Should I be "The Mighty Thor" or Russell? - Using an avatar.

I joined the atheist nexus using my real name and have to admit see sawing back and forth on whether that was a smart thing to do.  If I do a Google search on my name, the things that come up are my work, the user group I serve on the board of directors for -  and now the atheist nexus.


I understand the reasons a lot of you have not.  In certain families, geographies or jobs the free exchange of ideas in this forum can have repercussions when you are identified by the wrong people. I remember reading one of you joined with a real name and then after seeing the exposure deleted it and rejoined with an avatar name. 


In this online world it is possible to say something stupid in Facebook and lose a job.  I guess representing yourself to the world as something like “Blowhard” allows you to say controversial things as well as dumb things without as much blow back.  


I checked a yahoo news site and noticed the comments have many partial names, a few full names and some funny names.  So it is possible the nexus may have a greater percentage of people feeling confident enough in their circumstances to use a real name than a news site.


Anyway, here are some questions:


  1. Do you think other online groups - religious or sports etc. have a majority of their members using a real name?
  2. Are you using a fake name because you are a private person or because what you say here may be held against you?
  3. If you use an actual name, are you nervous using your real name in this forum? Was that a big decision or an easy no brainer?

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I am a private person.  But I also feel isolated in my ideas, worldview, what I enjoy.  In addition, my work involves dealing with hundreds of people.  For a while, I was on facebook.  I kept it pretty basic, but honest.  I had many comments at work regarding my facebook profile.  Ultimately, with facebook, being so invasive, and becoming more and more so, I quit.  People also google on me - I know that already.

In addition, while being a consummate professional, courteous, productive, and meeting or exceeding in the requirements in my work, I was discriminated against, isolated, and ultimately had to leave my last position.   I've recovered from that, but I learned some hard lessons.  No one will tell you "I'm harassing you because my religion says you are unworthy" or "I hate atheists" or "die, evil gay person" or "I hate men".  All of those might have been factors, and I wondered about them all.  Or none of them may have been issues.  There is no way to know what happened.  

I am more discrete since then, and keep more to myself.  I think the atheist part could be more of a problem than the gay part, but both can be sources of discrimination.  I can't afford to be without my work, and my work gives meaning to my life.  We can't always be the perfect example of the virtuous "perfect boy scout homo" or the "perfect ethical atheist" 100% of the time.  So I compartmentalize.

Without compartmentalization, I could not be myself here, and I would be very isolated indeed.  AN allows me to be so much more myself.  I can have real conversations, and learn from real people who share my experiences and values.  Even if my surname is not here, the name I chose for myself is as real to me as the name my parents gave to me.  I think it's the 3rd name I've had here, but ultimately chosen with a lot of thought, and I like it.

I know we live in a world where we should all be "out" and be shining examples and show everyone that we are not satan's spawn, but it's hard to do that without a career.

In the end the choice is yours.  No one will blame you if you use a nom de plume.   People will respect you for standing up with your real name.

Hey Sentient, your reply is one reason why I have been more active lately with Atheist Nexus.  So many interesting perspectives from so many good communicators. 

There are a lot of interesting avatars on this site. Your choice is definitely one of the best.

Woohoo, you're talking about me.....

Some of us have uncommon real names and a search on google brings me up first. Problem was that it was AN stuff that showed up.

I am an out atheist to family, friends (the few I have) and work but it isn't a coincidence I haven't been successful at any job competitions/applications since I am out. (unfortunately, google doesn't forget)

Plus, being in Canada, we are not as free with free speech as they are in the USA because of the Charter of Rights.

It is also nice to be the one true gawd on here assuming the Babylon 5 universe. LOL

First off, the Mighty Thor is freaking awesome! But just your first name is a great choice.... *references my own first name*

1 - I really think it depends on the person and the group as to whether people use their real names or not. It depends on if they want to sound cool or they don't want their actual identity to be known. *references my picture*

2 - I feel like your first name is fine. Last name is pushing it if you want to be private. The picture is where I find my privacy... but I think I'll add a picture one of these days.

3 - Just first name... Problems solved!  :D

Well, I used my real name, and I never really thought twice about it. If people search my name and find out I'm atheist, so be it. My mom absolutly hates me being atheist, but I doubt she'll ever purposefully search my name on google. If you think your job is at stake if they search it, then heck change your name. A little hurt pride is nothing compared to a lost job.

1. don't think so

2. both

3. I eventually use my actual name in PMs with people I feel I've reached a certain level of knowledge and trust about.

I have oft stated here that I am a completely open and in-your-face atheist, but that statement is valid in the real world of face-to-face encounters only, where telling others about private conversations is still considered rumour-mongering and tattle-tailing, whereas on the internet, any behaviour goes. Of course, work and government/police/big-brother oversight are constantly on my mind.




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