Nickname System and Anonymity
Nickname System and Anonymity
  • Reporter Park Min-young
  • 승인 2015.03.04 17:22
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From Jan. 6, POSTECH is implementing a nickname system in the POVIS free bulletin board. All Postechians should make their own nickname to use the free bulletin board anonymously. Of course, they can still use their real name if they want. Users can change their nickname once a month and if a nickname is forbidden for any reason, it becomes prohibited word and users cannot use it.
The Postech Times interviewed Strategic Information Management team’s leader Kang Sang Ik and the member Park Sang Jung to learn more about the nickname system. According to them, this system started in response to the abuse of anonymity. Before starting the system, Postechians used the anonymous name ‘Mr. X’ but some of them abused their anonymity. For example, they insulted others’ comments or even people directly. On the other hand, anonymity should be guaranteed to protect freedom of member's expression in a more comfortable environment. In order to solve these problems, the nickname system rather than the real name system is being introduced.
After launching the system, the rate of blaming or slandering other people in the board is expected to decrease because the identity of the person who blames other people is somewhat exposed. Of course, it is difficult to fully identify their personal information, but it is easier to find out who posted a negative comment by checking the routine of activity. If a person, who uses a specific nickname, blames someone terribly or harms one’s reputation, the victim can request an investigation to an investigation agency with defamation and the Strategic Information Management team can provide information of that nickname’s user. As a result, abuse of anonymity is expected to decrease.
Even though the abuse of anonymity may diminish a little, there can be some side effects in the nickname system. First, some nickname users can do mischief by creating inappropriate nicknames or using another individual’s real name. Second, nickname users, which abuse name of departments, high officials, or professors, could damage POSTECH’s prestiges. Third, users may think that they cannot be guaranteed anonymity on the board because university authorities can track who uses the nickname.
To deal with these side effects, the Strategic Information Management Team set up some solutions. First, to prevent nickname mischief, the team prohibited some words that are inappropriate for nicknames. Postechians are not allowed to make their nickname using a swear word or an individual or department’s real name. If someone makes an inappropriate nickname, the Strategic Information Management Team can restrain the nickname and add it to the list of prohibited words. Second, concerning users’ thought that their anonymity is damaged by university authorities tracking who uses particular nickname, the team announced through the Campus bulletin board that nickname user’s ID information is encoded and identified only if investigation is requested to the agency as a special case.

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