diberry - 8:16 pm on Feb 14, 2013 (gmt 0)
Pseudonymity has a long tradition, and it can also convey reputation. I'm coming around to not liking anonymity in some situations because of its lack of accountability, which is often misused... but I'm feeling comfortable with pseudonyms. YMMV.
This is precisely what bothers me. Before the web ever existed, pseudonyms allowed people to do publicized work without having to expose their personal identity to the world. This allows people to have a public life as a writer without exposing themselves to quite a few potential horrors. It might be quite safe to run a site that sells widgets and post your name as Bob Johnson, but if your name is unique and you're writing about social topics like politics, religion or equality, you could find yourself in the situation that befell Kathy Sierra: [en.wikipedia.org ] Getting death threats from people who have found your home address, and are posting your social security number online. And she wasn't even talking about anything controversial - apparently, it was just the fact that she was a woman and there are still some people out there who take issue with women in certain arenas.
Being anonymous does allow people to be jerks online, but it also allows people to avoid jerks who might connect real names to real places and cause real harm. Any attempt to force people to use their actual, legal name if they want to speak online will have the effect of silencing some people with very good messages. That's not my idea of progress.