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Use of real names instead of screen names?

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Rob Laubacher

Sep 25, 2012


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Some advisors to the Climate CoLab suggested having people identified by their real names everywhere on the site, as a way to encourage members to stand more fully behind what they post. Real names now appear on the Members tab in the site's Community area, see . But for now, members' screen names show up when they write a proposal or post a comment, for example, see my screen name to the left of this comment. What if the CoLab began to use member's real names, instead of their screen names, everywhere they post content on the site? We welcome your thoughts! Robert Laubacher For the Climate CoLab Staff

James Greyson

Sep 26, 2012


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I enjoy knowing people's real names when I reply in discussions. We can look this up on (most) profiles but seeing it on the discussion page would be neater. Perhaps real names also give something closer to a face-to-face community feel - just as with the profile pictures that now show up on discussion posts? James

James Atkins

Sep 28, 2012


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I agree, real names are best. James

Richard Gillaspie

Nov 19, 2014


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I wondered about that when I joined. what's the point of a screen name.

Sam Notsureyouneedthis

Apr 20, 2015


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As you can probably see I am not a fan of real names. If you want to stir the pot and make people collaborate that would not do this in "real life" I think it is good if you can stay below the radar. Just imagine I'd have a bout of conscience and want to start to wreck my horrible day job here...

Michal Williams

Jun 12, 2015


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Screen names encourage bad behavior. They've certainly encouraged mine.

Johnnie Buttram

Jun 12, 2015


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Climate Change Problems + Real Names = Better Solutions! Johnnie Buttram

Olawale Olaniyan

Jun 12, 2015


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Real names are better for the purpose of 'traceability'. Project names are equally important if it is short enough and can provide a link to the owner of the idea. Olawale

Ben Howard

Jun 17, 2015


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Actually, displaying full names and email addresses is probably the reason for a dearth of proposals, voting, and comments in this years contests. Asking for a valid email address is fine. But until climate colab has a opt-in checkbox for the display of full names and email addresses, the type of skilled professionals of many disciplines that you want input from will not join. As we learn that online privacy is dead, especially in the United States, and that corporations, employers and politically motivated actors have access to every post you will ever make, few people will be interested in risking their careers collaborating on projects like this. Analytics using your online activity have now been proven to do better determining future job performance than a human interviewer. People are being targeted for thought crimes based on their online activities. A successful proposal might attract unwanted media attention or snarking from a well-paid anti-environment disinformation industry. The ClimateColab website was developed about at least five years ago and should be updated for modern privacy issues and opt-in for next years contests. I even thought twice before posting this comment or entering the contest because of privacy issues. I will be submitting a high-impact proposal in the next few days under a pseudonym, but otherwise fully in compliance with proper community behavior. Part of my proposal include crowdsourcing similar to ClimateColab, and a crowd-sourcing website has been completed but not yet released. I never even considered posting actual names or showing email addresses, but do require valid email address, or SSO sign-on(Google, Facebook, etc.), but only display two character initials in postings so all displayed postings will be fully anonymous to search engines and the public. I actually would appreciate removal of my ClimateColab account if using a psudonym is a problem before I waste additional time. Thank you.

Thomas Kasper

Jun 26, 2015


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I used my real name as screen name. Names are the tools to identifying one and I don't like to change it anywhere. Names are not just words(in my opinion). It is the way to know who really are they. visit my site( to know more about me

Mario Cobucci Neto

Jun 27, 2015


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I think the real name is more appropriate to have a record and identification. Despite the nicknames seem more funny and exciting attracting curious.

Joseph Chepsoi

Jul 6, 2015


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What is in a name? Since everyone has a name, even Nameless is a name, and a name is an identifier tag, then integrity, credibility, and accountability requires every one to use their real name(s). Permitting use of pseudo names, fake names, screen names, etc names, encourages deception, mind corruption and use of unacceptable language, uncouth words and virtual misconduct. Using real names is a mark of maturity, proof of seriousness and attracts upright thoughts. I support, support, support ...

Vicky Gibbs

Apr 25, 2017


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I agree with you, I think real names are best.



Ralf Lippold

Aug 18, 2017


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Thanks for asking, Rob. Real names stay for authenticity, putting oneself in the frontline of the cause one is standing up for. 

Sure there might be reasons, like not being visible to your employer, boss or friends (due to obvious reasons).

Been through various MOOCs (American and German ones) the big difference is that the most effective engagement happens when people go into the conversation with their real name and a personal profile picture. Interestingly, due to privacy issues inherited from German history decades ago, most German MOOCs I have done never required (or even allowed) to put up a picture or real name. This led most often to superficial conversations on a shallow and superficial level, holding engagement down. 

Jay Fraser

Aug 19, 2017


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Yes, real names are best to identify people. I agree with this.

Hatem Zitouni

Sep 6, 2017


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Well, real names means a great visibility

Ron Hardy

Dec 17, 2018


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All must be real,even motivation if we want to succeed with climate changes fight.

Jim Moss

Feb 28, 2019


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I agree, real names are best. Jim :)