The Multi-edged Sword of Anonymity

Recently I’ve found that there are attitudes about how social groups interact with each other that conflate anonymity with selfishness or trollisms with what people do to each other in polite company.  What you’ll do to someone’s face is much different than what you would do behind a nym. What you’ll do inside the borders of a nation-state is also, much different in real life than would you would do behind a nym. I write behind a nym not because of what I would do in front of another person, but because of what the nation-state or corporations would attempt to do to me. What do I do?  I write about destroying them not by sabotage or boycott but by conceiving new structures for humanity to try and adopt as alternatives to them.

Someone has to know though, the differences between the nyms.

What is a nym?

A nym is a common abbreviation for a pseudonymous name, that is a persistent name not connected to a real name to provide protection to the speaker from retribution from other people or the state.  What are some famous nyms? Think of Bansky, a graffiti artist, political activist, film director and painter who’s latest exploit was this:

That's not a CGI, he actually painted the statue from helicopter.

Deepthroat was unknown for over 30 years after supplying information that escalated into the Watergate scandal that resulted in this usual artifact:

(this almost never happens)

This should be the wet dream of all journalists everywhere.

Some nyms like George Eliot (who was actually Mary Ann Evans) aka were conceived to conceal gender in the 19th Century when women were stereotyped as writers only of lighthearted romances.

Perhaps it is for our protection but Google+ and Facebook both have anti-nym policies because they’re corporations in symbiosis with the nation-states—they cannot take the risk of bad publicity for outing a popular nym.

Nyms Classified: Renowned vs. Infamous vs. Sockpuppets

A renowned nym is favored+famous. Think Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) who authored much criticism of mankind.  This may not always happen within the nym’s lifetime and more often that not, only happens posthumously.

An infamous nym is unfavored+famous. Think Son of Sam (David Richard Berkowitz) who terrorized New York City from July 1976 to August 1977.

The sockpuppet nym is unfavored+unfamous and mulitplies like cancer finding only a common relationship in behavior.  Since it is only behavior that provides the evidence of a sockpuppet, copy-cats can (and do) spread the behavior far and wide, most often for “the lulz”—that is, the fun of causing emotional distress.

Nyms of The Fourth Kind: Astroturf, Activist, Seeker, Misleaders

The unfamous+favored nym can be divided into three sub-classes: astroturfing nyms created for favorable publicity and ordinary run-of-the-mill nyms created by individuals who just don’t want their real identity associated with potentially embarrassing information such as how to manage their premature ejaculation problems or hemorrhoids, they are the “seekers” for information and understanding. Misleader nyms routinely publish information to damage people’s perceptions of reality. Think of stock market pump n’dumpers.  On Internet forums like Reddit, nyms often are all of these kinds and can build up and tear communities apart in hours.

Activist nyms are like mine, Aleph Acrylicist, which I use to publish about these monetary trust systems or like George Washington, who writes an amazing blog about the world’s deteriorating political, financial and environmental situations.  We couldn’t do what we do without the nyms, because almost certainly we’d both be attacked for what we write.

You Cannot Have Anonymity On The Internet Without the Shit Associated With It.

Some people want to rid the Internet of nyms because of the bullying or the annoyances. Many nation-states also toy with the idea because they would also like to rid the Internet of their critics and activists. It cannot be done without destroying the Internet and not even then, because people who need to speak without retribution will always find a way to get their message out with whatever technology is available.  Accept that there will always be sockpuppets or astroturfers or misleaders, but know that some nyms are positive nyms, and you’ll know them by their name by how long they work at what they do and know that in the Real World, people act much differently in their person than by their nym.


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