I wrote this on Google+, but I’ll repost it here.

Here’s an amusing irony about the ‘real-names’ versus pseudonyms debate. Many ‘real-namers’ object to the existence of pseudonymous profiles on the basis that it gives the pseudonymous free run to ‘act like jerks’ and that this would not happen if they were forced to use their real names.

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It all comes down to what is considered to be an ‘authentic’ name. If, for example, you’re a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild, you probably never use your given name – as the SAG requires names on its rolls to be unique, and never used before. Thus if you have the same name as anyone previously on its rolls, you’ve no recourse but to register with the SAG under another and use it for all related activities.

Names being what they are, virtually nobody you see in the cast, crew or credits of a film are using the names they were born with. Many people increasingly use public profiles online, never leaving online traces of or using their private identity at all.

However, using a nickname, nom de plume, stage-name, professional name, or performance name might not be good enough for Google+. Google+ really seems to want your original name. The one that maybe hardly anyone actually knows you by.

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There’s only really so many ways to verify the age of someone that you’ve never seen (actually, it often isn’t all that much easier in person, but that’s another story).

You can treat them as if they’re of-age if they have a credit card, but that’s inaccurate and a violation of credit-card merchant agreements (symptoms include suddenly having to change payment providers).

You can match identification document information against an identification provider like Aristotle-Integrity, but that’s unreliable and fraught with issues, and doesn’t prove that the information describes the applicant.

There must be a simpler way to verify Second Life accounts as adults! Oh, wait…. here it is!

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