Lewes Forum thread

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Optional registration?

On 28 Mar 2013 at 1:15pm Webbo wrote:
As you may know I'm not in favour of mandatory registration as I think it will deter the casual poster and slow down the turnover of threads and posts

I have been considering optional registration such that if you wish you can register and reserve a nickname but in order to use it you will have to login.
If someone tries to use a reserved username they will not be able to without the email address and password tied to that nickname

This will still allow anyone to post using unreserved names without needing to login.

Thumbs up for 'Yes please Webbo', thumbs down for 'No thanks'
On 28 Mar 2013 at 2:28pm brixtonbelle wrote:
Would forum users be able to reserve several nicknames to the same email ? If they are, it would seem to defeat the purpose of registration....
On 28 Mar 2013 at 3:21pm Southover Queen wrote:
I'm emphatically in favour Webbo. I agree with BB that you should only be able to register one user name with one email address; the alternative would perhaps be a profile page where all the user names one person uses are listed. That might actually be quite revealing, since I'm pretty convinced that the most troublesome posters here are just one or two people (either that or there is a large group of people who really have no grasp of grammar or spelling). However, what will actually happen is that the trolls won't register and will post as guests. That in itself will be beneficial, because others will be able to see immediately that the person is not a bona fide member, particularly if they choose to troll the board.

Something fairly radical does need to happen. This is a pretty toxic place at the moment, and that's a shame.
On 28 Mar 2013 at 3:32pm Deelite wrote:
If i understand correctly this means that you can reserve a username so that others cannot use it, but still post using other names if you chose to.

If it is then what it means is that no-one can impersonate you. It'll mean webbo will know your email address (but as it's easy to get a free anonymous email address I guess this is not important).

Seems like a start. It will at least stop the tossers impersonating regular posters. However it won't stop a single person posting vileness and spite under multiple usernames and relentlessly persecuting other posters (as has happened to Southover Queen, padster, Spinster of this Parish etc etc). Personally I think this is much more of an issue than impersonation.

1) When someone needs to change their registered username (i.e. when they are outed against their wishes) can they just register (reserve) another?
2) Can a person register two usernames to a single email address?
On 28 Mar 2013 at 4:19pm Webbo wrote:
You would only be able to register one nickname against one email address.

Your registered nickname would appear automatically as the default name in the Name field on the post form.

Initially (until I had got round to creating the name changing system) you would have to email me to change your nickname
On 28 Mar 2013 at 4:21pm Southover Queen wrote:
Not really, Camembert. It would stop people impersonating others, which is a significant problem for a start, and also you'd have to log out and log back in with a different identity which would probably put most people off.

You can't stop vileness on a public forum, but you can create conditions which foster better behaviour and discourage trolling etc. Part of what you need, I think, is a bit of stability and this should help.
On 28 Mar 2013 at 4:29pm Tim Wilkins real name wrote:
Please pardon me if this seems stupid. I do post under my real name and have no reason to hide behind a pseudonym. Why do the people - who understandably want to get rid of the nasty posters and create registration - not use their real names. We all have differing opinions, so are guaranteed to disagree. However we are surely more likely to be truthful and polite if we are named on the forum. I know i've probably missed some important point but for the life of me I can't think of one that really matters.
On 28 Mar 2013 at 5:11pm Independent Thinker wrote:
Webbo, would your proposal allow everyone to easily see which posts are from registered users (and ideally how often they've posted, as other forums have)? Without that I can't see this making any difference other than blocking the relatively new issue of impersonation. But a casual troll is unlikely to be bothered to register a new e-mail and nickname every time they post, so being able to easily skip past posts from non-registered users would help.
On 28 Mar 2013 at 5:12pm Southover Queen wrote:
Well, the first obvious response is that there is no way of telling whether someone actually is indeed using their real name or one they've made up for the occasion.

The second is that sometimes people wish to be able to voice controversial ideas or challenge the council (for example) without revealing their identity. You can get to know an online persona pretty well, without knowing their real-life identity, but you do need to be consistent and trust that the "Deelite" you're talking to is the same one called "Deelite" last week. There are loads of examples of very supportive online communities which use online nicknames and you would lose quite a bit if you insisted that everyone be identified by their real names I think.
On 28 Mar 2013 at 6:01pm Clifford wrote:
Aren't we taking things a bit too seriously? i don't mind registering if that's the policy. But are things that serious? What would be the point?
On 28 Mar 2013 at 6:12pm Tim Wilkins real name wrote:
"Well, the first obvious response is that there is no way of telling whether someone actually is indeed using their real name or one they've made up for the occasion."
This could surely be easily remedied in the same way as other sites seem to be able or ask for proof before allowing posting.
"You can get to know an online persona pretty well, without knowing their real-life identity, but you do need to be consistent and trust that the "Deelite" you're talking to is the same one called "Deelite" last week."
A simple system check that matches a registered email address to a particular on-line name.
"The second is that sometimes people wish to be able to voice controversial ideas or challenge the council (for example) without revealing their identity."
Why would anyone be frightened of revealing their real name to challenge the council?
Controversial ideas are surely what the trolls are saying/making. I'm afraid one either needs the courage of their convictions or loses their right to complain about the trolls.
On 28 Mar 2013 at 7:14pm Deelite wrote:
Tim, one of the most interesting and useful facets of this forum is whistle-blowing. I'd not want that to be lost.
On 28 Mar 2013 at 7:19pm Tim Wilkins real name wrote:
Fair comment "Deelite" I honestly hadn't thought of that possibility.
On 28 Mar 2013 at 7:23pm Jane S wrote:
Good for you, Webbo. Registration wouldn't solve all problems but would certainly sort out some; go for it. I'm with Independent Thinker on being able to see which posts are from registered users - doesn't assure good posting but is a bit of a filter.
Sorry, Tim W - of course you're right, but I like my Forum persona, who's very like me but nicer!
On 28 Mar 2013 at 7:28pm Southover Queen wrote:
Tim, first of all I'd say that Facebook isn't even able to ensure that people register in their own names, so the chances of a voluntary system working here is zero, I'm afraid. Secondly, I run a local business and I would feel very constrained in voicing some of my opinions if I were to use my real name. There are people whose instinctive recourse is to physical action rather than offering a good written counterargument, and I've already encountered them in real life thanks very much. And as Deelite says, it would inevitably lead to self-censorship in certain cases such as whistle blowing about local issues.

The trolls aren't voicing controversial ideas at all, I'd say. Their raison-d'etre is to spread alarm and upset the online community. Look at what most of them write - they don't have an idea in their miserable brains. There are a few fascists and they'd go on trotting out their nonsense - I'll feel much safer tackling them if they don't know who I am and where I live.

Clifford: I've just about given up with this forum. If this rescues what could and should be an interesting local meeting place, then I'd say it was worth a try. There's nothing to lose and quite a bit to gain.
On 28 Mar 2013 at 7:47pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
I'm all in favour of this Webbo. Good plan.
I wouldn't want to post under my real name as I work in the community and wouldn't want clients to knowingly engage in debate with me in my private life, or to find out what I think on controversial matters. One needs to preserve professional boundaries, y'know!
On 28 Mar 2013 at 9:23pm padster wrote:
I only use my padster name only. i would like some accountability and would prefer not to reveal my identity less i get a brick through my window for daring to question some aspects of bonfire.
maybe i ask for it but i do get a lot of abuse on this site, many names s if there are lots of people but i fear it is a small number using numerous names.
On 28 Mar 2013 at 9:25pm sunshine lucas wrote:
I think you should do mandatory reg... I'm a member of one other forum and that forum is extremely well moderated - helped by the registration issue obviously...
I have to say this forum seems much more like a free-for-all - particularly for trolls and rather dubious posts. There seems a real lack of ahem, quality control here at times...
I really don't think your concerns Webbo - deterring casual posters and slowing thread turnover would actually happen - and to protect and give this forum a renewed lease of life free(er) from the ridiculous and nasty is surely the priority here...
On 28 Mar 2013 at 9:39pm the old mayor wrote:
Does'nt it just prove the internet is not actually real and cannot be trusted. It is a virtual place and as such one needs to be very careful in ALL activities. Even serious sites have been hacked into (not that any sane person would wish to hack into here, but there are some real weirdos out there ) Phishing e-mails are a continual battle, dealt with daily. Lewesians take this site so seriously and get so involved in other peoples posts that they leave themselves wide open to ridicule and having the rise taken.
PS We are thinking of getting our little girl a Pony, is it a good idea ? By the way we live in a 3rd floor flat, but the wife doesn't think that is a problem.
On 28 Mar 2013 at 9:47pm Ed Can Do wrote:
I see no valid reason not to do it. It wouldn't be compulsory so wouldn't effect anyone not in favour and those of us who do use just the one username will know we're not at risk of impersonators. Seems a simple decision to me. I'd also be in favour of some form of icon to show who's a registered user and who's a guest.
On 28 Mar 2013 at 11:32pm Bruciare il Papa wrote:
I'm in favour of Webbo's suggestion
On 29 Mar 2013 at 7:12am Deelite wrote:
I'm in favour of Webbos idea and think its a no-brainer as long as I am *not forced to always use my registered username* (if I was forced to do this I'd not want to register).

However I don't think it will address the real problem here which is the one or two cretins who spread spite and bile under numerous user-names. The damage they do to participation in this forum far outweighs any negative impact on frequency of posting full registration might have. I'm frankly perplexed Webbo could think otherwise.

I think that Webbo's idea could be improved upon by adding email alerts for those that choose 'register' (or reserve their username). A registered user is alerted by email to replies in threads they've participated in. This will have the following advantages:

* increase frequency of posting
* increase posting (amongst registered users)
* encourage users to register.

I think the third point is the big one. Registration should be encouraged so the more advantages there are to it the better.

Judging by how civil this thread is Webbo must have had another bout of banning. You have to wonder just how much of his time he spends administering this forum. By not introducing full registration he may be making a rod for his own back.
On 29 Mar 2013 at 8:32am Puzzled wrote:
I'm in favour of Webbos idea and think its a no-brainer as long as I am *not forced to always use my registered username* (if I was forced to do this I'd not want to register).
Why on earth not? Part time troll?
On 29 Mar 2013 at 8:45am Deelite wrote:
When too many people know who the person is behind the username it becomes harder to express more unconventional views, the sort of views you might express to some friends, but not to others as it may hurt or confuse them.

I hope that is clear.
On 29 Mar 2013 at 9:04am Tim Wilkins real name wrote:
So.....if i've got this right. We want registration whilst still being able to hide behind various user names, so as not to be identified if we offend, hurt o tell some ugly truths about people.
Isn't that exactly what allows the trolls to be able to do what they are doing???????????
I'm sincerely not trying to cause mischief here.
On 29 Mar 2013 at 9:37am Deelite wrote:
No. The troll just uses anonymity to be vindictive, persecute other users, and destroy conversations. Other, valid and important uses of anonymity include whistleblowing and the ability to express points of view that you would not necessarily want attributed to you as a person, in the same way that you might be more or less open with different friends / acquaintances, or even authority.

I'm sorry Tim, but I don't know how to make this clearer. It is a dilemma.
On 29 Mar 2013 at 9:46am Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
To give an example, Tim, if someone wanted to have a rant on here about how dreadful their job was,if they were obliged to use their real name, there would be a danger they would get into trouble. If they use a regular pseudonym, they have a degree of protection.
Also, look at the thread where people complained about a GP surgery using an expensive 0844 phone number. They might not have felt so free to do this if the doc had been able to see that Mr X and Mrs Y had been having a right old moan.
Anyway, I have a silly name and you'd all take the pee if you knew I was really called Norma Snockers.
On 29 Mar 2013 at 10:15am Tim Wilkins real name wrote:
I actually agree with you both to a degree but it just seems we can't have it both ways.
I personally am who I am. I have friends from all walks of life but I do not use multiple personalities with each of them. I say what I feel and what I truly believe, as do my friends. This allows for healthy genuine debate.
I am very passionate about many things and i'm willing to be vocal about those things. Just because some of my friends don't share or "get" my passions, doesn't make them any less valid.
Judging by some of the awful comments made by these trolls, perhaps we should be pleased they're sitting at their computer, rather than roaming the streets.
On 29 Mar 2013 at 10:15am Southover Queen wrote:
Tim Wilkins wrote: "so as not to be identified if we offend, hurt o tell some ugly truths about people."

No, not so. In fact the vast majority of the people who post under a regular pseudonym - examples would be Ed Can Do, Deelite, Annette Curtin-Twitcher, Clifford, Padster etc etc - do so politely and consistently and without picking fights. No trolling, no swearing, no ad hominem attacks. I'd include myself in that group: people who would like to take part in online conversations both about local issues and also about more general topics. Speaking for myself, as I've said a couple of times already in this thread, I would not take part in many or even most if I had to use my own name. Those other regulars have made similar points.

The problem here is not anonymity, it's the fact that not having registration allows people who wish to disrupt the conversations to do so with pathetic ease. Registration would go a fair way to stopping that for all the reasons discussed. Also of course, there's nothing to prevent you registering with your own name if you wish, just as there is no way to tell that that is actually your real name!
On 29 Mar 2013 at 10:32am Tim Wilkins real name wrote:
Southover Queen I do want registration but I simply can't agree with you or anyone about anonymity. I understand about whistle blowing but perhaps that's another issue. The trouble with society today is the need to hide behind someone or something and blame others. Not having the courage of your convictions is simply wrong.
Anyone on here who knows who I am will understand this.
Excuses are the patches, with which we mend our garments of failure.
On 29 Mar 2013 at 10:56am Southover Queen wrote:
And I don't see what obliging people to use their real names would achieve, if indeed you could police that in the first place. ACT, for instance, has posted about her work in the past, which involves working with vulnerable and disadvantaged adults. She would not be able to do that if she were using her real name. The nature of my business means dealing with strangers daily, and I simply would not be free to express my opinions if I were not able to remain anonymous. It's not because I'm ashamed of my opinions; it's because it would be inappropriate. I must say I slightly resent the implication that I'm dissembling somehow - I'm pleased your circumstances allow you to express yourself fully and without self-censorship, but you need to understand that many do not enjoy such freedom. It's not sinister; just different.
On 29 Mar 2013 at 11:30am No Pot Pourri wrote:
Looks like an overwhelming "yes", Webbo. If it doesn't work out, you could always revert. BTW I like the thread limit / fall off the page style of this rather than the standard forum software Category / Topic style. It makes it a bit more like the pub.
On 29 Mar 2013 at 11:31am Deelite wrote:
Tim. At least one of the regular posters here works for a local authority in a public facing job. If they were forced to use their real name they would not be able to post for fear of breaching the distinction between their private and public life. This forum is public. Anyone can read it. Anyone who expresses an opinion here is not doing it amongst friends.

I am mildly envious that you feel able to express your opinions to just anyone. Mine can get me in trouble with certain types of people.
On 29 Mar 2013 at 12:36pm Tim Wilkins wrote:
Basically, you all want anonymity from time to time so you can lie, insult, denigrate and abuse people or things with no accountability. The whistle blowing thing is just a cover for your cowardice. All organisation have official whistle blowing policies and there's also proper press. Have the courage of your convictions and get over yourselves. If you didn't say unacceptable things you wouldn't have to hide!
On 29 Mar 2013 at 12:47pm Judge Mental wrote:
How can you say panty Padster is a reasonable person when he wants to meet people in the pub for a fight, punch people in the face or like a good burning of people. He's a nasty nasty individual!
On 29 Mar 2013 at 12:52pm Tim Wilkins real name wrote:
Ah I see what you've done there. The above statement by Tim Wilkins is obviously not actually by me (tim Wilkins real name) but does make very valid points. I assume the poster can either see the irony of it or is a very clever comedian.
On 29 Mar 2013 at 1:05pm Independent Thinker wrote:
Wow. Either the trolls are getting better at their impersonations of other users, or Tim really doesn't care how many strangers he offends!

I personally feel we should have mandatory registration as the high turnover of topics is largely due to the amount of abusive and/or off topic posts. I don't understand Webbo's reasoning in the slightest. I'd have thought less trolling and abuse would lead to more users and posts, not less. But what's being proposed is at least a very small step in the right direction, and hopefully there will be a way to see who has registered, and if a post count is too complicated perhaps at least a "member since" note to make it easier to skip past the casual posters. And leaving aside any philosophical arguments about whether we should all have "the courage of our convictions" and be forced to post under our own names, the fact that, unless we all had to go to Webbo's house with our passports to register, it's completely unenforceable, makes it a non-starter to ban nicknames.

This thread has reached its limit now
Why not start another one


Pipe Passage 98:132
Pipe Passage

Just noticed. TP started "Quote of the Moment", although it's hard to understand what it's for. more
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