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Why this site doesn't encourage anonymity

As anyone who has read here would know (has anyone ACTUALLY read the about this site section?), I don't encourage anonymous posts here. Since I started, there have only been two posts I have failed to put up (both ads) and the anonymous posts coming from my brother because he is too lazy to stick his name to them have been duly attributed. So my anonymity policy doesn't play a big role in how things run here. As I say, though, I will publish anonymous comment if the comment truly merits it and the reason for anonymity is sufficient.

Anyway, the reason I have been thinking about it is that I play two online games: The battle for Wesnoth and M$'s Internet Spades. Wesnoth has an online games facility where each player can chat publicly and with team-mates. You can type whatever you like. Most people seem to take either a consistent alias or use their names. In Internet Spades, if you want to say anything, you have to choose an expression from a list, and you are fully anonymous apart from your opponents knowing what language you are set on.

And yet, despite the anonymity and the restrictions placed on what you can say, people still find ways of being rude and obnoxious in Internet Spades, while in Wesnoth I have encountered very few people who behave in any way anti-socially (and when they do it is usually because they think they are being funny). I generally try to play Spades the way I would if I was playing with friends round a table. Some people come up and try to spoil the game by bidding stupidly. Others try to derive an unfair advantage (in Spades, you get get bonus points if you say you are going to lose all the tricks but haven't yet seen your cards) by making big bids in the first hand and if it doesn't come off, they just leave. Still others will leave as soon as they or their partner lose a bid. Things people would be far less likely to do if they had to put their names to their player.

While writing this, I thought I would play 5 games, and report on the outcomes, up until two players leave. In the first game, my partner bid nil (i.e. lose all the tricks), while I had to get 5 and my opponents had to get 4. They lost and immediately left. Everyone followed suit...

In the 2nd game, my partner and I didn't make our bid in the first hand, while our opponents made theirs. We then had an adventurous bid (I went nil without seeing the cards because my partner bid high) and looked like making them before one of the players just stopped playing. After a while the other two players got bored and left.

In the third game, my partner left before making their bid and someone else left soon after.

In the fourth game, two of my opponents left early in the first hand.

And in the final game, all three opponents left once during the bidding.

Kinda frustrating and proving absolutely nothing...


Comment from Alex's anonymous lazy brother

If it's clear who I am then it's not anonymous, is it?

Care to report on 5 games of Wesnoth to put balance to the post? Do people just leave in Wesnoth too or do you get a bad rep for doing it?

I respond

It may be clear to me - but only because I've known you a long time. It wouldn't be clear to others who may not know you.

And as far as 5 games for Wesnoth go: No, because it would take too long. Of my last 5 games, three have either gone until completion or until I had been eliminated, 1 crashed because it was an experimental scenario and 1 ended by mutual consent. This is not to say that people don't leave. People come and go quite regularly, given that games can take some time. But usually (except in the case of internet dropping out or the game crashing) they give warning that they are going to do it and they can be replaced.

Insert comments

Please feel free to comment. I value dialogue and want other people's involvement. Please put your email address in. I will publish pretty much any comment which is made, but if you do not give your email address, I reserve the right not to publish your comment. I will not pass on or publish an email address (unless you specifically ask me to), but I may want to verify details, and cannot do this without an email address. Besides, its polite. Also, feel free to put in html tags. If you don't, I will stick them in, but I will just stick in simple ones. If you want anything more, you'll have to do it yourself.

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