We Need Online Alter Egos Now More Than Ever

‘Insisting that people use their real names online to prevent trolling and ensure civility ignores the fact that using real names online is quite different than using them in person. In the physical world, space and time separate facets of our lives, providing everyday privacy. Even though you use your real name in conversations you have in person with your podiatrist or pastor, those conversations and opinions are not accessible to your co-workers and neighbors. Online, however, … words persist forever, in vast searchable databases. Anything you say or do using your real name is permanently attached to it.’ — Judith Donath, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard and is the author of “The Social Machine, Design for Living Online” (WIRED).