P.S. In any case, I don't think we even need to think in terms of malevolent government agents when talking about screen names. I think that might be carrying the discussion a bit too far. The simple fact is that in a community, people behave better, form closer bonds, and the community works better without anonymity and secrecy. I'm not saying that community can't work with anonymity (we're doing reasonably well), but I think that less anonymity is always better than more anonymity, like I've said.
In the bigger picture, anonymity cuts both ways, too. Governments can do unlimited mischief in the name of protecting the "privacy" of the people they are keeping secret records on. In New England, where I come from, the concept of anonymity in a community is virtually unknown. Unlike some other states, nobody has a right to live anonymously in a town, and most government records relating to individuals, including birth date, occupation, property assessments, etc, may be viewed by all. This is the result of a long and august tradition among our ancestors who knew that communities and governments worked far better that way. How much better our country would be if the federal government, including agencies such as the FBI, operated that way.
I understand and sympathise with your desire to have people reveal their true identities. However, I think the real reason for anonymity on Blogs is not some paranoid fear of government, but a more genuine concern that the internet is not a safe place. There are plenty of crooks and fraudsters looking for identities to steal and email to spam. A financial website would seem a prime target for such undesirables.
As an IT professional I always warn people NOT to post their real email address on the 'net, and to post under a pseudonym. It is not complete protection, but it makes life a lot easier and attacks less likely.
So the motive for most people is likely to be
B) They feel freerer in expressing views
The second of these is a two-edged sword, as people are more likely to be abusive, provocative and down-right offensive. That is why fora need moderators, and rules. The plus side is they are more likely to express their real views, rather than what they think others want to hear.
That said, I do value people who are open and post as themselves. It takes courage, and it shows commitment. It is wrong for anonymous posters to attack or denigrate this.
Anyway, respect to Michael, and to you, and also to Erik. He might not be everyone's cup-of-tea, but he seems well-intentioned, which is the most important thing.
In short it is very easy for someone to link your name and things you say in posts and combine that with public records like digital phonebooks. Name, age, work etc are retrieved from tens or hundreds of posts and can be used to get creditcards, hotelreservations, loans, etc.
Brainless, as long as we are going to be anonymous, why not be anonymous for a good reason. The reason above doesn't quite make sense. If it is possible for a person's identity (credit) to be stolen simply with a name and an address, then why would an identify thief not simply flip through the telephone book?
The following information about a person is always public:
Date and place of Birth
Voter registration, and political party
Full transcripts of court proceedings of any kind, and any financial and psychiatric records which might be attached thereto.
Property assessment and property taxes paid
The idea that a person has a right to live anonymously in a community is a very new idea, and is at odds with centuries of tradition. That is another reason why the federal government's newfound secrecy is so shocking. People discovered long ago that government functions better, when the people know exactly what it is doing, and exactly who is it doing it to.
So, to get back on topic, a name (and all of the above information) is simply not enough to steal a person's identity. More is needed. If you have a social security number for a person, then you are just getting started.
Incidentally, the entire problem of identity theft was created by, and was a byproduct of, the umpteen years of unbelievably loose credit, where credit issuers could not be bothered to check on the person asking for credit. (Yet another symptom of a loose monetary policy.) The credit crisis has largely put a stop to that. And, in any event, most cases of "identity theft" are not identity theft at all, they merely involve gaining improper access to an already existing credit account and spending money (through password phishing, etc).
But let's suppose it's still 2006, and you want to protect your identity. First of all, merely using your real name does not give access to enough information to steal a person's identity. Even with a social security number, identity theft involves making credit companies believe that you've moved, and then diverting correspondance to this "new" address. Filing a "fraud alert" with any one of the credit reporting agencies will put a stop to "pre-approved" mail offers which identity thieves rely on, and also requires credit companies to contact you personally before extending new credit or accepting a "change of address" request. Unless a thief is going so far as sneaking into your home, answering your telephone, and impersonating your voice, this will kill virtually all "identity-theft" schemes before they even get off the ground. Nobody is going to go through all that trouble. There are far easier trout to catch.
Think a minute about our public servents and politicians. Most of them have their full names, home addresses, past employment, financial information, and more, available for all to see. If that were enough to steal an identity, wouldn't you think they'd be having problems?
Not posting your name on the internet for that reason is like removing all electricity from your house (including battery-powered flashlights) because you're worried about an electrical fire. Sending information such as credit card numbers, account numbers, SSN, etc by email or other electronic transmission is a terrible idea, but a name and address just isn't enough to cook the goose!
I will choose where I am when the "water level" rises; I will choose what level of self-deception "the elements in society" achieve; I will choose "the bridge" on which I "will be confronted."
When considering what level of participation one is willing to risk when confronting an out of control government, two concerns should predominate:
How do I really feel about this?When conscience calls, what will be my strategy?
And the shame of it all? If the time comes when "the pen" and the opposing voice are, in effect, suicidal with continued use, it will be just as seen above; that is to say, citizen against citizen while the "King" hides behind the ranks. Thus, winning this particular confrontation will take a new approach if those whom have been most abused are to not become even more the victims. Don't expect conventional solutions to extraordinary problems; don't expect a naive abiding by some arbitrary rules of frankness and honesty that are the equivalent of Civil War skirmish lines.
Of course, merely by posting to this board I render myself an impossible participant in any strategy that might be employed by those who would seek a better form of government in any of those unconventional ways...right?
That's fair enough.
I can see this, too. After sleeping on the subject, its occurred to me that likely most of the people on this site (including myself) would not hesitate to discuss anything openly and non-anonymously in a living room with other members of the community. The problem is that posting things on the internet is not like talking about a subject in a living room, where the recipients of your comments are known to you. It is more like publishing your views in a newspaper. Your comments can be viewed forever, by anybody in the world, searchable by keyword. Not everybody has the luxury of publishing half-polished ideas in what is essentially the largest newspaper in the world.
I agree. While the discussion on the subject of anonymity is certainly important, it should have its own place, and the post dedicated to Michael Hohne should have its own and be dedicated to a discussion of how contributions to the spread of economic intelligence may be facilitated.
I hoped to see another discussion starting here, but I'm not too surprised it headed into the current direction. But it's not bad at all and being somehow involved in the topic, I want to share my own opinion. The real topic of this discussion is whether or not to use screen names and it turns out that many people have fears about their own government. This is bad. Man that is really really bad. On the other hand it's exactly this feeling that's needed to stand up and fight for your rights. See what happens in Greece. It's out of control now and who knows what happens in the next weeks. Who knows what happens in the US and Germany? Nobody really knows. So it comes back to your personal plan (chapter 20) and you may have to do another assessment of your personal risks. I don't blame anyone for not using a picture and real name. My personal feeling though is that most don't want to hide their thoughts from friends and colleagues to not being treated as an idiot. This is contradictory to building a community.
I for myself have a community and many people are following my blog. Totally different content, but I gave them a chance to register though it's not needed to access anything. Astoundingly there are 336 users and most of them added their country, city and even company. Some people may argue that showing a real name and company could eventually make other people think that they have to consult my web site in order to find solutions they weren't be able to find themselves otherwise. And exactly these feelings lead to information hiding, thinking that the more you know personally and don't tell others raises some personal value. It does not. Before I started my blog, there were roughly a few dozen people knowing me. In the last 3 years I got in contact with about 1,000 people, mostly by email. Most of them don't know me personally, but it doesn't really matter. I was able to use this momentum to start a new business and people started telling friends and colleagues about it. That only worked because I shared my knowledge instead of hiding it.
The content on PeakProsperity.com is very different than what's available on my site, on so is the community. Most people only consume, very few do actively participate. But some do tell their friends and help getting the message out. Most will wait until it's too late though. The one thing that many reader may not recognize is the fact that if millions know what's going on instead of thousands, then there is no way of controlling the message anymore. You can't jail millions of people for telling what they think. But that needs a change in your mindset to accept, otherwise the motivation is "let them die first and hope to get through this". And maybe it'll even work, but the world won't change then. It will just repeat itself over and over again. There are a few people out there wanting exactly that to happen, while the majority is kind of a modern slave.
It's exactly as said in the Crash Course: debt equals future work. And this means a lot of work for us, our children and their children. And if resources are depleted, it will be us facing the consequences. You can go as far as saying that food shortages are a really good way to get rid of the problem of exponential population growth. I'm denying such thoughts as good as I can, but sometimes it seems like exactly this is going to happen. Most people deciding on it won't be affected, so there's no need to hurry. The only way to change this setup is sharing information, like in Germany, where WW2 and the Nazi regime is put back on our minds over and over again to not repeat the story in the future. The reason for showing pictures and names is giving other people a way to ask about the problems if they recognize you. This is an essential truth for any kind of community. I totally respect the concerns though, but it also tells that some fundamentals are entirely wrong.
The way to change things is spreading the message as fast as possible and that means really fast. And that's the main reason why I donated and encourage anyone out there doing the same. It's totally possible that things get really bad in the future, but it doesn't have to. If carefully planned, then we can get through the crisis without major impacts. And we could have a chance afterwards to build a better world.
@krogoth: I read your posts and you are contributing a lot of valuable information. I don't want you to leave. I don't want anyone to leave. It's natural that discussions sometimes get personal and decisions are made that don't profit anyone. So if my donation and the following discussion was the reason for you to leave, then take my deepest excuse for making it public. But please stay.
What the heck is going on? The order that these posts are appearing in makes no sense at all! Is there a bug somewhere?
They were moved here from the heroes link
I read the first few postings here and really
couldn't be arsed to read any further. I did spot that one of the
guys has left and unlike many of you, I am pleased because we are
spending too much of our energy arguing when it should be spent in
pushing forward the message.
I am never afraid to give out information. I use
my first name Ampers (Taylor) - a very unusual name that can identify me
immediately to the authorities as I make no secret of my beliefs. And
my photograph as you can see is clear and makes identifying me
I appreciate that some would rather not, and that
is their privilege, and they shouldn't be – and weren't
– condemned by Erik.
This entire thread was generated by a mass of
misunderstanding and should be removed.
However it cannot be removed unless we all agree –
so rather than all of us “agreeing” and causing more
needless debate, what about only those who want to keep it here
speaking up. If nobody disagrees within a month, then Erik can delete
everything that will confuse new people who become Brigade Members?
Just a thought.
Although this thread has become more of a distraction from the purpose of the original article, or even this site for that matter. I believe this discussion has been necessary!
Are we just going to research this economic collapse for the purpose of knowing the cruise ship we are on is headed into an iceberg without coming forward, or are we researching for the purposes of persuading others to join in and warn the captain that we are headed on the wrong course.
The efforts of one person standing alone and forecasting the perils of the future is not enough (ie. peter schiff, roubini, chris martenson). We have to come together as an organization and stand together, and organize others in the cause. That's why I distribute the DVD's to my friends and colleagues, I will throw money in the offering plate when I can, it's the least I can do.
You cannot organize a league of anonymous citizens. You need real people. The people coming forward right now and posting real names and real pictures are coming forward as leaders in this cause. Although Krogoth brought forth interesting analysis of the issues everyday, he will remain in the shadows of the ship and come forth once the ship has capsized and say "I told you this would happen!".
The bottom line is that this. Our current system is persuaded by money more than anything else. Think about it. He who collects the most campaign contributions wins the presidential elections in our modern society. Legislation needs the lubrication of large amounts of money to pass. Wall Street knows this, Big Oil & Energy knows this, CitiGroup definitely knows this, Environmentalists have only begun to realize this.... heck even Major League Baseball knows this. We need people like Michael Hohne or our voices will not be heard.
...my name is Steve Patterson and I live in small town Illinois.
I absolutely agree with Kemosavvy - this thread has been entirely necessary, if only to help those of us who really never questioned our reasons for posting anonymously.
If you can't tell, this is not my real name. :) Anyone who knows me in the least knows it is a nickname that has been with me since High School (about 15 years), so not exactly 'anonymous' to everyone, but still anonymous enough, and a name I am comfortable with.
Having said that, I will change here and 'come-out' as it were, with my real name. Why? After reading through all the responses I have come to identify why I am anonymous in most places I go - Yahoo IM, Livejournal, random forums about very specific life issues and hobbies, etc. The reason simply is that we might 'bond' over a particular narrow and possibly 'worthless' hobby or idea (worthless to the idea of self-preservation and liberty, not worthless in-of itself) but I don't know anything else about these people. And I don't need to 'rock the boat' with someone by over-being. For example, most of the ladies (and some men) I chat with in a Yahoo Group dedicated to housework and cleaning are Christians. Overtly Christian. I am Wiccan. You can see how even though they might "God Bless" all over the place, as some are prone to do - I politely refrain from poking them with a stick about my differences. I could easily be self-righteous and turn it into a diatribe on how self-important I think Christians are and how narrow-minded they seem when they wish everyone a "Merry Christmas" or some other holiday without a thought in their heads we might celebrate something else. The level of assumption out there just slays me. (and it's certainly not confined to religious belief) And that, is definately not the type of forum for that discussion. This might not be the forum, either, but at least here we are indeed *asking* each other to talk about things that would be considered *heavy* and *flame-inducing* on just about any other forum.
Therefore, I see 'hiding' myself and my inner beliefs to be contrary to the cause. Sure, I may not announce everywhere that I had a gay parent and I have no problem with marriage equality and I thought the idea that one type of person being 'different' or 'not as entitled' as another went out with the Civil Right Movement - but I might be called upon to do that here. And since I am certainly *not* ashamed of my beliefs or the life I have lead that has shaped those beliefs - why shouldn't I stand up and be myself? I would rather loose a customer from my business (self-employed) because they somehow decided to Google me by name and see if I was some sort of heretic, then work to keep the ignorant masses supplied with their technology. (We currently own a home theater company)
An interesting note to the above - this site was recommended to me *by* a customer. :)
You are welcome here just as you are; Wicca, gay, straight, New Age, what ever. I am Christian, but if you have read any of my posts you will discover I am an intoxicated Christian at odds with Christianity. Some here accuse me of proselytizing. I could care less who anyone is; to be sure my job is not to save your soul. God knows I can not save my own. I also am not here for those who are in no need of a physician. However on occasion I share my identity as one who is intoxicated with God and when Christ is errantly stereotyped I speak up. I am a radical who has not set foot in an institutional church in years, frankly the environment repulses me. Many here desire to silence me while they spout all sorts of beliefs themselves. Some by the tempo of their posts would gouge my tongue out. I understand "in the name of Jesus" is a little more than a mantra for many who claim to be in Christ. Jesus said it would be so.
You may not be safe who you are with most Christians, but I will always attempt to avoid disrespecting who you are and if you are disrespected by those who claim to be in Christ I will be the first to stand with you just as you are and incidentally I can eat those people like snacks. But I suspect some here, for sharing this, will paint me as...fill in the blank. I am condemned for sharing who I am here at CC and for standing against the false-hoods some here love to spout about Christ. Such is the life I have to bear with. At times it appears you can be anyone here just not someone deeply in Christ. I am not intimidated by the hatred and I as I have said I understand. Incidentally my father was an intellectual and an atheist who hated my encounter with the eternal when I turned nineteen. He mocked and laughed; so trust me I am accustomed to vicious disdain. He was just a wounded man from Christianity like so many others. But be warned certain isms keep cropping up here at the forum and when I discern the voice that is rooted in evil I speak up. But I always try to be kind and respectful. Please feel free to critique my demeanor and thinking. I am not afraid to apologize when need be and I need people to correct me when I am out of line here. But I may engage you on where the line should be.
Anyway welcome and I am sure I can learn much from you and your unique life. In the paraphrase of the great Swami Baba "don't worry be happy."
Very best regards,
1. The forum software is pretty good except it should verify that the e-mail address entered when registered is valid. This is done generally -- and for almost all technical forums -- by sending an e-mail to the address with a link which will complete the registration. IMHO this is a software bug.
2. It is confusing when registering that you are given a username and a picture without up-front asking -- or even suggesting -- to use a real name in the forums. It is OK to ask posters to use their own names or require them but the site should be up front about it and not bury in a forum. The registration suggests -- not intentionally maybe -- using an avatar. You should think about whether that is appropriate for this site.
3. Avatars are for sites like Second Life. Here's an idea: you could give a seminar there. No, really. At least there they are actually making stuff for others to buy -- with Linden dollars.
4.I've got to get better opinions before I give out my real name.
Just so you're aware, this is not a software bug. A conscious choice was made not to require email address validation. We could just as easily turn this feature on if we wanted to do so.
We require registrants to complete CAPTCHA as part of the sign-up process. We feel this is enough for the time being, and certainly reserve the right to review this again in the future. At this moment, I don't feel there is a need to overburden our user community with various "email verification" steps. Also the reality is maybe 50% or more of the verification emails will end up in people's spam folders, causing additional customer service burden on an already thinly-spread staff.
If we were an online banking site, I'd say this would be a top priority. If it starts to become a larger issue, we'll look at it again.
In regards to your second point, I agree there probably should be some additional text on the registration process suggesting about names and pictures. However I also hope you can understand the discussion regarding using real name/picture has only been an active conversation with the community for the past week. It's fairly new on everyone's radar.
About whether or not an avatar is appropriate ... I'm not sure why you would think it would not be? Chris is attempting to foster a true sense of community, therefore being able to identify one's posts and information with a picture is certainly of value. Maybe I'm missing something in the comment that you can clarify?
please define swami. out of respect for me and to be kind. so i do not get the idea you might be mocking me
If I were mocking you I would make it clear. I am not a mocker. I recoil at the thought. Writing leaves so much to be desired. Message sent versus message received stuff. Actually I find the man behind your pen quit like-able, Someone whose company I would enjoy while hour after hour grappling with quintessence. You are a sharp guy and when I have perceived a tone or inflection I thought was short or something of the sort I have tossed it on the trash heap of poor communication. Face to face is so much better!
Anyway "don't worry be happy"
I am not one of those types you may be concerned about; at least not as long as I am a dead man :)
"Swami, is primarily a Hindo honorific title, for either males or females. It is derived from Sanskrit and means "He who knows and is master of himself", "owner of oneself",
or "free from the senses". It is a title added to one's name to
emphasize learning and mastery of Yoga, devotion to the gods, and devotion to the swami's spiritual master (a guru or another swami)."
I'd say that's an apt description.... And "Swami Baba" does trip quite glibly from the tongue!
when I have perceived a tone or inflection I thought was short or something of the sort I have tossed it on the trash heap of poor communication. Face to face is so much better!
A video for the dead Finkster
WARNING: Open link only if you love death.
Sorry I have nothing against avatars. They're fun. It's a different direction from asking for real name and picture, that's all. There is a disconnect. And I wanted a segue to my last point -- put the crash course in second life. The second life economy is an interesting financial laboratory.
A resource for planning for & reacting to the unexpected (storms, natural disasters and other shocks)
Members to support one another in investing endeavors
Preparing those people on Ise Lodge (Kettering) Northants, interested in the future post fossil fuel.
A meeting place for all who are interested in building or sharing a resilient lifestyle up here in the North.
A group to form alliances for survival