When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

10 March 2006

Letter to a worried man

I got a note from someone who had inadvertently used his real name when submitting pictures to one of the Cat Carnivals we've hosted here; he requested that his name be removed, not wanting to be associated with kittycat pictures when Googled, apparently.

I complied with his wishes, and sent him the following note (identifying information has, of course, been expunged.)
Dear Mr. X,

The post has been fixed, to the extent that such a thing is fixable; since it has been out there for a while, there are surely cached copies aplenty around.

To be honest with you, I wouldn't worry too much about my name turning up in a Cat Carnival via Google search. If we were a support group for heroin-addicted pedophiles, then, yeah...

It is, of course, your choice... but may I offer a bit of perspective, for what it's worth?

I've been posting in public on various Internet forums, starting with Usenet, since the late 1980s. I have always used my real name. No one has ever hassled me, threatened me, stalked me, or tried to steal my identity. Strangers have tracked me down and gotten in touch with me from my online identity exactly *three* times in roughly 20 years; twice to ask perfectly relevant, nice questions they thought I might know how to answer, and once to offer me a job (which, after due diligence, I wound up accepting, actually.)

My "professional" web page (http://barry.campbell-online.com) and the about section of my "professsional" blog (http://campbell-online.com) list my home address and phone number. I have *never* received a piece of unwanted snail-mail or a telephone call from this practice, to my knowledge--for some reason, people who find me on the Web and wish to contact me usually send e-mail! (OK, I've had a fair bit of spam out of the deal, but with filtering and a few little tricks, that has been greatly diminished.)

All best,


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