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Should a person sign his or her real name to a feature or a comment?

This feature is a musing about the wisdom of signing one's real name to a feature or a comment.
I ask this question because I signed my real name to a comment I made concerning the feature entitled "Portland Police Vie with Anne Frank's Captors for 'Nazi Raiders of the Century' Award. I have decided that signing my real name was not a wise thing to do.

On my own blog, JohnHays.net, I obviously sign my own name to my posts. A part of my website is used to expose the activites of white supremacists and other hate groups in the Northwest, primarily in Oregon. As a result of some of my posts I receive death threats and hate emails and other forms of harassment in an effort to silence me and my website. Since not too many people read my blog I don't get as many death threats or hate emails as some other people get. I do think, though, that I get more than my fair share.

However, a lot of people read the Portland Independent Media Center. This in turn has caused more people to send me even more strange communications in an effort to portray me as not credible and to encourage me to not post comments on features. (I think I might take the "encouragement" seriously.)

I have now decided that posting a comment or a feature anonymously is probably the way to go. It is difficult for a group of malicious people to harass a person who has posted a comment or a feature anonymously simply because it's more difficult for a malicious group to focus on somebody they don't know. About the only way to respond to an anonymous poster is to leave a comment or write a feature.

Also, from what I've observed, posting anonymously facilitates a discussion that tends to focus on the subject matter instead of on who posted whatever it was that was posted.

Long live those who post anonymously.



homepage: homepage: http://johnhays.net

i totally agree 29.Aug.2005 23:13

regular reader

i myself have used at least a dozen names regularly when posting to indymedia, in addition to many comments under randomly chosen names that i use only once. i used to use my legal name all the time, but there's no real point; the targeting recieved became its own hassle, as if all these struggles for justice aren't a hassle enough.

there are liberal intellectural arguments about having more "credibility" if you use your "real" name, but they're bullshit. the meaning should be in the message, not the messenger, when it comes to forums like this.

Should a person sign his or her real name to a feature or a comment? 30.Aug.2005 04:04

Tom Ridge



your department of homeland security

selected quotes of the famous 30.Aug.2005 06:04

Ferdinand Waldo Demara

"Boys and girls, honesty is the best policy. Only criminals use pseudonyms. Always use your own name."

- Superman, crimefighter

"Not using your own name in your social and political writings is an act of cowardly imposture".

- Mrs. Silence Dogood, discoverer of electricity and founder of Poor Richard's Almanack.

"Using anything but your own name in political matters is BOTH un-American AND unconstitutional."

- Publius, author of The Federalist Papers

"Always respect yourself by using your own name in any business you found."

- Ray Kroc, founder of McDonalds

"Failure to use your own name in politics should be an impeachable offense."

- William Jefferson Blythe IV, former president of the United States (1993-2001).

"Using anything but your own name in your writings is doubleplusungood."

- Eric Arthur Blair, author "1984"

Out Front and Public 30.Aug.2005 10:16

Lloyd Hart dadapop@dadapop.com

As long as people are afraid making there views public and are of the blow back that might ensue true democracy is impossible. However, the more examples of individuals taking a stand in broad day light the more we will see personal courage to speak our minds openly spread. Thus Democracy will grow.

I have had plenty of hate email and all forms of intimidation thrown at me but I will never hide behind a false front simply because that does not foster others to have courage. In fact it has the opposite effect.

The entire planet has been turned into America's Economic Planet Destroying Empire. There is no where left to hide expect to take a stand and fight. Take courage in your name. Be glad you are on the empires lists.

The lists will eventually and may have already shown them that they can't win because there are to many of us to arrest.

Mr. Hart is wrong 30.Aug.2005 11:32


There's not too many of us to arrest. They can easily set up big prisoner (of war) camps. When the police state hits us big time, with their Martial Law, their soldiers will go down their lists and round us up for camp. This is partly why I'm opposed to a national ID system, and anything that will facilitate their information gathering.

hmmm 30.Aug.2005 12:35

me again

I use a different name nearly every time I post. As Uncle Walt (Whitman) said, " Do I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself. I am enormous; I contain millions." or something like that.

Once 30.Aug.2005 13:07

Bison Boy

I posted under my own name only once on PDX Indy, and that was my first post. I rapidly thought better of it and started using a pseudonym. (I have used one other pseudonym besides this one, but I don't recall what it was.)

As I have said elsewhere, I am all for people taking responsibility for their comments. But I think a pseudonym is good enough for most discussions here. There are very real hazards to exposing one's own name on a forum such as this, and for most people who are not already public figures I think that risk outweighs the benefits.

always use your own name 30.Aug.2005 15:10



Its not who you are, But what you say, {THAT is All that Counts}?? 30.Aug.2005 20:41


Just Post the story with the truest content you can, It dont mean a thing Who you are unless your looking for Fame,then if all you want to gain is reconition I would tend to be sceptical, Just stick to incogneto, We dont need to give our Name , besides People wanting your Name only have one reason to use it and that would be to harm your our your reputation ,especially if it has truth in the story you put your name to, you become a target for a smear campain, If your as dum as people like the One who posted Under Homeland security, than you deserve what you get.

i think 31.Aug.2005 04:35

uncle walt said

"I am large. I contain multitudes."

IP Numbers 31.Aug.2005 05:17


Bellaciao posts IP numbers on comments. This is a good idea since it does away with the problem of people posing as others in their posts

Two can play this game 20.Nov.2005 11:37

Suzy Nickel nickel@toledotel.com

John Hays is the only person reporting on organized groups practicing White Supremacy and other covert activities. He has been doing so for many years.

The people he is exposing have been on a campaign to discredit him, as they do all of their opponents, and they have been fairly successful in some instances.

John has never relented, and now his carefully documented evidence is being taken seriously. Others who have experienced the same retaliation have corroborated this evidence, and everything he has been reporting will prove to be true.

This thread deals with whether or not we should post using our real names. We might as well. The people we posted against using pseudonyms traced our communication and immediately started sending out threatening e-mails and making threatening phone calls.

I feel that it is actually safer to post using a real name in the event of retaliation. If they can trace us, we can trace them...two can play this game...

Suzy Nickel