I ama not a number!
We have changed the way we manage reader “handles” for story comments. Each commenter will now have a unique ID published on the site. This means that some readers — about 5000 — will see their handles change. These are people who share the same handle as others, or who have registered using more than one email address, using …
As you guys know, some of us cannot speak freely. We can give you hints, tell you where scratching the surface may give new clouds of smelly stuff you can report on etc etc. But not with a real name.
I'm OK with a handle as long as it bears no relation to a real name, but that's not what I saw on the login/account details page (which, incidentally, is a b*tch to find). If that handle requires any coupling with the real "me" I'm out..
Of all people, you guys should know that speaking freely and having your own opinion has been thoroughly attacked in the Blair-Bush era. Freedom of speech, nay, even of personal opinion is no longer possible so without a means to go anonymous to a degree it would present too much risk to most people I know.
So, I understand the effort, but please be careful.
So firstly, I have to tweak site and cookie settings in my browser (Opera) to get this profile page to work (although cookies were already enabled for the site of which the login page is part), and then, when I do get to the profile page, I find:
a) my name is blank (which is odd),
b) there doesn't appear to be anywhere to enter a "handle" (or is this to be formed from my [blank] name?), and
c) despite the fact that I haven't opted in to receive any emails from ElReg, several "send me email" tickboxes show as checked.
It doesn't exactly inspire confidence.
There are too many people using silly name on this web site.
Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern Schplenden Schlitter Crass Cren Bon Fried Digger Dingle Dangle Dongle Dungle Burstein von Knacker Trasher Apple Banger Horowitz Ticolensic Grander Knotty Spelltinkle Grandlich Grumblemeyer Spelter Wasser Kürstlich Himble Eisenbahnwagen Gutenabend Bitte einen Nürnburger Bratwürstel Gespurten mit Zweimache Luber Hundsfut Gumberaber Schönendanker Kalbsfleisch Mittelraucher von Hauptkopft of Ulm
Malcolm Peter Brian Telescope Adrian Umbrella Stand Jasper Wednesday (pops mouth twice) Stoatgobbler John Raw Vegetable (sound effect of horse whinnying) Arthur Norman Michael (blows squeaker) Featherstone Smith (blows whistle) Northgot Edwards Harris (fires pistol, then 'whoop') Mason (chuff-chuff-chuff-chuff) Frampton Jones Fruitbat Gilbert (sings) 'We'll keep a welcome in the' (three shots, stops singing) Williams If I Could Walk That Way Jenkin (squeaker) Tiger-drawers Pratt Thompson (sings) 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head' Darcy Carter (horn) Pussycat 'Don't Sleep In The Subway' Barton Mainwaring (hoot, 'whoop') Smith
Ditch AC altogether. I'd say the ratio of insightful comments over waste of times from ACs is effectively zero. I'm not saying things posted under "peyton" are all that enlightening, but it just seems the AC posts cruft up a lot of comment threads with people just wanting to vent. Of course, the comments section is very free form - perhaps their functioning as a sort of psychiatrist couch is intentional ;)
Or - if you really want to allow for those rare whistle-blower posts or something - maybe a quota?
1. @Peyton: don't ditch AC. I don't like the silly posts but there are plenty that are AC+actually good, and plenty that are signed+nobbish. I (like to think I) post relevant stuff under AC because it's sensitive and because my handle will inevitably be linked back to my real name (just the way that it is).
2. If you're soliciting for other suggestions, howsabout unfixing the sodding width. Then I can dump greasemonkey.
3. Some kind of rating system a la slashdot would be useful so silly posts get hidden, either globally or per reader (for instance if Flocke Kroes or jake or a few others post then I want it up in lights. If Mr. digraph-with-probabilities AMFM posts I'd rather not see it). Globally would be infinitely easier in any event, but it's a big ask.
I, for one, am terrified that the ex-Bush whitehouse will find my snarky reply to your post expressing the belief that The Man is forcing your IT news web site comments 'underground'.
Seriously, people - there are important, legitimate concerns vis a vis intrusive security measures and restriction of free speech, but pretending that the issue extends past the bounds of the ludicrous only cheapens the entire debate and makes everybody fighting the issue look like a crank.
To change my handle.
Also apparently although I'm allowed not to have a Job Role (I'm currently unemployed) I HAVE to provide a Job Sector (which makes less sense than making me give my job Role) and I have to tell you how big the company I don't work for is and how big an involvement I have in IT spending.
Methinks you need to look at that part of the profile too.
Re-read the comment from AC@14:37 GMT.
Some people simply are not in a position where they can speak in public about anything that might entail a personal opinion or belief, or even personal knowledge, about anything, if there's a chance it could be traced back to them. If you're simply ignoring out of hand anything said by someone for the sole reason that no name was attached, you're missing out on an awful lot of potentially valuable content - and just because someone attaches a name doesn't inherently make whatever they've said intelligent or informative.
Being a blank gives one freedom to be honest in some ways. Aren't we tracked enough as it is?
I never realised we had such impersonatory powers either. Perhaps Ms. Bee could
now inform us, how many times she has had to veto a post coming hot on the heels
of a big long meandering post by (e.g.) "John" by a completely different "John" saying
"HAHAHA disregard that , I suck cocks"
What if we disagree with the who got it first assessment?
What about trademark, what if my handle is a trademark or covers one?
What about handle squatters?
Good gosh man, we'll need a troika to straighten these things out!
But I bet you slick lizards at The Register have already figured out the profits to be had in graft money.
@bluegreen, #3 - I can second that. Something as simple as a thumbs up/thumbs down would work for me (I find slashdot's insightful/funny/blah a bit tedious)
@ac - erm, to be honest, black ops conspiracy fud is exactly what I don't care to read, but for the paranoid http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudonym. Not that it's needed - on the web, your IP == you FAR more than any first+last combo.
In the end it's moot - so long as the moderator remains constant, I'll not complain ;)
Please do not even start turning this into another MyFeceBook 2.0 wannabe friends site.
There is no glut in the market, no need to fill a void that does not exist.
Tweak the names so everyone is unique(just like everyone else) and step away from the control panel .
Mine's the one with the "Does Not Play Well With Others" patch on the back.
I fully agree, but... Remember El Reg does know who you are even when posting AC (Ms. Bee acknowledged so the other day in some thread). The questions then are: how long do they keep the information, and would they give it out if so ordered by the powers that be?
P.S.: is "tomorrow" an obscure word in the English language? I'm kinda new to it, mind you, but I have already learned it. So I would say it isn't uncommon. But who knows?
I went back and reviewed some of my comments, and realised there was another guy posting as "Trevor." Found him as "The *ORIGINAL* Trevor" in a recent article. Consider this my official apology for having userped his "handle." Which is my name and...well...actually....
Good show El Reg. :D
*NOT* The "original" Trevor. (Sorry again.)
"Of all people, you guys should know that speaking freely and having your own opinion has been thoroughly attacked in the Blair-Bush era. Freedom of speech, nay, even of personal opinion is no longer possible so without a means to go anonymous to a degree it would present too much risk to most people I know." .... By Anonymous Coward Posted Tuesday 9th June 2009 14:37 GMT
Whenever that is the case, does it render the Blair-Bush era and its acolytes, well ....... Certifiably Idiotic in the Extreme would be at least one badge they could wear without any fear of disagreement ..... for surely, only an Practising Idiot is fearful of Free Speech and only a Certifiable Mad Idiot would try to Restrict it [IT and Free Speech], and/or Create a Paranoid Environment which would actively entertain and promote it, to maintain a Sub Prime Exclusive Executive Administrative Control/Power ...... although both Power and Control are mere Delusional Concepts in such Chaotic Circumstances, born and borne of Hubris and Ignorant Arrogance, for neither is Achieved or Achievable.
Fortunately, the Novel SMARTer Grids and Networks InterNetworking simply Bypass and Ignore such Follies to Render them as Quarantined and Branded Bit Players, Sad Heroes in their Own Small Minds.
Please give me a way of hiding comments from people I don't want to read.
I would prefer not to read anything from AManFromMars. I think a few others here would prefer to not see anything from Anonymous Coward.
I like the idea of digg-like ratings for comments, too.
FWIW, I use Anonymous Coward because I'm at work, and it seems simpler to not have to discuss my comments or justify my time to my co-workers. AC works for me.
Use your brain then, Anonymous Coward/free-loader nitwit*, and avert your eyes to simply ignore what you don't understand. It is by far the easiest way to remain ignorant of Alien Miens and Memes...... and ITs XXXXStreams. And which will all come out to Play with a Vengeance if Gary McKinnon is extradited and/or prosecuted, meThinks.
* An admitted leap into the Relative Unknown, aided and abetted anonymously by the provided cowardly evidence of "FWIW, I use Anonymous Coward because I'm at work, and it seems simpler to not have to discuss my comments or justify my time to my co-workers. AC works for me." The post is a Gimme, Gimme, Gimme sort of rant, is it not?
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I have no problem with unique handles, but I've just been into my account details and it won't let me unsubscribe from unwanted notifications (which I haven't received up to now) without demanding more personal information (real name, number of employees at my workplace for example), which you've been quite happily doing without up to now. I've just closed the page down for now: if I start getting unwanted emails from you, you will most likely lose a reader.
Anyone would think you were linked to Phorm or 118800 *spit*
OK, so the handle box is there. And it looks like I've not been allocated a numerical suffix.
Shame about the interim period over the past 24 hoursor so where El Reg published full names for comments instead of the already defined usernames. So anyone who had previously registered a correct name (in the account details form, on signing up back in the day) but used a psudonym so as not to resort to total AC status would have inadvertantly had their name published above their comments. Good job my comment was innocuous, or I'd have to cancel my subscription etc...
Guess it reminds me never to trust ~anyone~ on the intertrons. Especially disappointing/ironic, even if it is the on a website that has published so many damning reports about data security leaks.
I was the 3rd J, who would have imagined...
By the way, that IS how people call me. Not only that, but that's how it gets written down in most documents here at the university. So it wouldn't be anonymous.... were it unique. Anyway, now I wonder who the original J is, and what s/he has been writing here... Still gotta decide whether to keep my "J 3" or change it to something else too.
Any chance of being able to distinguish ACs using a unique serial number stamped on their cowardly foreheads? That way, at least the cowardly identity of the character behind the unique coward can be challenged by reference rather than timestamp. We can then do the usual searches against each coward, identify trends, heap them into a suspected terrorist database, etc. (You must, of course, be careful never to make connections between an AC and his non-AC person.)
(Sebby is what people call me, if I'd known it was a handle it's what I'd've used when I first signed up.)
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