back to article Site news: Unique commenter handles coming

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 …


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  1. Scott


    I ama not a number!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Morning has broken / like the first Mark

    So who was the first Mark? Is there a Matthew, Luke, and John? Are their comments particularly insightful?

  3. Karl
    Paris Hilton


    Is paris == Paris? Worth making clear, IMO.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    @ Scott

    Clearly you’re not an English teacher either…

  5. Anonymous Coward

    I am not a number.

    I am Spartacus

  6. Anonymous Coward


    > You want to change your handle?

    I can't see how to change my handle.

  7. Tom


    Sounds a bit like the whole ID card database to me...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Previous posts

    So what will happen to the names on our previous posts? Will they remain the same, or will they be corrected to our new handles?

  9. Jaap stoel
    Thumb Up

    Super handy!

    Now I won't have to log on every time I want to post a comment.

    Thumbs up for lazy conveniences!

  10. Liam Pennington

    In before...

    Mark0001 is taken....

  11. Peter Simpson

    I'll just mention this

    Many people:

    - have more than one email

    - post from more than one IP

    - are adept at masquerading

    Good luck!

    // mine's the one with several passports in the pocket

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    you guys added my full last name to the end of my origonal handle which was a bit of an unwelcome suprise - I don't mind sometimes not being anon but first name and surname was a bit of a oncern especially considering the nature of the article lol.

  13. Greg


    Cheers El Reg. There are several Gregs on here, and I didn't realise the handles weren't unique when I signed up. Off now to get my handle changed.

  14. Reality Dysfunction

    How many people....

    ....were using anonymous coward as their title I wonder

  15. Scary


    Can we track comment threads we've posted to for new activity on the site?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, I see

    This is why Mark's comments have been becoming less rabid, it's just because there have been more of them overtime so there is a regression to the mean 'opinion'.

  17. sig

    Display nymous:anonymous ratio

    How about displaying a poster's tendency to post anonymously? Some posts ('My employer is evil, though claiming not to be...') I can understand, but others ('WTF?!!!! LOL!!!') I don't see what they might need to hide, save their obvious mental deficiency.

  18. Ray

    meta meta meta comment

    i am commenting on a comment about a comment about comments

    oh so post mo

  19. Anonymous Coward

    @Scott 0

    I don't mind being a number

    as long as it is number 1....

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Matt Ashworth

    At least he's not a self righteous t**t

  21. StillNoCouch
    Paris Hilton

    I feel sorry for Paris69

    ... or maybe not.

  22. the midtoad

    how to edit handle?

    In the Profile, I don't see any way to edit my 'handle', only my forename and surname.

  23. Alastair

    You mean to say

    That I could have been impersonating aManFromMars all this time?

  24. Sampler
    Thumb Up

    Can we avatars too?

    200x200 px?


  25. Rob

    can we have a tally?

    i'm pretty sure there's at least 2 other rob's on here, i'd quite like to see a tally of the names in use, for no particular reason.

  26. Steven Raith
    Thumb Up


    ...No-one else has my name. Occasionally useful.

    Steven R

  27. northernmonkey 1


    ...what will you do those with multiple-personality disorder?

  28. Alan


    would be nice if I'm the first Alan...

    btw you can already look for all posts by yourself/someon in a kinda crude way by googling


    or "Alan Parsons"


  29. David Jackson
    IT Angle

    So what...

    ... is my name now?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have my doubts..

    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.

  31. peter

    I wonder

    Will we find out if we truely exist in this reality

  32. Kenny Millar

    Eh, What handle?

    What do you mean? My profile doesn't have a handle.


  33. Professor Falken
    Thumb Up


    it worked for me...

  34. Lionel Baden

    im guessing

    this is because of people posting in the 100.000 web sites down as somebody else

    personally ithought you had to have unique handles anyway suprised me

    kind of a standard nowadays that you need to have unique identifiers on the site !

  35. Tim Bergel

    Can you make sure

    that the handle 'amanfrommars' is retained by the real one - wouldn't want to get confused...

  36. Dangermouse

    I'm suspicious...

    ...they have our details already, and *now* they want us to use unique handles. So when we bitch about Jack-boots and the sorry-arsed sadsack that is our Dear Leader, we can't hide anymore when the spooks demand details from the Reg.

    Consider my subscription cancelled etc...

  37. Ian Ferguson
    Black Helicopters

    I do hope

    There is only one amanfromMars.

    Perhaps you should also charge for 'verified' accounts to avoid celebrity impersonation :D

  38. Steve Foster


    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.

  39. Michael Fremlins

    What about anonymous coward

    I've always wondered how he managed to post so many comments!

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    About Time...

    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

    Tarquin Fin-tim-lin-bin-whin-bim-lim-bus-stop-F'tang-F'tang-Olé-Biscuitbarrel

    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

  41. Peyton

    my vote

    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?

  42. Rod MacLean

    Changing Handle

    I just logged in and all it asked me for were my first name and surname... information about how to change my handle - or have I somehow misunderstood?

  43. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Changing Handle

    "Tomorrow we are changing the way we manage reader “handles” for story comments."

    That's Wednesday, not today.

  44. Sarah Bee's Love Slave
    Thumb Up

    I've just done mine...

    but as you can't see it anywhere, this is the only way of checking it.

  45. BlueGreen


    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.

  46. r

    I also cannot see any where to change my 'handle'

    Are you sure it's a handle and not a knob?

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @AC 14:37

    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.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I see no options..

    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.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Peyton

    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?

  50. Stevie


    Wouldn't it just be quicker to delete the fake "Sarah Bee"s and be done with it?

  51. raving angry loony


    Dibs on "raving angry loony".

    So long as it's impersonation you're going after, not anonymity. Anonymous speech should be a cornerstone of any free society.

  52. system


    Any chance we can get a way to have line

    breaks (<br>) without having a new

    paragraph (<p>) added after each

    line? Double

    spacing is

    so annoying!

  53. davebarnes

    progress is not always good

    all very confusing

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ooo err missus...

    >You want to change your handle?

    Will that mean getting a firm grip of myself first?

  55. Havin_it
    Black Helicopters

    Oh, really?

    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"


  56. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Unique commentator handles away

    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.

  57. Dave Harris
    Thumb Up

    Only one namesake, I think

    I think there's only one other poster with the same name as me, so I'm happy enough.

    I'd echo Lis 0r's question though, about what happens to previous posts

  58. Anonymous Coward


    "I'd say the ratio of insightful comments over waste of times from ACs is effectively zero."

    And the ratio of insightful comments over waste of times from non-AC posters is significantly greater than zero?

    ...Mine's the one that looks just like all the others.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Business Opportunity

    Why not allow people to bid to keep 'Mark' and let the other losers end up with Mark2, Mark3, etc? Whoever offers the most amount of cash gets the 1337 handle.

  60. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge


    If theres another Boris the Cockroach on the site I'd be very surprised

    But it could be my long lost brother who lives in Sellafield

    Boris the Atomic Cockroach :-)

  61. Anonymous Coward

    Um, so...

    So if I post as ten different "Mark1"s today, what happens then? Will I break it?

  62. . Quirkafleeg .
    Thumb Down


    UTF-8 in names isn't handled, which is a problem for some who wish to have their names (or chosen handles) correctly represented; yet UTF-8 is clearly in use nearby (yes, I checked the raw HTML: literal “”).

    Then there's this insistence on ≥two-part names…

  63. Peyton


    @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 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 ;)

  64. Dave

    If it tells me...

    I'm sorry I can't do that, Dave

    then I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow the pod bay doors in.

  65. tuna

    For The Love of God, NOOOOO 2.0!!!!!!!!

    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.

  66. J
    Black Helicopters

    @@Peyton AC 9th June 2009 15:57 GMT

    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?

  67. Anonymous Coward


    "How about displaying a poster's tendency to post anonymously?"

    In what way is "sig" not anonymous? Don't be such a self-righteous hypocrite.

    Either use your real name, or shut up about anonymous comments.

  68. Gilbert Wham

    I'm not a number either

    A quick Google suggests I am the only extant Gilbert Wham.

    Probably for the best, really.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @ AC: Tuesday 9th June 2009 15:10 GMT

    Bastard, you owe me a new keyboard as I just blew water, through my nose. onto my new keyboard!

    No, I'm Spartacus!

  70. Rodrigo Andrade
    Thumb Up

    Mark #

    Can I be Mark II?


    I have the red and gold armor ready for deployment!

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Previous posts

    In the first instance, historic comments will have your old handles (if indeed they change). We will sort this out, one way or another, when we make comments publicly accessible from the site (rather than through a sideways Google glance).

  72. Anonymous Bosch

    Just couldn't resist changing my name....

    nuff said

  73. fluffy

    @peter simpson

    The issue they're fixing is multiple people using the same handle, not a single person using multiple handles. The first one is easy to fix, while the second one is basically impossible. Fortunately they're not trying to fix the second one.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    My Name is leigon for we are many

  75. Mark Malley

    Uh oh

    I think I'm one of those Mark's!

  76. kissingthecarpet

    I do find it a bit pathetic

    when some commenters sign themselves "AC" as if they're going to be hunted down. Usually sign off with some crack like "AC for obvious reasons"


  77. Neoc

    No fix

    What about the innumerable "Anonymous Cowards" out there? Or when a registered commented hits the "post anonymously" button?

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    But it *IS* wednesday here.

    (Posting from NZ)

  79. Trevor Pott
    Thumb Up

    Apologies to the *original* Trevor

    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.)

  80. amanfromMars Silver badge

    I am also a number of numbers. Aren't you too?

    "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.

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Tomorrw?

    It's also Wednesday CET and still no handle field just a combination of forename/surname.

  82. Mike Taylor

    Register 2.0

    Can we get vanity urls too, please?

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    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.

  84. r

    Still no Handel field.

    Who will I get my Water Music from if I can't find a Handel?

  85. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Re Suggestions .... By Anonymous Coward Posted Wednesday 10th June 2009 07:11 GMT

    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?

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I must admit...

    ...that without the shelter of cowardly anonymity, I would find myself more often inclined to shut the hell up, and that is probably not a bad thing with regard to the greater good and numerous lesser demi-goods.

  87. Smarty Pants


    its works gosh darn it

  88. David Hough

    So who is Number One?

    Having gone from a 500 server error to a new page, it appears to be working now.

  89. Intractable Potsherd
    Thumb Up

    New name ...

    ... new possibilities!! Thanks, El Reg - I wouldn't have thought of doing this if you hadn't brought it up!!

  90. El Richard Thomas

    Damn, I wasn't first!

    Curses to my parents for giving me such a common name ;-)

  91. Lost in a maze of twisty comments, all alike.

    10 PRINT "does it work ?"

    20 GOTO 10

  92. Dave 113

    @Matt Ashworth

    Actually, I believe that Scott may well be an American citizen, and a teacher of the English Language in that fine country.

  93. bygjohn

    You seem to be getting greedy...

    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*

  94. Scott 19

    Highly Suspcious

    There's another 18 of me?

  95. King Edward I


    New handle! Fear my mighty regal ways!

  96. Trevor Pott o_O Gold badge

    Handle Get.

    Now all we need is account merging, for those of us who ended up with multiple accounts over the years. :D

    Maybe with El Reg platinum edition subscribtion? *heads off to renew*

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    i dont get it

  98. W

    For shame, El Reg.

    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.

  99. Number6

    Or is it working?

    It used my full name, not my handle.

  100. Rob


    Hey Rob, you wanna toss a coin to see who gets the no. 1 ;-)

  101. Pirate Dave Silver badge


    I'm still a Pirate named Dave...

  102. J 3


    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.

  103. Schultz
    Thumb Up


    With that unique handle, the scorn will fly more easily. Moderators, start your engines!

  104. Andy Davies



  105. Anonymous Coward


    At least they only asked for your forename and not your foreskin.

  106. Chiefy

    Got there first!


  107. Eddie Johnson


    I detest the use of the word "handle" in this context. The internet is not a CB radio.

    Of course I also detest "nym" and most of the other alternatives just as much so I can't really made a positive suggestion.

  108. unitron

    FEWER than 10, not less

    Sorry for raising my voice, but the first option for "Number of Employees" on the "edit details" page is worded incorrectly.

  109. Anonymous John

    Re Edit Your Details

    I've retired since signing up, but "Retired" isn't an option.

  110. Paris Hilton
    Paris Hilton

    I dont get it..

    not a surprise really.

  111. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Re Edit Your Details

    We will have to tidy this up at some point.

    Not a perfect solution, by any means, but in employment details - change job title in "other" and type "retired.

  112. Sabahattin Gucukoglu

    AC Ident Code

    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.)

  113. This post has been deleted by its author

  114. MnM

    What will happen to Tim # 3?

    taking a bit of a liberty on his behalf but if any other f*cker nabs that callsign, it just wouldn't be right

  115. Nebulo

    A title is required, but is not provided

    Re: suggestions "at the usual place" ... which pub, exactly, is that?

    And for anyone who has ever wondered, "Nebulo" is Latin for "layabout", so I rather fear a rash of us, given the amount of comment on these august pages.

  116. peter 5 Silver badge

    Ability to delete comments would be a plus.

    There's one mad rant I'd like to delete, if I'm no longer able to claim it as the outpouring of another "peter".

This topic is closed for new posts.