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Why do people who have been on Proz for over 10 years continue to hide behind silly screen names?
Thread poster: Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer

Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:10
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Mar 1, 2016

I actually find it rather insulting that people can criticise others, while refusing to identify themselves as a human being. No picture, no name, no real info about who they are. Just another anonymous entity floating around online, being overly critical and showing off t̶h̶e̶i̶r̶ its knowledge. This is surely no way to build a real community?

I therefore propose that the site rethink its policies around this issue and perhaps consider introducing some form of mandatory ID policy. After all, this isn't some random chat room or hangout for gamers. It's a platform for professional translators, who are expected to be real human beings, with actual lives and identities.

Michael


[Edited at 2016-03-01 08:12 GMT]


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The Misha
Local time: 08:10
Russian to English
+ ...
Is your "insulted" worth more than mine? Mar 1, 2016

Michael J.W. Beijer wrote:

I actually find it rather insulting ...



For my part, I find it rather insulting that there are folks out there who take it upon themselves to tell others what to do or how to manage their affairs, online or offline, here or elsewhere. I find it even more disturbing that they think they have some kind of a "moral right," or whatever you want to call it, to do so. Back in the unfortunate country of my birth, they have already tried that once, and the people at the spearhead of that glorious effort were damn certain they had every right to impose their version of universal happiness on everyone else. Well, we all know what happened. It all starts with little things, doesn't it?


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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
bitting off the grudge? Mar 1, 2016

Hello Michael, interesting, but could you tell us a couple of things first:

1) There’re two (2) types of the ProZ users: (a) paying members and (b) free non-members; which might be the issue, both?

2) You seem to live in the city; do you really say ‘Hello’ to everyone you meet or only to your people?


Let's cut the long story short: as for me, I don’t reveal my ID at large, because... I don’t see the point in doing it--for strangers I'm not dealing with. Certainly, when I sign contract papers I use my real ID)

It's clear-cut; so where is it?


Cheers.


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 17:40
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Some are half freelancers Mar 1, 2016

For many it is difficult to make both ends meet just by freelancing as translators. So they hold regular jobs and moonlight as translators. They might not want to declare their identity as their job conditions do not allow them to work elsewhere.

There could be others (such as interpretors) who take up dangerous assignments and prefer not to reveal themselves for the sake of their and their family's safety.

There could be a hundred other reasons why people want to remain incognito. I don't find anything the problem with this. I respond in the forums to the declared identities and not the real ones. I mostly respond to what they say in the forums, not what they actually believe. That is the only way it can be.

Even in real life, are people really what they appear to be? How much do we know of the "behind the mask" realily of our neighbours and even family members whom we meet and chat with on a daily basis? Every one has a private self, and I think is entitled to one.


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Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:10
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
A rose by any other name Mar 1, 2016

Balasubramaniam L. wrote:
Every one has a private self, and I think is entitled to one.

While I sympathise with Michael's argument, I also agree with Bala on this one. I am active on many other forums and incognito on most of them; this forum is the exception for me.

I would like more people to use their real names. I agree that it would make for a more professional forum.

However, such a move would also result in a fall in casual membership, which would drive down site visits, which would make it more difficult for ProZ to market itself to its advertisers, so I don't think it will happen.

Regards
Dan


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Susana E. Cano Méndez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:10
Member
French to Spanish
+ ...
Professional Mar 1, 2016

Hello.

As for me, there is no point in hiding my real name, as I am an experienced professional, relatively known, so stating my real name will only lead to more good references and more jobs.

I wonder if all these people hiding their names (whatever their reasons to do so are) get good jobs at Proz. For me it would be a reason to stop hiding behind a nickname.

Are they new members or students? Not all of them, for sure. Have they a doubt about their skills? Not all of them, for sure. Are they just shy?

And, how do they cope with a client willing to know their real name, let's say to pay a legal invoice? They probably do all of this without problems.

Personally, I don't mind about their hiding their real names. There is a possibility and they just use it. I interact with them as if they stated a real name. "No trouble".


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esperantisto  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:10
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
Just a remark Mar 1, 2016

Even some Proz.com staff members do not make their real (at least, full real) names visible to general public. Why require it from regular users?

[Edited at 2016-03-01 08:16 GMT]


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Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 14:10
Member (2005)
English to German
Many possible reasons Mar 1, 2016

When I see colleagues with nicknames on here, I assume they're either employed inhouse or such good freelancers that they don't have to go looking for clients on ProZ.

While I use my real name on here, I've recently had to replace the photo of my face with a medieval smiley face, because a neighbor shot paintballs at other neighbors, and I called the cops on him. I got him into some trouble that at least potentially permits him to find out my name. I don't want him to be able to find my face by Googling me, because I'm scared now (of high-pressure missiles, not of paint as such).


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
Silly is in the eye of the beholder Mar 1, 2016

My proz handle is a portmanteau of my real name and surname. On other sites I use other pseudonyms, often anagrams or acronyms, and different avatars. I use my current proz avatar because it's translation-related and I find it amusing (2 burritos = 2 small donkeys). And I'd rather be vaguely anonymous than po-faced.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
It is what it is Mar 1, 2016

Michael J.W. Beijer wrote:

After all, this isn't some random chat room or hangout for gamers. It's a platform for professional translators, who are expected to be real human beings, with actual lives and identities.

Michael


[Edited at 2016-03-01 08:12 GMT]


Perhaps that's how many users perceive it. However, as a paid-up member, I feel entitled to treat it more or less as a personal blog and chatroom, as well as a resource. Which I do. My actual life and business is none of anybody else's.


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CafeTran Training
Netherlands
Local time: 14:10
Member (2016)
No longer using my real name Mar 1, 2016

Michael J.W. Beijer wrote:

I actually find it rather insulting that people can criticise others, while refusing to identify themselves as a human being.


I agree with you, Michael.

However, even when people are listed here by their real name, some of them find it necessary to write unfair remarks that are indeed very insulting (and luckily were removed by staff members).

For me this was the reason to hide my real name (behind a couple of clicks, so it's easy to find me) and start using an alias that reflects the service that I want to offer here best. (I'm not interesting in more translation jobs, I love helping colleagues to learn the CAT tool that I enjoy every day.)

This issue is even more complicated: some members here use the account of others (relatives, colleagues etc.) to post with a false identity.

Is this allowed?

[Edited at 2016-03-01 15:35 GMT]


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polyglot45
English to French
+ ...
using pseudos Mar 1, 2016

How many times does this question crop up?

Proz is my guilty secret. I wouldn't like my students to know that I hang out here for light relief when the strain of keeping calm with them gets to me!

Like many other people, I do not come here to find jobs - have more than enough anyway. The rates I charge would preclude that at all events.

I like teaching and helping others. I never ask questions. Is that a sin?
Poly


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Neptunia
Local time: 14:10
Italian to English
silly names Mar 1, 2016

I try to be careful about sprinkling my name around the internet. As it stands now, I think a google search of my real name would turn up several links to genuine professional contributions in my area of specialty. If I used my name with this and other forums, those would quickly be diluted. I never intend to be disrespectful though. I love the kudoz "game" just for the challenge of it and I am not here looking for work.

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Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:10
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks everyone for your input! Mar 1, 2016

While I agree that there are many good reasons to leave it the way it is, and am also a strong proponent of personal freedom, etc., I do wonder if a new hybrid approach might work. How about introducing a new system, whereby site users could opt in to get some kind of Verified Identity badge? Yes, I know, yet another badge. A facility to verify our identities already exists, of course, but that's just for Proz itself to know we are actually who we say we are. We, as users, have no access to this information.

My proposed Verified Human Badge would allow users to effectively say: I am in fact the person I say I am, and this is my actual, real name: XXX. If sold this way, as sth extra you can do to appear more professional, maybe people would buy into it. This way, those who would prefer to remain anonymous could continue to do so, while a hopefully growing number of people would start to morph into real humans. Everybody happy.

[Edited at 2016-03-01 09:33 GMT]


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David Hayes  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:10
Member (2009)
French to English
Perhaps Mar 1, 2016

their real names are even sillier! In any case, apart from users who have had their identity verified, seemingly "real" names and "real" photos could in fact be invented.

I think we need to leave people the freedom to identify themselves on here as they see fit. It's only one website among billions and hence only a tiny part of our lives.


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