discussions of banning words or phrases doveta... by ardee D. on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 1:56:21 PM
Ardee, your thoughts are reasonable and insightful... by Cameron Salisbury on Monday, Sep 3, 2007 at 9:28:22 AM
I have been here, with a sabbatical or two, for ab... by ardee D. on Monday, Sep 3, 2007 at 9:19:49 PM
If we want to be considered as serious journalists... by Frank J. Ranelli on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 1:45:29 PM
The most obnoxious comments always come from peopl... by Frank J. Ranelli on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 1:49:40 PM
I've received death threats confirmed by a Gal... by Constance Lavender on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 1:50:09 PM
I am sorry for your troubles, but this is pure con... by Frank J. Ranelli on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 2:30:41 PM
....as old as it is illogical; but, I suppose when... by Constance Lavender on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 2:47:48 PM
And respect the writers--like myself--who have con... by Frank J. Ranelli on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 3:27:34 PM
Would you trust a story at the NY Times written by... by John R Moffett on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 6:16:12 AM
You wrote:Great writers will always apply their re... by Bleeding Heart Liberal on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 2:52:12 PM
And to this day we do not know who William Shakesp... by Bleeding Heart Liberal on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 3:02:03 PM
"Great writers will always apply their real a... by Nezua on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 12:37:00 PM
You raise a good point. Some people need to use Ps... by Rob Kall on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 3:31:19 PM
on my articles is my literary pen- name and  ... by Mark Sashine on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 1:50:56 PM
...yes, so very true, yet they won't directly ... by Constance Lavender on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 1:54:45 PM
 I think, we ( you and me)  can convince... by Mark Sashine on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 3:07:28 PM
Have you thought about just how you will assure yo... by Laudyms on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 2:49:30 PM
Benjamin Franklin used his pen name because he did... by Guitar Chris on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 2:58:44 PM
...the Silence Dogood name was used by Franklin be... by Constance Lavender on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 3:02:31 PM
I chose a "monicker" when I first began ... by Mary Pitt on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 2:59:49 PM
I always use my real name, all the time on the Net... by Robert Hoogenboom on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 4:36:22 PM
of the world with a lot less guns and bombs to kil... by tginmn on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 8:45:49 PM
I agree - to some extent. I can only say, I admire... by Robert Hoogenboom on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 3:49:24 AM
I can't think of a better way to lose readersh... by Sandy Sand on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 9:48:43 AM
 I am not a writer, but I like to comment her... by B York on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 4:57:01 PM
This is the 21st century. Any private or governmen... by Professor Emeritus Peter Bagnolo on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 4:57:58 PM
Name, home address, etc. seem reasonable. But wha... by Margaret Bassett on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 5:08:06 PM
While I realize that anonymity in the form of hand... by Lauria Hale on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 5:14:19 PM
Like I said, we're going to require real names... by Rob Kall on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 5:27:17 PM
I hope I don*t have to use my given name! I didn*t... by Jayne County on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 10:27:19 PM
Thanks, Jayne.   I am not prone to belie... by Mars Caulton on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 11:31:39 PM
I was one of the original 100 signatories of the 9... by Rob Kall on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 7:09:51 AM
If Jayne County wants to be Jayne County, so be it... by Sandy Sand on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 5:54:53 PM
Rob,As you know I go by the handle Troubled Texan.... by TroubledTexan on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 5:20:44 PM
the requirement for use of a real name (or approve... by Rob Kall on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 5:32:11 PM
Dear Rob:You are absolutely right to ban handles f... by S. E. Hoffman on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 5:22:36 PM
to say that only cowards and bullies use handles.W... by Rob Kall on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 5:40:30 PM
S. E. Hoffman,I assure you that I'm not a cowa... by TroubledTexan on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 6:51:15 PM
There is an old saying, if you can't take the heat... by Professor Emeritus Peter Bagnolo on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 5:47:54 PM
There is a HUGE difference between providing OpEd ... by ladybroadoak on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 11:02:29 PM
You never post unpleasant comments, and we have no... by John R Moffett on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 6:29:51 AM
drop me a private email with your phone and we'... by Rob Kall on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 7:13:49 AM
I didn't see this comment until today when I w... by ladybroadoak on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 7:03:44 PM
But if you click on my user name (which is my real... by Dana Pico on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 5:52:09 PM
Does this mean that the framers of our constitutio... by Howard Metcalfe on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 7:00:14 PM
to include a Bill of Rights, had been required to ... by Samuel Bryan on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 11:22:05 AM
   If you do Not like my article, for wh... by "Hoss" David P. on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 8:21:56 PM
if the name given is really the person's name.... by tginmn on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 8:47:00 PM
Some trolls will use obviously obnoxious names, li... by Rob Kall on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 9:06:11 PM
That's a big surprise, Rob, that you were this... by meremark on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 1:57:06 AM
news DO already include us. Our articles sometimes... by Rob Kall on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 7:21:58 AM
I was unaware of the mechanical details, about spi... by meremark on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 11:14:54 AM
The fact that we are included in Google’s ne... by Frank J. Ranelli on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 10:51:35 PM
1) I have an identity, and if required, I can ... by LinearBob on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 2:46:48 AM
1- if you've posted here, then you signed up, ... by Rob Kall on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 7:26:46 AM
Rob,I can go to gmail today and open an account sa... by Bleeding Heart Liberal on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 10:41:12 AM
And I do believe I have run into some of those Rep... by John R Moffett on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 6:37:13 AM
I see no problem with pseudonyms providing that pr... by Andris on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 9:38:46 PM
"Not all articles or comments are create... by Mars Caulton on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 11:55:41 PM
Despite a tertiary education my spelling and gramm... by Andris on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 4:36:38 AM
We have a link to send an email to the editor on e... by Rob Kall on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 7:35:27 AM
... That clavender makes - unless the screening pr... by CynAnne on Friday, Aug 31, 2007 at 10:49:49 PM
As you know i dealt with anonymous posters on anot... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 1:01:32 AM
Don't think of it as a ban because it's re... by davy on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 2:42:41 AM
I think it's bullshit! I can understand a lot ... by Pappy on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 3:54:10 AM
We know you're Pappy, and are perfectly fine w... by John R Moffett on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 6:38:26 AM
You raise another case. You use your pen name as y... by Rob Kall on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 7:50:17 AM
Pseudonyms are about as affective as wearing Grouc... by rabblerowzer on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 7:53:23 AM
I don't care who writes what!  I read an ... by joed on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 8:38:05 AM
The whole idea, this whole discussion is stupid, g... by Jimmy Montague on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 9:04:42 AM
To some extent, I agree that ifyou are going to po... by Rob Kall on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 10:03:39 AM
There are no new twists and turns on the Internet.... by Jimmy Montague on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 10:47:04 AM
credit Frank Zappa... He said the universe is fill... by Rob Kall on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 4:52:24 PM
Rob took the IP business right out of my mouth or ... by Agatha Payne on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 10:48:23 AM
You saidRegarding your five email addresses. When ... by Bleeding Heart Liberal on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 12:24:15 PM
I like using a "handle" for posting comm... by Sandy Sand on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 9:54:06 AM
that seems like a reasonable way to do your thing.... by Rob Kall on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 10:07:06 AM
You're starting down the slippery slope that w... by Jimmy Montague on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 10:31:30 AM
Can’t figure out what you are saying for the... by John R Moffett on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 11:56:48 AM
As they used to say in the Boy Scouts -- If the fo... by Jimmy Montague on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 1:13:44 PM
Profound, and thanks for the helpful suggestions.... by John R Moffett on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 4:27:34 PM
the members talked me out of it. I don't like ... by Rob Kall on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 4:56:04 PM
deletes them. If the moderate them, they only allo... by Rob Kall on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 8:46:41 PM
Your Personally, disrespectful reply to a non-pers... by Agatha Payne on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 10:41:53 AM
well, I read all the blogs and the most Liberal an... by Agatha Payne on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 11:07:45 AM
That's why we want your input. There aren'... by John R Moffett on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 1:00:22 PM
But in the end this is not a publicly traded corpo... by Professor Emeritus Peter Bagnolo on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 11:41:16 AM
Contrary to what some angry posters have been writ... by John R Moffett on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 12:19:13 PM
You wrote: "The desire of some here to leave ... by Jimmy Montague on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 1:33:00 PM
That deleting utter garbage and pure unfocused and... by John R Moffett on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 4:29:13 PM
I support the long-held tradition of the nom de pl... by Nezua on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 12:14:40 PM
I am only commenting on using handles/names for w... by Nezua on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 12:17:15 PM
on an individual basis. You can't imagine how ... by Rob Kall on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 8:32:36 PM
   While I relish my limited but necessa... by chariotdrvr14 on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 12:32:31 PM
It just popped into my head... which may say somet... by John R Moffett on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 12:41:35 PM
In my browsing of many sites I have found some tha... by ibrahim turner on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 1:04:48 PM
If I posted my real name I could lose my job. ... by Cameron Salisbury on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 2:34:59 PM
I am proud of my articles and comments.  I do... by Shirley Bianchi on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 6:55:33 PM
DOES NOT BAN SWEARING. JUST READ A COLUMN WHICH WA... by Professor Emeritus Peter Bagnolo on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 7:46:07 PM
I try not to. But I fail too often. Sometimes, whe... by Rob Kall on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 8:40:03 PM
I am speaking of in context anger within an articl... by Professor Emeritus Peter Bagnolo on Saturday, Sep 1, 2007 at 11:01:24 PM
But, feel free to use it here Rob. I think it will... by Cheryl Biren on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 12:15:35 AM
You're right. It can be exhausting, so I don't ch... by Pappy on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 1:21:57 AM
I write under a pseudonym for the simple reason th... by Diana Madison on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 9:27:47 AM
Your call, Mr. Kall.I've got nothing to hide.S... by C.Bid on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 12:16:59 PM
I was born in Pike County, Ky, about twenty-five m... by pratliff94 on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 7:15:18 PM
It can be poignant when you can't tell the pse... by Rachel Gladstone-Gelman on Sunday, Sep 2, 2007 at 8:08:04 PM
“History of the Rebellion”, concerning... by Samuel Bryan on Tuesday, Sep 4, 2007 at 11:00:30 AM
  You want to expose people who use political... by m w on Tuesday, Sep 4, 2007 at 10:06:57 PM
How about the idea of programmaticallyusing real n... by m w on Tuesday, Sep 4, 2007 at 10:47:29 PM