Ben Langhinrichs

June, 2004
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Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Sun 13 Jun 2004, 08:29 AM
One of the signs of growing older is that people start to view your customs and ways as "quaint".  My wife and I go for long walks and actually hold hands, or we ride bikes with our kids and we all wear helmets, or we sit around and read instead of motocross or extreme ironing or drinking myself silly or making rude comments to my guests (side-note to PB&J: some topics never belong in polite company, especially not at a meal).  If I didn't know these customs were quaint by people's quizzical looks, I'd know because my two teenagers would let me know (they are good at that).

I think I may lately have discovered a new "quaintness", I actually use my real name in public forums.  There are those who hide their identity, for good or bad reasons, with pseudonyms such as "File Save" or "LoNo Developer", and others who do not hide their identity, but foster a persona, such as "GreyHawke" or "Duffbert", and others who act as if they have a real name but are actually someone else (I'd best leave these be in case they don't want this known), and even others who act as if the person is a company, such as "LotusRnext Net".

What is so wrong about using your own name?  Standing up for what you stand for?  The problem is ten times worse in political forums than in technical forums, where nobody seems to want to be known by their real names, instead inventing monikers such as "serial catowner" and "moog" and "Economaniac" and "The Donkey".  Why?  Are people afraid of reprisals?  If so, they should remember, as Ed Brill likes to point out, that the internet is not as private as it seems.  If not, what is the problem with being yourself.

Anyway, quaint or not, I am Ben Langhinrichs and proud of it.  I use my own name, except a few times such as on LNDCentral.com and Turtle's Gonzo Lotusphere site, where I have tried being "MidasGuy" because I thought it would look cooler.  Not for me, folks.  I'm just quaint, I guess.

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