Pseudonyms vs. Real Names

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Sapphi
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Pseudonyms vs. Real Names

#1 Post by Sapphi » Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:32 pm

This is something I've been wondering about for awhile and figured it wouldn't hurt to put it out here for discussion so I could get some outside input.

How do you decide whether or not you want to put your real name on your work?

A bit of background in my case - I'm an artist first and foremost, and so my projects are less on the "commercial game" side of things and more towards "self-expression art piece". There are times I think it would be more appropriate to have my real name in the credits. However, that doesn't seem to be the trend in the OELVN scene, even among people who take a decidedly more artsy approach with their work.

I can think of some good reasons to use my real name over a pseudonym:
- It looks so much better in the credits (Aesthetics, aesthetics!)
- It's more professional, and thus,
- It's more easily tied to real-world endeavors and art projects
- It's, well... real

I can also think of some good reasons not to use it:
- Somebody might stalk and kill me
- I can't say anything stupid or the backlash will follow me forever
- Somebody might stalk and kill me
- Something about my real name makes it hurt worse when people use it angrily
- Somebody might stalk and kill me!

As you can see, it is a hard decision. I would really rather not be stalked and killed, but "Written and Directed by Sapphi" sounds a little tacky. There aren't enough syllables.
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Re: Pseudonyms vs. Real Names

#2 Post by SusanTheCat » Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:47 pm

I was known online for ten years as Sareena27. Then I became tired of the real world/online world divide.

Now I go by Susan the Cat. Yes Susan is my real world name, but it doesn't give out as much information for people to stalk and kill me. (Mind you, it isn't that hard to find out my real name. :) )

So I guess my answer is that I went half and half.

Susan
(Who still answers if you call her Sareena)
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Re: Pseudonyms vs. Real Names

#3 Post by Applegate » Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:01 pm

Personally, I always advocate a certain degree of anonymity on the internet.

Why do you think people would stalk and kill you over your Visual Novels? Your concerns with using your real name seem more to be that you're uncomfortable putting yourself in the spot light; you fear a backlash if you say "something stupid", and you're more affected when people use your real name when expressing displeasure.

If you're uncomfortable for those reasons and think there is a very real chance someone'd stalk and kill you over publishing your name in a Visual Novel, I'd advise against using your real name. Do what keeps you comfortable.

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Re: Pseudonyms vs. Real Names

#4 Post by Carassaurat » Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:55 pm

I'll just leave this here:

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I know I've said way too many dumb things that I wish wouldn't be traceable anymore to go by my real name while writing terrible visual novels (including unintendedly terrible ones). The Internet is like Augustus to my Virgil, but not anymore!

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Re: Pseudonyms vs. Real Names

#5 Post by Nuxill » Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:18 pm

There are a lot of artists who post artwork online who use their full name. Also with sites like facebook it's pretty easy to find out what a person's last name/address is and I think our culture is adapting to it. I don't know if there's been an increase of stalking and killing because of it; besides, if a person wants to stalk and kill you they'll do it wether or not you sign your art with your full name. ;)

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Re: Pseudonyms vs. Real Names

#6 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:35 pm

I use Auro-Cyanide pretty much everywhere as an identity online, so I much prefer to use it as my creditable name. It's mostly because Auro-Cyanide is literally just me with another name, I pretty much act the same, I don't drop accounts and start new ones, this is me and a name is a name. I am also very keen to keep my online work seperate from my real life mostly because I don't want the two to be involved with each other. Most of the people in my real life TM wouldn't really understand what I'm doing anyway, they aren't even gamers, so why make that kind of thing difficult *shrug*

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Re: Pseudonyms vs. Real Names

#7 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:40 pm

Sapphi wrote: How do you decide whether or not you want to put your real name on your work?
Good question. I grew up before the internet was a thing, so I've always used pseudonyms online. However, I DO have my real name online with my portfolio work and in certain other communities. A few members here actually know my real name.

I work in VNs and anime under a screenname because there is still a stigma associated with them in the fields I'm in, so I don't want to necessarily hurt my future chances at contracts in case an art director or co-workers are small minded. One of my last project leads at the studio I was at referred to VNs as "those porno games that pedophiles play" when some news story about one popped up in his newsfeed.

"So, what are you doing after work?"
"Not working on making art for one those games. I can tell you that." ::suspiciously nervous and awkward laughter::


I've always liked the separation and compartmentalization that different names can give you too. At one point in my life, my family and friends knew me by my middle name, my job and work associates knew me by my first name, and my military buddies and officers knew me by my last name. I could always tell who a message was from by what name they were asking for. (Though a lot of people felt deceived and that is was creepy for me to be going by different names with different people, even though all the names I was using were legally one of my names.)

I do something similar now, where bills and business letters come to one name, and friendly letters come to a different name.

One solution, which I'm debating for use whenever I finish one of my VN games, is to use a pseudonym that is a real name. Like Samuel Clemmens using Mark Twain. It doesn't sound weird, it looks professional (provided you don't pick a stupid name) and it protects your real identity.
Sapphi wrote: I would really rather not be stalked and killed . . . .
Sapphi, open your window and come talk to me in the bushes outside about this paranoia you have with being stalked . . . :wink:

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Re: Pseudonyms vs. Real Names

#8 Post by Sapphi » Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:01 pm

Applegate wrote: Why do you think people would stalk and kill you over your Visual Novels?
I don't think anyone would stalk me specifically because of something I wrote; I've always just had it jammed into my brain that There Are Bad People In The World and You Should Never Give Out Personal Information Over The Internet. On a related note, I've always thought it was astounding that published authors and well-known artists appeared in person at conventions and talked to fans. "Aren't they afraid of being assassinated?!" is the thought that always runs through my head. Maybe I'm just overly paranoid?
Nuxill wrote:besides, if a person wants to stalk and kill you they'll do it wether or not you sign your art with your full name. ;)
Gee, thanks, Nuxill. That makes me feel soooo much better. :lol:
LateWhiteRabbit wrote: I work in VNs and anime under a screenname because there is still a stigma associated with them in the fields I'm in, so I don't want to necessarily hurt my future chances at contracts in case an art director or co-workers are small minded.
You know, that is a good point I will definitely consider, being that I want to work in animation and all.
LateWhiteRabbit wrote: One solution, which I'm debating for use whenever I finish one of my VN games, is to use a pseudonym that is a real name. Like Samuel Clemmens using Mark Twain. It doesn't sound weird, it looks professional (provided you don't pick a stupid name) and it protects your real identity.
I like this idea... I'll have to think about this. Although it would be weird to meet someone who knew me from the internet and have them calling me a name I don't recognize. (In the case of my current username, people IRL actually call me Sapphi as it's a childhood nickname that I bestowed upon myself.)

LateWhiteRabbit wrote:
Sapphi wrote: I would really rather not be stalked and killed . . . .
Sapphi, open your window and come talk to me in the bushes outside about this paranoia you have with being stalked . . . :wink:
H-H-HOW DID YOU KNOW THAT THERE ARE BUSHES OUTSIDE MY WINDOW
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Re: Pseudonyms vs. Real Names

#9 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:16 pm

Sapphi wrote:
LateWhiteRabbit wrote:
Sapphi wrote: I would really rather not be stalked and killed . . . .
Sapphi, open your window and come talk to me in the bushes outside about this paranoia you have with being stalked . . . :wink:
H-H-HOW DID YOU KNOW THAT THERE ARE BUSHES OUTSIDE MY WINDOW
Because I'm outside your window. Duh! :twisted: Cough. Also, you know, law of averages.

As far as pseudonyms go, just look at this list of famous people who used or are using a pseudonym. The people you thought you knew aren't really who you think they are! Everyone is fake! It's all a lie! . . . Ahem. For instance, did you know that Adolf Hitler was born Adolf Schickelgruber (his mother's name), but used his step-father's last name instead? Which was Heilder, but Adolf spelled it Hitler? Or my favorite, Lewis Carroll, who was really Charles Dodson.

Names can make a big impression. When I want to appear more in control and masculine, I use my name with a lot of strong consonants. When I don't care, I use my other name, which has an inordinate amount of vowels and soft sounds. And people treat me differently. I get a lot more respect when I use my more masculine name. Your choice of what name to use as a pseudonym can really affect how people see you!

As an interesting parallel, your avatar can really affect how people see you as well. For instance, my avatar has a sort of neutral, thoughtful expression and is looking towards the posts. Not an accident. Just as how my last one with a relaxed and sleeping Alice wasn't an accident. Users with scowling or yelling avatars can be perceived as angry when they aren't . . . .

It's all about . . . presentation. And social engineering of your interactions with others if you really want to go down the rabbit hole . . . .

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Re: Pseudonyms vs. Real Names

#10 Post by Deji » Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:32 pm

Hmm...

I normally use pseudonyms when I'm online or when I'm amongst friends. I kind of dislike being called by my actual name with friends ): (may be because in my family we usually use nicknames for everybody).

I normally don't use my first name because I don't like it. I like my first name when it's used along my second name, but not by itself, so I just leave it out completely (a lot of people don't even know the name I usually go by is not my first name!)

I started using my real name online a couple of years ago, when I decided that I'd do this professionally (as in making a living out of drawing anime-ish things instead of it being a side/hobby thing), and so far it's worked very well. People tend to approach me in a more serious manner when I present myself with my real name and last name instead of using "Deji", so it's good for work, I think.

I don't know if I'd release a personal project under my real name, though... It may be embarrassing ^^; (while I draw for a living and it's decent enough to be paid for it, my stories are a completely different beast... ^^; )
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Re: Pseudonyms vs. Real Names

#11 Post by Victoria Jennings » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:11 pm

Victoria's my real name, though Jennings isn't. However... idk, I like the sound of Victoria Jennings better than my actual name, so. *shrug*

Also, I'm way too trusting. I usually have no problem with giving out my real full name and other intimate details both online and off. Working on it. orz

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Re: Pseudonyms vs. Real Names

#12 Post by Sapphi » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:13 pm

LateWhiteRabbit wrote: As far as pseudonyms go, just look at this list of famous people who used or are using a pseudonym.
Aww, man, not Dusty Springfield!!

...Well, now that I've seen that big long list of lies, I think I can feel comfortable about completely fabricating a pen-name.
LateWhiteRabbit wrote:Names can make a big impression. When I want to appear more in control and masculine, I use my name with a lot of strong consonants. When I don't care, I use my other name, which has an inordinate amount of vowels and soft sounds. And people treat me differently. I get a lot more respect when I use my more masculine name.
That is awesome. That reminds me of the experiment I conducted* during my last semester at community college. Prior to it, I had been coming to school mostly in jeans and hoodies. Then I started coming to school in jumpers, balloon sleeves, vintage sweaters, knee socks, saddle shoes, etc. Suddenly, I was getting a lot of "good looks" (You know, when you can tell you are making a positive impression on people), women I worked with went out of their way to tell me how much they liked my outfits, and men went out of their way to open doors. Thanks, art teachers! Presentation really is everything! Now I know how to subconsciously manipulate people into being nice to me! :twisted:
LateWhiteRabbit wrote:As an interesting parallel, your avatar can really affect how people see you as well. For instance, my avatar has a sort of neutral, thoughtful expression and is looking towards the posts. Not an accident. Just as how my last one with a relaxed and sleeping Alice wasn't an accident. Users with scowling or yelling avatars can be perceived as angry when they aren't . . . .
I'm glad you brought this up because I've actually thought a lot about this and I think it's fun to study. Certain avatars provoke more respect out of me than others. And yes, if it looks like an avatar is angry, I will tend to think of its owner as more of an angry person than someone with a cheerful avatar. When I think of people on the board, their avatars come to mind in the absence of a face. It works the opposite way, too... someone here posted with a Yui Hirasawa avatar and I had to do a double-take before I realized it wasn't Samu-kun!

(Sorry Samu-kun, didn't mean to imply that you have a girly face. :P )

Ahh, psychology is so fun...
*I wasn't actually conducting an experiment. I was actually dressing that way for a completely different reason, one I won't go into here (because it's a heartbreaking story), but suffice it to say that I was still definitely engineering my outfits to create a certain effect...
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Re: Pseudonyms vs. Real Names

#13 Post by nyaatrap » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:48 pm

I have a few aliases in the Internet. All of them are separated from each others. Someone who knows one of them never know another, and I never spilled my Internet alias in the real life. Of cause I need to tell my real name on the Internet sometimes when I work on some money related, but I always make an agreement with them to keep all my private secret. I don't think using pseudonyms has any disadvantage.

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Re: Pseudonyms vs. Real Names

#14 Post by TrickWithAKnife » Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:02 am

I can also think of some good reasons not to use it:
- Somebody might stalk and kill me
- I can't say anything stupid or the backlash will follow me forever
- Somebody might stalk and kill me
- Something about my real name makes it hurt worse when people use it angrily
- Somebody might stalk and kill me!
I'm totally okay with my real name. Actually, I prefer using my real name, so if anyone wants, please feel free to call me CJ.
I'm a guy though, living in a very safe place, and I also do boxing. Being attacked is not really a big concern for me.

As for backlash from what I say, I stand by what I say, so if there is backlash, so be it.

I can handle criticism very well.

But after saying all that, I generally encourage people to be careful with their identities online.
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Re: Pseudonyms vs. Real Names

#15 Post by papillon » Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:24 am

I have definitely encountered artists who use something that looks very much like a real name online, but is not their name at all. For me it's complicated - my actual name is not at all hard to figure out if you're looking, but the first one you're likely to find is false... for pen-name reasons. It sounds cooler than my actual name does! (And I may someday get around to the legal name change, but I don't want to have to deal with the paperwork and passports and all.)

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