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In a message dated 1/31/2002 7:42:06 AM Central Standard Time, Wade T.Smith
> Hi firstname.lastname@example.org -
> >"Dr Tony Baloney".
> I'm the one who questioned the identity of what I thought was an obvious
> joke, and from all evidence now received (that is, no follow up), it is a
> blatant pseudonym.
> And I'm sorry, but, when I see something like 'Tony Baloney'- that's
> precisely what I think it is- baloney.
> In this case, I appear to be right, but, I'll certainly declare my
> questioning the validity of a name like that is not only correct, but
> just and ethical.
> - Wade
Because Dr. Baloney was essentially inviting us to consider the name phony,
you were able to question his identity without making an allegation and
without provoking an angry, ugly argument. But if the same person had been
acting more deceptively, he would have chosen some name other than "Baloney."
In that case, there would have been a real problem to you calling his name
and identity into question. If you knew who was really making the posts, you
also could not make an allegation against the person posting under their
legal name without causing major problems. In a sense, deception has a free
hand while authenticity has its hands tied.
Now all of this is not to say that pseudonyms, pen names, and screen names do
not have their legitimate uses. Consider "Mark Twain," for instance. Dr.
Baloney, for instance, was probably using that pseudonym to call honest
attention to things he considered phony. The reasons that people use
pseudonyms range from benign exposition to extreme treachery.
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