Bloggers Don't Want Anyone to Name Names

Two of the best-known Daily Kos diarists, Redacted and Expunged, are uncomfortable with people knowing their real names.

Redacted discourages the press from identifying him, as he told the Philadelphia Inquirer:

... the 47-year-old blogger who goes by the pen name [Redacted] gave an interview on the condition that I not write what I know about him, because the publicity could hurt his blogging or his job. Let's leave it at this: he works in corporate marketing in the Philadelphia area.

He's also an ex-financial journalist, which he likens to being an ex-cop -- "you never lose your instincts, you never lose the world view. I am privileged to take a certain attitude about the world, which is usually one of bemused contempt. It's a wonderful way to make a living -- if you can find the right organization."

Expunged threatened to quit blogging when named by a political magazine:

A major Right wing site has chosen to support a troll's campaign started at this site to out me.

The writing is on the wall. I will likely be giving up blogging as a result.

Expunged's "you won't have Richard Nixon to kick around anymore" announcement ignores the fact he was outed in other places, presumably with his consent, before the magazine ran his name. He spoke at a technology law conference in 2005 whose organizers identified his job and Kos affiliation, was named on NPR's Morning Edition and has a photo on TPM Cafe that's also on his employer's web site.

He's currently engaged in an effort to put the genie back in the bottle on Wikipedia, which has drawn editors into a page deletion debate that hinges on whether revealing his full name constitutes a personal attack:

The page was used to "out" the subject, connecting his real-life identity with his username on dKos. He had worked to keep his real-life identity separate from his blogging. Once the page was created, being Wikipedia it became highly visible. It was then picked up by NRO. Since he saw it as a threat to his livelihood, he quit blogging. Using a Wikipedia article to "out" someone and threaten their livelihood is clearly an attack.

Redacted hasn't hidden his identity much better than Expunged. He was a long-time reporter at a national newspaper, blogged from Davos in 2004 and writes under an abbreviated form of his name.

I can understand the urge to blog under a pseudonym to protect your privacy and avoid job-related hassles, but when you reach a point where you're fielding speaking offers and press calls, you have to make a choice. You can either bask in the Sally Field "you really like me!" glow of mainstream media coverage, thus inspiring more people to seek your name and background, or turn away the press and do everything in your power to become a less-interesting blogger.

The ability of people to be both famous and attention-repellent has not survived the web, even in the tiny bubble of celebrity currently enjoyed by political bloggers.

Actually, I lied when I said there's a choice. Anything Redacted or Expunged could do at this point to obscure their identities would only make them more interesting.


"The ability of people to be both famous and attention-repellent has not survived the web..."

That most luminous of the stars, Greta Garbo, became ever more attractive the further she retreated from the prying eyes of the world. Today, the ever more present eye of the camera presages a new interpretation of privacy, as evidenced by the behaviour of young people online at places like Myspace.

As he did in so many things, James Dean created a template of self-revelation for the stars like Bob Dylan who came after him. What has been criticized as his self-absorption can be seen as a bellwether of the ever-expanding transparency of people's lives. Fifty years before the launch of Myspace, James Dean was investing a lot of energy in creating a record of his life that still stands today as a prophetic archetype for the desire of the young to have others know them, and discovering their true selves in the struggle to reveal their deepest selves to those they would have love them.

Why do people get so upset over being exposed? Its not that big of a deal

I understand the impulse to want to tell people that Real Identity blogs as Pseudonym, while not telling people that Pseudonym is really Real Identity -- a one-way street, if you will -- but if you think about it for a couple of seconds, you should see that search technology will defeat one's best-laid plans. Too bad that Redacted and Expunged did not think this through.

geez [redacted] handing you your ass over at Ezra's blog must have really gotten under your skin....

next I expect to see a post about how I forged the Killian memos...

Huh? [Redacted] thinks his real name is a secret?

On the other hand, I suppose there's some value in not shouting it from the rooftops. It may not be a secret, but there's a different between that and making the connection obvious for the casual reader.

Paul could you please post a link to ezra's blog.

I assume Paul means this thread:

But I find myself somewhat in disagreement with him. I thought Rogers had a killer comeback:

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but Kos doesn't even appear to have hired a publicist who could help him weather PR debacles like this Armstrong situation and get some of his own spin out there in response.

And you're the folks who are going to roll the Democratic establishment if they don't get out of your way?"

but if uranus is rising the Dem establishment had better watch out

too many of those Kos bigger names are scared of the inevitable limelight that comes with their increased fame. I wonder if they are scared because of work or they would rather their community did not know what they really did. Remember how Armando screamed before being outed as a walmart attorney?

and i guess we should not forget that Jerome B. Armstrong member of the reality based whatever was only a few years ago an astrologer practicing financial predictions who thought 9/11 was caused be the alignment of pluto and jupiter or some other wacko junk.

I wonder if they are scared because of work or they would rather their community did not know what they really did.

I think it's simpler: They'd rather be the kid with the magnifying glass than the bug.

very astute comment Rogers

Excuse me, gents, but reading all this puts me in mind of nothing so much as a flock of hens clucking in the coop, while the rooster is out in the yard, chasing bugs.

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