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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Announcements and Help  |  Discussion Board and Website Help (Moderators: Joe Sermarini, Sorin Teodor)  |  Topic: Anonymity in PMs (principle) 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Andrew McCabe
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« on: October 31, 2011, 07:28:04 am »

After an exchange with someone off list, which came to a dead end, I'm curious about views on anonymity in off-list communications - whether by PMs or emails.

It is my policy to discuss anything with anyone on-list - where the world can read the answers and thus benefit from the discussion - even when some/most correspondents remain hidden behind screen-names.

Off-list is a different matter however, at least as far as I am concerned. Other than for trivial short replies, I'm not willing to enter into lengthy discussions (by PM or email) with those who insist on not revealing a real identity to me. That's because I regarded as work-down-the-drain, a use of my time to explain something to a hidden person, and with no prospect of knowing whether that person plans to publish his views, no ability to refer that person to another expert, no chance of recognising work by that other person which he may already have published under a real name, and no chance to add context from knowing someones real background e.g. location, which has a bearing on his/her experience in the real world - museums visited etc.

Thus I feel hobbled in anonymous-private discussions. The quality of the discussion is damaged by not being able to network. It requires more work on my side because I cannot build on public knowledge or bring in the expertise of others, and also less reward because Mr.Anonymous will never acknowledge my input nor involve me in his network. It's just a complete waste of my time.

So, I invariably ask offlist correspondents to identify themselves in some meaningful way (a real name, and in time perhaps reference to common contacts). For example I can put real names behind those on-list whom I met at the conference in York in July (although I admit sometimes I forget the link between screen-names and real names from time to time!)

Am I alone on this? Does it matter to others to live in a real world with real people? Or is virtual virtually enough?

Andrew McCabe
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mcbyrne21
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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2011, 07:58:29 am »

I see no problem with identifying myself in a private exchange of emails.  On the contrary, I would find it strange to exchange emails with someone and not use my real name and contact information in the signature line.
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Joe Sermarini
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« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2011, 08:00:50 am »

You are not alone.  

I get emails everyday from people who don't even bother to give their name (often about some replica they hope is worth $1000's of dollars).

I also get emails and PM's from people I do know, but I don't remember their username or email address, so I don't know that I know them until I look them up.  

Unless it is an immediate reply to a just received email or PM, please sign your PMs and emails with your real first and last name.  
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Joseph Sermarini
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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2011, 08:11:14 am »

I completely concur with your viewpoint.

I am a newbie in the ancient coin collecting world with limited knowledge at this point, but have come across the same scenario that you speak of on other forums involving topics in which I have knowledge that would be considered beyond ordinary.

I have spent countless hours answering emails while wondering who am I actually communicating with, and at the same time wondering how many others could benefit from this "private" sharing of information.

Social networking has certainly changed the nature of human relationships, but nothing can ever replace having a face to face conversation with another human being.

-Kurt


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« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2011, 10:45:52 am »

Quote
I would find it strange to exchange emails with someone and not use my real name and contact information in the signature line.

Agreed.  

My profession is an attorney (barrister I believe if your across the pond).  I would never give friendly advice or chat about my area of expertise with someone who wouldn't identify themselves, and I would find it very strange anyone would want to do so.  

Just like I don't really understand those who aggravate people on online chat groups (I can't even recall the name), I wouldn't understand why someone honestly seeking information from someone with the experience of Andrew or Joe would have any reason to conceal or refuse to identify themselves.  
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Andrew McCabe
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« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2011, 11:07:25 am »

Just like I don't really understand those who aggravate people on online chat groups (I can't even recall the name), I wouldn't understand why someone honestly seeking information from someone with the experience of Andrew or Joe Sermarini would have any reason to conceal or refuse to identify themselves. 

Yes indeed. That was what annoyed me. Someone contacted me on another discussion list who wanted to engage in a serious numismatic discussion with me on Aes Signatum and early cast bars. An interesting subject. So I gave the person my email address so that we could exchange photos and asked, by the way, would he mind if we used our real names because that's normal practice. He objected strongly to revealing his name to me, even after I explained that, above and beyond the issue of politeness, this would degrade our discussion as I could not use my network to bring more expertise to bear (I couldn't pass on mails from Mr.Anon, or bring others into the debate) nor could he help me with his network - he couldn't refer me to the opinions of others. He said I didn't need to know his name in order to give my opinion. That's completely true - but why would I use my precious working time to help such a blank box. He responded once again saying that knowing his name wasn't essential to the discussion. So I stopped.
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Jay GT4
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« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2011, 11:13:57 am »

You are not alone.  

I get emails everyday from people who don't even bother to give their name (often about some replica they hope is worth $1000's of dollars).

I also get emails and PM's from people I do know, but I don't remember their username or email address, so I don't know that I know them until I look them up.  

Unless it is an immediate reply to a just received email or PM, please sign your PMs and emails with your real first and last name.  


 Grin Is that why I haven't heard back from you yet about selling some coins?  Embarrassed I'll resend with my name.  Sorry Joe.

I do agree.  Just good manners to give real name.
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« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2011, 11:23:34 am »

I probably wouldn't proceed any further either if I ran into a similar situation.  Makes it sound like the other party has something to hide and I would be worried how or where any information I provided would be used.  Especially odd nowdays when everything seems to be public (ie facebook).  Plus its not like Mr. McCabe is some spammer or something who wants the contact information for nefarious reasons (not knowing him personally I'm assuming here but I think its a reasonable one Grin).
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Andrew McCabe
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« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2011, 11:32:58 am »

Makes it sound like the other party has something to hide

Now I think on it, this may be the case. Since the topic of intended discussion included some apparently recently found material containing new types, perhaps his reluctance related to some involvement in a find that he'd rather not be known. If that was the case, the reluctance has had exactly the opposite effect than intended as the subject is now being discussed on a forum with thousands of participants (whereas if he'd given his name and asked for certain confidentiality in return, of course his views would have stayed with me to the grave).
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« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2011, 04:28:28 pm »

Andrew, you're spot on. I agree completely. I may not use my real name in most posts I make (though I'll frequently sign with my first name), but it would be extremely rude to not share my full real name in one-to-one conversations via PM or email.

You were right not to continue the conversation with the party who wouldn't give his name; I wouldn't have either.

Eric
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