Gavia Libraria

Pseudonymy, again

The Loon could have predicted it, really: @FakeElsevier has been accused of being a pseudonym. Horrors.

If some folks don’t like what one says, they will abuse one’s wallet name to intimidate one into ceasing to say it. We all know this, except apparently for Google+ engineers. Some of us have done it. Some of us have been on the receiving end of it. Some of us have watched in dismay as healthy, necessary conversations have been curtailed because of it.

So why are we having credibility discussions about pseudonyms? Why? Pseudonyms exist in part because it’s the only way some things that need saying can be half-safely said. Assuredly it would be more courageous to associate those words with one’s wallet name, but in that case, how many of the words would be said at all? Quashing pseudonymy is quashing speech.

Anyone who doesn’t care to believe or trust the Loon’s words because she’s an incorporeal pseudonym is invited not to believe and trust those words. Anyone who doesn’t care to read her words or engage with them, likewise. Anyone who cares to disparage her because she’s a pseudonym may go right ahead.

The Loon thinks that most thoughtful librarians and library-interested can engage with words devoid of wallet-name authorship. Her commenters near-universally bear that odd notion out. When there’s a problem with the words, that problem can be pointed out (and the Loon’s commenters do that, and she’s grateful for it) just as any other problem with words can.

The Loon is @FakeElsevier. She hopes many of her readers are too. Anyone who wishes to be the Loon is invited to; why not? Sometimes this is how we protect each other, as well as necessary speech and action. O los has de perdonar, o matar la villa toda. It’s a very old idea, probably a good bit older than Lope de Vega.

In the Loon’s experience, as in @FakeElsevier’s, hammering on pseudonymy is a distraction tactic. Let’s not give in to it, please, and those who resort to it should at minimum think twice.

2 thoughts on “Pseudonymy, again

  1. Meredith

    Well, it was coming from a pretty obvious source who was clearly grasping at straws and, especially in this case, I don’t think it’ll work.

    Back in the day, I found myself defending and even promoting the Annoyed Librarian (though I’ve found his/her writing completely unpalatable for the past several years) precisely because I was so frustrated by people insisting that if you had something negative or satirical to say, you had to put your name on it. Given the emotionally taxing battles I’ve had in the past when I disagreed with what the majority was saying, I can fully understand the appeal of pseudonymy. It can’t get personal if they don’t know who you are. I completely understand why you feel the need to be pseudonymous and I am very happy this blog exists. :-)

    1. LibraryLoon Post author

      Thank you very much, Meredith. The Loon has long admired your bravery in your own wallet-named blog; long may it continue!