Breaking anonymity

Hi there. My name is Greg Wolfe.

When I started this blog I decided to be anonymous. Today I’ve decided to break that anonymity and public state who I am. Read on to learn why.

My reasons:

  • I did a very poor job of being anonymous
    I did such a poor job of being anonymous that anyone who spends a trivial amount of effort could find out who I was. My site is registered under my name. In many places I’ve posted both my name and my site. I link to my site in the signatures of emails that I send from my various email addresses even when the emails are completely unrelated to election reform. Since the ‘cat is already out of the bag’ my realistic options are to accept that I am not anonymous or to close shop and start a new site/brand/identity that is anonymous. The later does not appeal to me at all since I have invested considerable energy into this site.
  • Being anonymous conflicts with promoting election reform
    I’m passionate about election reform and I allow this to express itself in contexts beyond this blog that are associated with my name. If I chose to be anonymous then these activities would be incompatible. In particular I have plans to participate in election reform activities in the real world where such anonymity is not practical. For example I have plans to start/attend election reform ‘meetups’ in Sacramento.
  • My reasons for wanting to be anonymous will vague and poorly thought out
    I never fully analyzed why I felt a desire to be anonymous. Reflecting on it I believe that I was motivated by two fears:

    1. Fear of arguments bleeding into the real world
      I write about election reform ideas which are political ideas. I sometimes advocate for ideas that are unpopular. I sometimes debate (argue? fist fight?) with other people about these ideas. On the internet people sometimes can get fanatical about their viewpoints. I’m not keen on finding unpleasant real-world expressions of arguments from the Internet.
    2. Fear of identity theft
      It does not take all that much information to conduct an identity theft. I’ve known some people who have had to deal with this and it is not pretty. I wanted to avoid it if possible.

    Both these fears are somewhat irrational. The first one in particular could even be seen as egotistical. I should be so lucky as to have expressed opinions that make people passionate to move away from their keyboards and into their cars.

    The identity theft concern is frankly still there, but as I already noted, my website registration already reveals who I am. I plan to manage this risk by using a credit monitoring system.

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2 responses to “Breaking anonymity

  1. Note: If anyone is setting up future domains for sites where they legitimately with to be anonymous they could use one of the many domain anonymizer services such as DomainsByProxy.com .

  2. Pingback: A follow-up on identity theft prevention « All About Voting

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