Google Plus‘s decision to kill off accounts that are not “real names” follows a broader online trend of websites requiring users to utilize their birth names rather than “LimpBizkitDude69″. The idea is that this will make people more “responsible”. But in addition to its being a longstanding internet tradition, there are legitimate and important reasons why people use online pseudonyms. Apophenia compiled a bunch:
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“I’ve been stalked. I’m a rape survivor. I am a government employee that is prohibited from using my IRL.”
“I am a high school teacher, privacy is of the utmost importance.”
“I have used this name/account in a work context, my entire family know this name and my friends know this name. It enables me to participate online without being subject to harassment that at one point in time lead to my employer having to change their number so that calls could get through.”
“I do not feel safe using my real name online as I have had people track me down from my online presence and had coworkers invade my private life.”
“As a former victim of stalking that impacted my family I’ve used [my nickname] online for about 7 years.”
“[this name] is a pseudonym I use to protect myself.