Real names vs. Net aliases

The noble Order of the Knights of Jubal traces its origins back to the Year Two Thousand A.D., when a group of distinguished persons of good and true character, founded the order to promote chivalry and honour. The order takes its name from our leader, Alexander Jubal McRae, who on two (so far) occasions has been seriously injured, in one case fatally, defending an innocent woman from attackers.

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Postby Atlas_v1.1 on Sun Jun 03, 2001 2:06 am

I've been pondering something for a time.<P>I looked over the roster, recently. And it occurred to me that it looks like we're just another bunch of weenies hiding behind aliases. Rather many of the Companions of the Order seem to be registered by alias, not by their real name. And to tell the truth, I can't tell all of which that are or aren't.<P>Is this something that we really want? After all, an order dedicated to honour and chivalry, whose members hide behind alternate names seems a bit hypocritical if you ask me.<P>Past that, there is the matter of swearing an oath. An oath sworn in your own given (or at least personal) name is binding, no two ways about it. An oath sworn in the name of an alias is more rickety, at least to me. Maybe it's because I've had roleplaying characters who swore and held oaths that I myself would never touch with a ten foot pole, I can't say.<P>So here is my plea to all of you that have sworn in under other names than your real one:
Step out into the light, and show the world that you stand by your word by true name and real life. After all, chivalry is not an evil thing to swear. So you have nothing to hide.
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Postby Jim Brockman on Sun Jun 03, 2001 3:06 am

To a degree I understand, so I used my real name. However, a name is a powerfull toll that people could use against you. Specially with the amount of internet crime out there. So, I think that if they want to use an alias, then let them. Each to his own.<P>------------------
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Postby Rei on Sun Jun 03, 2001 4:40 am

there was also a note of caution in the very beginning as things first started moving, and the ideals of the order were vague.<P>as for names, Rei is a shortening of my 'real' first name, and I prefer the shorter version. Asteria is the name I use in the magical community, and as such has its own special connotations and 'power' if you like. I also feel very little resonance with the name on my birth certificate -- its a personal choice. But I would have no trouble re-swearing under my birth name, if so asked. Guess personal preference is at play again *chuckle*
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Postby Jennet on Sun Jun 03, 2001 6:11 am

I used an alias. I'm fairly paranoid about giving out my name online. And to tell you the truth, it gives me the willies to see my first name in print or online, since it's so rare and all, anyway.<P>Any organization that requires me to give a full, real name online is one that I can't belong to, unfortunately.<P>------------------
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Postby Greg on Sun Jun 03, 2001 7:29 am

It's a difficult question, but it comes down to what people are comfortable using.<P>Shakespeare once asked, "What's in a name?". Yes, names do have power but only such power as we give them. (Sorry if this offends any Wiccans, as I am aware that names are important in some rites.)<P>A Name is simply a word used to refer to a person. Because we exist as part of an Internet community, it is natural that people would choose to swear by the name they are known by within that community.<P>I am known by several handles throughout the Internet, and in real life. In fact, I was known as "Mystic" (one of my more common ones) on the Keenspot boards up until the point when I became a knight.<P>At that point, I felt it was appropriate to cast off that name and be proudly known for who I am, because chivalry goes beyond the Internet and throughout the "real" world. But that was a personal choice on my part.<P>All of the knights appear on the roster under their real names. I suspect that's for a similar reasons, although I haven't asked.<P>I'm rambling a bit here. Let me summarise it, as I see it.<P>When a Companion joins the order, they swear an oath. Some swear it on the board, some by e-mail. Some use their real name, some use a handle. However, no one checks up to see if they follow the Oath or not. That's a matter between each Companion and their own conscience. So it doesn't really matter how they swear it, or under what name, because it is binding only to themselves.<P>On becoming a Knight, an individual formally assumes resposibility not only to themselves but to others, to serve as an example to the rest of the Order, and to be judged (and held up to public scruitiny). As such, it is more appropriate to use formal, real names.<P>Regards,
Sir Gregory<P>
<P>------------------
-------------
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Postby Lothar Sauvage on Sun Jun 03, 2001 7:39 am

Well folks, like many people both on line and in various subcultures, I go by many names. <P>My given name is Aaron Daniel Harper. Odd name for a Famtrad Pagan, but my mother liked the name Aaron and I am named Daniel after someone she knew.<P>In an SCA, pen, and this context, I go by an name that is more synchronous with the time where my conduct is apropos. If the world considers chivalry as old fashioned as swordsmanship and leathercraft, then so be it. I'm old fashioned, and so is my chosen name Lothar Sauvage. The first name finds it's origin from the 10th century in a region of France where my family is from and Entomologically the last name fits me perfectly, being a bit less than tame.<P>In the Hacker community (white hat, if there was any question), radio call sign, and on line community, I go by Mazonn. This name is from regional Romanian folklore and fits because of all the creatures that go bump in the night, the mazonn is the shepherd, the one who cares for the children of man and stands against both the damned and his own nature. I also use ITmage where Mazonn was not available or I need more than one identity for whatever reason.<P>When I took the oath, I used all these names. They all identify the same person and my word given in one context is no different from any other. The preamble to my oath clarifies this. The only name I use that I did not use in this context was my magical name, because I felt this was not the place for a religious context.<P>While I can see your point about the names somewhat, I feel that the people who take this seriously but used a nickname were not hiding from their oath. In truth, I am known to more people as Mazonn or Lothar Sauvage than I am by my given name. Which would hold more power over me then in anything but a legal context?<P>Regards,<P>Lothar Sauvage, CI
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Postby TheVagabond on Sun Jun 03, 2001 10:02 am

I swore the oath both by my real name and by my nickname. I identify very strongly with both, and the concept of the Vagabond is a focus for my anachronistic and supposedly outdated ideals of chivalry, romance, and spirituality. Keeping that in mind is important to me, especially in matters like these.<P>However, I also understand that swearing by one's given name is important. Thus, I swore by both as they are both me.<P>I hope it was not my admission to the order that has brought the practice into question.<P>------------------
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Postby Rei on Sun Jun 03, 2001 10:07 am

that's an interesting idea, Greg, and I think I find myself agreeing (geez, is that vague or what!)<P>as leaders, knights are more 'public' than the CI's -- the phrase first amongst equals springs to mind<P>in that context, 'real' names may be more appropriate. I think if I were in that position, I would convert back to the name on my birth certificate, for that reason -- aliases there might detract from the aims of the Order. In that context, one could be accused of being a 'weenie' hiding behind a non de plume *eg*<P>to each his/her/there own<P>rei
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Postby spade78 on Fri Jun 08, 2001 1:00 am

When I swore the oath to join the order, not too terribly long ago, I used both my real name and my handle. The handle has a pretty simple explanation, 78 was my number when I played high school football and I've always been enamored by the Navy's "Black Aces" Tomcat squadron (hence the spade). I too feel that the use of a real name or a handle is up to that person alone because only that person will know deep down whether he/she is upholding their oath, no one else. So does it matter what name they use when they join? I think not. For me it was simple, Spade78 sounds pretty silly all by itself. <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/smile.gif"><P>Eugene Cheng, Spade78, CI
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Postby Atlas_v1.1 on Fri Jun 08, 2001 2:41 am

All right... My worry was that someone might regard us as insincere by viewing the roster. But if the explanation is, that a Companion is ruled by his/her conscience, without the scrutiny of the order as such, contrary to Knights, then that will be accepted by most. I would suggest, however, that some mention of this system be made on the site. Maybe on the 'about the oaths' page?<P>Still, my personal feeling is, that an oath should be sworn in ones given name in public, and in one's true name at heart. But this is my sentiment, and not something I expect others to blindly accept.<P>Thank you to those who have responded here.
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Postby Sekhmet on Sat Jun 09, 2001 6:12 am

You asked if those under alias names would step out into the light. Personally, I don't like sunshine, so I try to avoid it.<P>I've read through this thread as it's grown, and I seem to agree most with those people who point out that whatever name we go by doesn't matter to the integrity of the oath we have all taken. Names are, after all, superficial labels given to certain personalities. I think that this oath is a binding contract on our spirits and consciences, rather than on the name on our paycheck, credit card, and telephone bills.<P>Sabina Vincenza diCasablanca is not my given name IRL. After doing extensive geneological research, however, it is the name I've adopted in the internet society where I spend most of my time. This name connects me to my ancestors, who continue to live through my thoughts and actions. By using this name in my oath, I bind myself not only to the Order but to those ancestors whom I seek to honour. Fifteen or twenty generations back, this might have been my name. Back then, there would have been knights, not-so-random acts of chivalry, castles, tourneys, and yes, the occasional war requiring those aforementioned knights to show up and do their duties according to the oaths they swore to their liege lords and ladies.<P>Therefore, I see the name I have chosen for myself as another oath to bind me even more tightly to this Order; this way I cannot break one oath without breaking the other, and I am led by two reins instead of one. In doing so I feel I have paid homage to those whose lives have eventually birthed me, whose souls may be watching me at this very moment, and who will eventually be my jury when my own soul is being tried after my body has passed on. My given name would be unfamiliar to their tounges; I have hearkened back to them and gleaned something more familiar from my past so that they, my countless grandmothers and grandfathers, would name me in comfort and pride as their seed and flower.<P>If the time ever comes that I should be asked to step forward to a higher echelon within this Order, my lawful given name will be put forward.<P>To appease those who would rather have my Oath in my given name, I shall reissue my Oath at this time, with slight modification:<P>I, in the names of my soul and body, chosen and given, bestowed by breath and law, do solemnly accept the Oath of the Order of the Knights Ivbalis. I vow to uphold the Right at price of life, limb, mind, and soul. I vow to be Just and Fair in all dealings, and to temper with Justice, Clemency. I vow to assist and defend all others, human and non-human creatures alike, in the name of this Order. I vow to conduct myself with Honour and Dignity in every act. So sworn on my Name, to this Order, in the presence of these Witnesses.
<P>------------------
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Postby Majamane on Sat Jun 09, 2001 6:21 am

Personally I used my nick because on the off chance someone I know is on the board they'd know me as that before my actual name. <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/wink.gif"> If people want real names that's fine by me as well. <P>Matthew MacNeil
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Postby Jai on Wed Jun 27, 2001 7:01 am

Want my real name? It's Robert Sutton Jr. Never gone by it, IRL or else. My nickname in real life is Jay, which slowly became Jai. Jai Atillar is more personal of a name than anything I said previously, and it binds me more than any of the others could.
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Postby Manhattan on Thu Jun 28, 2001 7:17 am

the new girl opens her mouth again... <P>~looks up from paperwork~ real name... er... well... in about 6 weeks and $147, V.A. Whitecrow WILL be my real name. i figure my parents didn't know me when i was born so how could they name me properly? <P>i think that people have the right to call themselves what they will, as long as they aren't using it to cover wrongdoings. i don't consider my online name to be hiding anything, it's more ME than the name my parents gave me. that's why i got the paperwork to make it my real name.<P>as for the oath... anything that comes out of my mouth in good faith is bound to me, no matter what name i'm wearing. that's like saying i have to wear my real shirt for things like that. ~giggles~ hey, another reason for practicing in the nude! anyway... <P>as a practitioner of magic, i probably have a different take on this than most people. for one thing, my powers-that-be know when i'm roleplaying and when i'm serious. i don't knock on their door if i'm fooling around. and if i promise something in their names and i don't stand by it, you can bet your bippy a cosmic wedgie is coming in my direction, no matter what name i'm using. in the Craft, secrecy of identity has always been traditional (though as a die~hard <i>neo</i>-pagan i'm not clinging to traditions). we're all naked souls in the presence of our gods and goddesses so the idea of using aliases for this kind of thing doesn't bother me as long as people are consistent with what they call themselves and make public any change of name.<P>as a matter of respect for one's companions, i believe that we should pick a name (no matter which one) and we should stand by it with pride. we should respect each other's choice of names, whether they've chosen them for reasons of security or spirituality or self-expression. in my case, i do differentiate between my real and online names (V.A. Whitecrow and Manhattan) and it is a gift of my trust to you here that i have chosen to share my name with you. that said, i don't disrespect anyone who chooses differently.<P>~mattie
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