August 23, 2011

Nym of the rose

AlexanderThe nym wars: how many identities are enough? - I can't stay away from the debate over pseudonymity online.

Short version: we need pseudonyms because we live in an imperfect world where different aspects of our lives must be kept apart, and that will not change soon. Identity providers carry a significant social responsibility they might not yet recognize, but they are ethically obliged to carry. We, as identity subjects, also carry the ethical and practical responsibility to maintain a liveable identity ecosystem for ourselves.

I think there is a serious risk that we lock ourselves into an identity metasystem that cannot accommodate the richness of human identity creation. We simply do not have enough experience with social technology yet to do wise choices. The economies of scale might lead to an early convergence to solutions that both centralize power dangerously, limit our social flexibility and impair the open society.

Conversely I think the expansion of the online world in all its messy gloriousness is one of the best chances we have to free ourselves of many social limitations we in the past have taken for granted. We just need to remember to push the boundaries as far out as we can possibly imagine.

Posted by Anders3 at August 23, 2011 01:55 AM