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Trust on-line



I'd like it if I could assign more than one category to a post. It would be peachy, because this might well end up being claptrap as well, and possibly include a whine or two. So.

Trust is the most important part of any relationship, be it in real life or in the relationships we have with people we are never likely to meet. There are people here I like, there are people here I admire, but as far as trust goes is it right, or indeed safe, to open up and be truthful about who I am. Stupid question really. The answer has to be no, but I'm asking it nevertheless.

I always tend to trust first and then be very disappointed when the trust I've given is thrown back in my face. Ultimately, as humanity spends more and more time on-line, the question of trust is going to become more important. Can you have meaningful relationships with people in cyberspace? Can you open up to a bunch of similar minded people without fear of recrimination? Can one come out from behind a pen name and say 'This is who I really am'?

My muse is saying yes, do it! I'm not so sure.


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Camy, I asked a similar question back in January and received several replies which led me to feel It was prudent to remain behind the safety of a nickname. You can see my original thread with replies at:http://www.awesomedude.com/adboard/index.php?showtopic=2179Note Blue's reply towards the end. Very good. I was feeling and still do feel much the way you indicate you are feeling about trusting people. I want to be upfront and open.I now know several on-line people who have revealed their real names to me as I have to them.We have done this after we exchanged our thoughts and views on a variety of subjects.We became comfortable with each other. Never the less I would not reveal my personal address details or phone numbers to anyone, nor would I ask for any one's details.If I were wanting to actually meet someone from the net, it would be in a public place, preferably with at least someone I know present.I would definitely set up a phone-in, "I'm OK," at a specific time with a friend.Getting back to trust; I think there are degrees of trust that one builds up with people on the net and in the forums.However, we can never be certain our trust is not being used for some other purpose. There are some pretty tricky dudes out there. Also we cannot be sure who is actually seeing our posts. What lurker is just sitting behind his computer waiting to pounce on those of us who like to trust strangers. At my age if someone under 55 or over 70 asks me for example, if I would like to dance, the first thing I do is make sure my wallet is safe. :icon6: When your young the dangers are even greater because the range of predators is wider and better concealed from your hopes and desires. I might be inclined to trust anyone about a common interest, such as their advice on computers or their ideas of a good book or movie or even there philosophies of life. I would not trust them to look after my bank account for me for the weekend. Don't laugh people have been this naive and have sent their bank details to people they have never met.I have a special bank account I use for net purchases. It only has a $100 in it. So if any one finds out the numbers and bypasses the security I will only lose this weeks shopping money. So I look upon my nickname in the same way as that bank account. It is a measure of security in my protection from being hurt.There is always the danger that people we would like to know might not be trusting of us because we "hide behind a nickname."Worse still, we might be judged wrongly as a certain kind of person because we use a nick. That cannot be helped it is the price we pay for our safety.We can only hope that the nature of our posts reveals the integrity of personalities. Even that can however be misinterpreted.Ask yourself this, How do you know I haven't said all of the above to lull you into a false sense of security that you can trust me?You don't. Finally you must rest upon your own assessments, but please be careful. :inquisitive:

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Camy, as you know, I figured it out, and I've not dropped a hint to anyone, even advising you on some steps that could be taken to remove the links I found. The problem is that you don't know who you are dealing with in a forum or a blog, and worse, there is no way of knowing who is reading it as a lurker, not even being a registered member. Privacy online is an illusion, because there really isn't any. If you decide to say anything, you should consider that it may be circulated around for your friends, family, and enemies to use any way they want. It's sort of like coming out to a friend. You may have misjudged the friend's discretion, but you also don't know who is listening in the next alcove over, or behind the fence in the next backyard. If you say it, it's out there.So, unless you are prepared to state it openly in public, don't say anything. Period. Take care Camy, as I think you are feeling about the same as most of us have when we feel the need to stop living the lie, and open up ourselves. The act is painful, every day, and the relief to be honest and open is great, but it carries that risk.

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The bottom line in my experience is MOST PEOPLE SUCK. I have lost most faith in humanity (there are exceptions) and I urge you to err on the side of caution. Patience pays.

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Thank you for the salutary comments. Camy I will remain.
It's for the best even though it makes for less happy relationships online. Beware the ones who tell you how much they can be trusted for they are often the least trustworthy. Although I know I can be trusted and any number of people here would probably vouch that I'd go to my grave with a secret rather than give it up, trust is properly EARNED. Although you all have a general idea of who/what I am, not one person here has any proof of that. For all you know I could be a 27 year old hot female babe with big hooters and a small family. I could be a 17 year old teen still in school. I could be a 34 year old cop trolling for paedophiles. I could be a very patient someone who hates gays secretly cultivating people to kill offline. You just DON'T know. Don't risk your life, liberty, and safety if you're not totally and completely sure because you damn well may be betting your life on it. Is it worth it?That being said, I have offered my trust to a few people over the years and generally it's worked well because I am very, very, very careful on that. Even those I am not friends with any longer still keep my trust. However, with this persona (WBMS) there's one and only one person on this planet who knows me under my real name and this name -- and it's been quite a few years and I've not been burnt yet and still it scares the holy fuck out of me. I trust my instincts enough to take that risk but in good conscience, I can not counsel someone else to take that course.
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"there's one and only one person on this planet who knows me under my real name and this name -- and it's been quite a few years and I've not been burnt yet and still it scares the holy fuck out of me."There's nothing like being aware of ones own weaknesses. May you never betray yourself. Of course I know that you truly meant to add "other" in between the 'one' and the 'person', and I'm just teasing you.

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OKay, my two cents.Several people have posted some valid cautions and sound advice. But reading this carefully, and with a sober mind I might add :inquisitive: , your question has caused me some confusion. I know, you shouldn't be surprised that I am confused.Would you tell a stranger that you just met in a bar your personal information? Probably not, but you will introduce yourself by your name. If the two of you are involved in a friendly chat, like over a football game or maybe cricket. It is harmless, a name tells nothing about yourself.Why is it online, everyone has these fears about using their first names? It tells me nothing about you, other than a handle to call you. It has been brought up that you can't trust the things others say to you online. I agree, but it has been my experience you can't really trust someone in real life either. How do you know that person you've been talking to in your local bar for three years isn't waiting for the right moment to take you home and pull your insides out? You don't, just like online. And maybe, you've never told that bar friend anything about you except your name. No harm done. Just like using your first name online does no harm. Because face it, if someone really wants to find you, it doesn't matter how you've hidden your IP address, or how clever you are, there is always someone else just a bit "CLEVER'ER". Whether online or not, if they want to find you, they can.So the question shouldn't be can you trust someone with your real first name. The question is do you want the false sense of security your handle gives you, or do you want to roll the dice just as you do in life, and not live in fear of what could happen. Before you reply, let me say that I know some of us online are fearful of being "outed". Understandable. Some of us might be in jobs that would frown upon these websites. Understandable. Some of us "might" be known if we were to reveal our true names. Like maybe we are a "known" editor, producer, director, actor, the list is endless. If so, I can understand having a handle.But if you are out, in your life, your job, and so on, I can't see the harm in telling others at least your first names. After all, how many Jason's do you know? My fourteen cents, and I'm usually wrong.Jason R.

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After all, how many Jason's do you know?
erm ... one, actually. You. :icon6: Or two, if you count Jason of Friday the 13th *shudders* :inquisitive: You make a good point, Jason. From now on, when I meet people in real life I'll introduce myself as 'Camy Emu'. That way I'll be safe no matter what! :smartass:Hmm. There is nothing safe about life. If you offer even a little bit of 'yourself' to public scrutiny, be it music, poetry, fiction, whatever; then the chance of some nutcase finding it objectionable increase. The rise of the web is changing society, as television did. Where it all ends is a mystery, though I think the alternate persona we all seem to have to take on can't, in the long run, be healthy.
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I don't think you're wrong Jason. I think you have made a valid cae for first names.I am Des and my last name is not Downunder (surprise!) I am fairly well out, but I have come to the conclusion that last names are not needed on the net. I know we can be traced but there is no need for us to help them.Using my first name gives me a sense of sharing myself honestly, which is important for me. I hope that is enough for a mutual trust to work with other people I meet on the net.Up to the present I haven't had any real problems other than the usual communication problems that occur because we aren't in the same room reading each other's body language; or being able to instantly correct a statement misunderstood.My Aussie irreverent sense of humour also seems to get me into trouble, but by and large the cultural differences between each of us can be negotiated without too much shock and horror if we remember that we may not all think the same just because we have some common interests. Sometimes difficult. :icon6: I generally reveal my age and sometimes that I have a long term partner. Both of these render me less likely to be approached by anyone other than homophobes who want to disembowel me for my orientation, or someone trying to save my heathen soul. Of course I could get lucky and find someone who wants to do both. :icon6: (That was an example of irreverent Aussie humour.) :inquisitive: I would tell any one at any age to not be picked up via the net even though I've heard of romances having started that way. Too risky. As far as your nick is concerned, Camy, has a charm and emu-ish appeal that conjures delightful images of inquiring innocence with integrity.So I think I can see that real first names are not always essential.

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I started with my Trab when I was not yet out, and simply haven't had the interest in changing it everywhere. My name is Bart, and I don't hesitate to tell people. I do NOT reveal information about myself in person. In fact, I am more likely to be open onlne than with straangers. I know it sounds silly, but with Aspergers Syndrome, I cannot really read body language and facial expressions anyway, so being able to check the consistency of someone's posts online is more of a benefit to me than a casual conversation in person.

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One of my best friends is someone who I only know online. We have gotten to know each other quite well, and I definitely trust him. However, there are things we have agreed aren't important. I don't know his last name and he doesn't know exactly where I live (my last name is common enough that I didn't mind him knowing them).If we really had to, both of us have enough information that we could track each other down, but we haven't and I don't see that we will.He is also one of two people to whom I've shown photos of myself and my family (after getting permission from my wife).Trust is not betrayed by hiding behind a pseudonym. Trust is betrayed when you use something against the person who trusted you. I believe I can trust my friend with my home address, but I don't see a need to give it to him, and he doesn't see a need to ask for it. Neither of us see it as a lack of trust in not sharing that (essentially) non-important information.

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Oh, and for the record, Graeme is my real first name. I had a friend try to identify my through Goggle (and he knew my last name, too), but couldn't. I CAN be tracked down, but I trust the people who have that extra information required to do that tracking. They have no incentive to go to that effort and if they did, I believe it would be for the right reasons.

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Quite a number of years ago, I was very involved with an online friendship with someone in Australia, Perth, to be exact. He told me about a number of his issues, one of which was sometimes falling into a diabetic coma. Well, one day, after having 'chatted' with him for some 14 days at least 2 times per day: nothing. No messages, no indication of being online at all. I was really worried. I contacted my server, explained the possible issue (medical emergency) and they traced the fellow's ISP, and contacted HIS server, who actually got the police to his apartment. He wasn't at home, and I never heard from him again. They would not tell me anything other than that he wasn't home. To this day I don't know if he died, or just got tired of me. :( I guess my point is that even seemingly unimportant information CAN become important under the right circumstances.

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Well I'm probably foolish but I do trust people quite a lot. I haven't ever used a pseudonym and have used my real first name and quite often my real surname too and I wonder whether it is a mistake to use real photographs - but I've sent a couple today!But I suppose that it's partly because I'm 73 and as Golda Meir used to say when they told her she should stop smoking "So I should die young?". What can happen to me now? My employer? no I haven't got one. My friends and family? they all know. Now I regret that when I was a school governor I didn't come out as I think someone was needed to try to stop homophobic bullying at that school. Ah well - water under bridge!Which one of you is going to do me harm?Love,Anthony

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Which one of you is going to do me harm?
Nobody, certainly out of the people I know ... but there are those out there who aren't as genuine: those who inveigle, pretend to be one thing when they are quite another.I like to think I don't know anybody like that - that my friends really are my friends - but then, would I know if I did?Camy
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