I traded my anonymity for obscurity
Sy wrote this.
We all have a name, it's one given to us by our parent(s). Some of us adopt a new one, or are given a nickname by others. Some others choose to change our names by choice.
Somehow, back in "the day", a name was not enough. The original idea to me wasn't in hiding behind a pseudonym but of choosing a cool nickname. It's a strange concept to have one pick one's own nickname. I think something gets twisted in one's personality with the choice one has in this matter.
Now this pseudonym, this nickname, this .. alias wasn't how it used to be. People used to use their real name without pausing for thought. A fad arose around aliases.
The value of the alias is in the anonymity it brings. I believe that a great part of the fad of the alias arose because of its need in early phreaking and hacking [cracking] circles. Since those activities are obviously illegal, it was important to have practitioners hidden behind the mask of an alias.
At some point the coolness caught on, and others began to use an alias for everyday activities.
And so at some point before I stepped into the world of computers more broadly, I had to pause and pick an alias. The entire convoluted psychology is still something that I'm pondering.. but there's an ego in the choosing of a name, in the ownership of one's title, in the uniqueness and coolness of it. This alias concept is a subtly but thoroughly corrupting influence.
So I lived under the guise of a unique alias. It's strange how someone can think about hiding under a name which is unique to them. The alias and anonymity did tie together quite closely for a very long while.
Then at one point I pulled my head out of the sand to learn that there were some who were never phased by this alias fad. There were people who used their real name. They used it without the pride that an alias brings.. they were .. who they were.
It really hit me when I was doing a writeup on infoanarchy's wiki on the hacker. Something I noticed was that the Real (white hat) hacker didn't use an alias. Not ever. I had a word to describe this, and when I asked around I got it. Eschew. The Real Hacker eschews the use of an alias.
This concept stayed in my mind for quite some time, until I too learned to rise above my old alias to use my real name. .. and nothing changed. There was no fanfare, no realignment of the planets. The world didn't change.. I changed.
I no longer needed to hide. I had nothing to hide from, really.. I never did.
And so I stepped out into the world.. as an actor playing myself for a change.
Now I walk amongst other everyday people, judging them not on the coolness of their name but on the quality of their works. My priorities and actions are aligning after all these years.
However now that I act as myself, I have poured myself into an enormous pool of people. Instead of wielding an ego with an alias, I am just myself with my name. My ego having subsided, when I write, I write for my own interest and for the benefit of my reader.
With a wiki, I can write as myself, and without that ego I'm not worried about recognition in the least. I just contribute.
Now that I write without attachment with an ego, I have traded my anonymity with an alias for obscurity with my real name as one of many drops of rain in an ocean of contributions.