Friday, June 29, 2007

Blogging About Atheism

Austin Cline has a helpful post on How to Blog More Effectively About Atheism, Philosophy.

Should You Write Anonymously?:

Anonymous blogging is an especially serious question for atheists because of how much prejudice and discrimination there is against atheism. If you sign your real name to what you write about atheism and religion, assume that your parents, coworkers, and neighbors will find it. Assume that future dates will also find it. Assume that people where you apply for your next job will find it. If you don’t want them reading it, blog anonymously.

I write as Mojoey for a reason. It has little to do with friends and family finding out that I am an Atheist. Heck, even the people I work with know I am an Atheist. I write anonymously because I work in IT. Over the years I've acquired a lot of different skills. IT Security being one of them. When I started blogging, I did so to vent while in graduate school. I had no concept of audience, or even that I would eventually focus on Atheism. I did understand that my name would follow everything I posted. I knew that unscrupulous people would use my name and information from my blog to make my life hell. Identify theft, phishing, social engineering, all of these things are very real possibilities. So, I stick with Mojoey on the blog. For email communications with blogroll members, I choose to use my real name.

I am happy with using Mojoey for another reason. With over three years of heavy blogging behind me, I have collected several dozen death threats. I would rather they kill Mojoey, I hear he lives down the street.

The Friendly Atheist, Hemant Mehta, has a post on this subject. He prefers using his name. It is a mixed bag in the comment thread.

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Anonymous said...

I bet you can guess which side I'm on! :) It's for all the above reasons. The reasons that you provide (id theft, etc), and who finds it.

Nona said...

You've been tagged. If you'd like to play along, please stop by Fishwars on Cars and read all about it.

aidan said...

The disadvantage of a nick is that you can keep your mistakes at one remove, and so are less impacted by them. When you use your own name you are forever accountable. This prompts self-analysis and hopefully improvement. There are different levels of anonymity. The posting of a pic makes a nick more of a functional add-on than a disguise. Its a hard call but in the end it has most to do with how much a person is prepared to risk.

Darwin's Dagger said...

As moronic as it is to martyr yourself for an invisible guy in the sky, it's that much more moronic to martyr yourself over the lack of one.

aidan said...

My daughter just started up an art blog and she was debating the name thing also. She mentioned that quite a few of her university buds run blogs in their first and last names. You don't have to be Professor Bainbridge to stick your name on a blog. Nobody graduates from anon to real name use on the web as a matter of merit. Journalists use their own name. One had a lead post on the Guardian blog recently and got abused in every way imaginable on a very long comment thread. I suppose that might upset his granny or make some family member adopt a prejudice toward him, but point is, he can take it. I admire that. Some people are just too precious. On the other hand if you have legit reasons i.e. being written out of a will when the old man finds out you're an atheist, fired or otherwise damaged by own-name use, or security concerns such as Joey mentioned, then it might indeed be a tad moronic to use your own name. Everyone's situation is different and you can only judge for yourself.