Because I Find It Impossible To STFU

So there was this post. And I attempted to comment on it. Even though I usually refrain from commenting on any site that makes me sign up before I do so. I signed up, activated my account by clicking on the e-mail confirmation, typed in my 45cents worth of opinion, and clicked ‘submit’.

Only to receive an e-mail informing me that I’d neglected to read the T&C’s and obey the ONE basic, most important rule – to supply a real name. I supplied the next best thing. My Real-Online-Name. Expensive Mistakes*. The name by which the interwebs knows me best. The name under which I blog, tweet and bookface.

Even those people who know me in real life (from online, of course) call me ‘ExMi’. Hardly ever by my real name. Even those who know my real name and my real-name e-mail address, prefer to use my Real-Online-Name.

I get the reason for having a Real-Life-Name-Only policy – to prevent comment-trolls. I get that. But. Commenting as my real name, on said article, would have been pointless on account of how I’m *known* as Expensive Mistakes (ExMi for short). I’m accountable for everything I say as Expensive Mistakes.

You can reach me on my e-mail address, twitter, facebook, skype, gchat, linkedin, ning, everysingleotherbloodysocialnetworking tool – as ‘Expensive Mistakes’. When I sign up for anything – including 27dinners – I sign up as ‘Expensive Mistakes’. That’s the name I write on my name tag, when I attend these kinds of events. Had I commented as my Real-Non-Online-Life name, no one would have known who it was – and then I’d have looked like a comment-troll – a real one.

And so. I’ll respect the Real-Names-Only (explained to me as: “We don’t do pseudonyms, alternative identities, or anything not recognised by a real-world government”) policy, and instead reserve comment for my own blog. Also thereby proving that I am a real person, and not a spambot.

So here’s my comment:

i’m right up there with Nyiko and Eve – the right to freedom of expression doesn’t mean that retailers have a moral obligation to carry every single newspaper that is printed.

and is this decision, taken by Pick n Pay, enough to warrant a call for a boycott? I think not. Is it enough warrant an accusation that they’re not ‘friends of the media’? Negatory on that one, too. I doubt the so-called issue of “censorship” and “freedom of expression” even entered Kevin Korb’s mind. Instead, they were more worried about appropriately catering to their customers’ needs and requests.

In fact – I say that rather Pick n Pay should be congratulated for responding to their customers’ complaints, and for actually listening to them – how many other retail brands actually do that? Not many that I know of.

This doesn’t count as “censorship” – it’s simply a rational decision to fill that shelf space with something that customers are actually going to buy and enjoy.

Eve said it best: “Freedom of speech? Look it up, and decide which side of the fence you want to sit on. You can’t have it both ways.”

I’d go so far as to say perhaps you should look up the word “censorship”, merely choosing not to stock a newspaper does not fit the definition.

And there. And that is my 45cents worth of opinion. Because I find it impossible to STFU.

About anything. Ever.

And just a teeny-tiny Pee-Ess: Dear Editor, please may I be the exception to the ‘Real-Names-Only’ rule? It was my first time on the site..I liked what I saw…..and I’d like to comment again. As myself. Which, as we all know now, is ExMi.

If not, no hard feelings then. I’ll continue commenting on my blog, and on twitter.

* If you want to know why, read number 19.

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16 Responses to Because I Find It Impossible To STFU

  1. Tara says:

    I prefer calling you ExMi cos your real name rings little bells that are too close to home 😛

    Then again, I get called Gobz anyway…

  2. Betenoir says:

    Exmi Jones? Exmi Chapman(Russian Spy Version)? Exmi Chethril?

    perhaps if you give yourself a pseudosurnaym (ignore tha mangled english, just go with it…)that’s a way around teh roolz?
    .-= Betenoir´s last blog ..On Anything But Football =-.

  3. Boobah's Mom says:

    Same here… If and when I do talk about you, it’s by way of calling you ExMi, because a. most other people don’t know you by any other name, and b. I agree with Tara – much too much of the same of a name…
    .-= Boobah’s Mom´s last blog ..In Response to Sproutsmom’s Post… =-.

  4. cassey says:

    I suppose saying use your real name puts people off attacking others like they do at News24, that said you’ve got a good point. Well two good points your comment and using ExMi 🙂
    .-= cassey´s last blog ..That second post =-.

  5. SheBee says:

    I think it’s ridiculous to be honest. Most people know my real name, but if I leave my mark online, it’s always as SheBee. It’s my online identity, and if I decided to slag off an online article either as SheBee or Sheena, wtf is the difference really?

    Government shovernment, whaddaretheygonnado, track me down? It’s pants! Out of principal, I will not comment on The Daily Maverick. I’m SheBee, everyone who matters knows that I’m a real person and if I really pissed someone off under my pseudonym, it wouldn’t make one iota of a difference than if I’d been doing it as Sheena.

    So there.

  6. Pingback: Tweets that mention ExMi » Because I Find It Impossible To STFU -- Topsy.com

  7. Sorry, but our evil alien overlords punish failure harshly, and allowing any exception would be very unwise.

    No, seriously, we appreciate the importance of anonymity in many online spaces. And we hear you about the relative reality of your alternate identity. It just doesn’t have any place on our site.

    It’s not just about the trolls, though that is a big part of it. But we can talk about motivations later. Right now the evil alien overlords are more concerned that you don’t see us as the bad guys. Because we aren’t. We can’t possibly be. Every single thing we do, from this real-names policy to our advertising model, we do for our readers. Every decision we make, every action we take is determined solely by what we believe is best for you.

    Which is why we phrase our policy on real names, along with our other minor demands, in the form of a reader covenant. (http://www.thedailymaverick.co.za/page/about-us#covenant). Think of it as a contract, with our souls on offer in exchange for your name – if you wish to comment. If you just wish to consume, we don’t even ask that.

    If you can find a better deal in any crossroads or pentagram, we’d love to hear about it.
    .-= Phillip de Wet´s last blog ..Springboks could use a miracle right about now =-.

  8. kyknoord says:

    Chosen names are often more “real” than given ones. This is a clear-cut case of cultural bias, or my name isn’t Ekkus Niemand.
    .-= kyknoord´s last blog ..Foreign aid =-.

  9. Adrian Hope-Bailie says:

    Perhaps they want your real name because they care more about what you have to say (as a real human being that is not hiding behind a pseudonym) than the number of people who will recognise you or your avatar next to what you said.

    Just a thought…

  10. Luca's Mum says:

    I don’t know what your real name is, but to me, you are ExMi. You just LOOK like an ExMi! Good on you and PLEASE DON’T EVER STFU!!!
    .-= Luca’s Mum´s last blog ..Lesson Learnt =-.

  11. ExMi says:

    i meant nothing more by this blog post, than to air my 45cents worth of comment. use it, don’t use it.

    Phillip, you say “Every single thing we do, from this real-names policy to our advertising model, we do for our readers. Every decision we make, every action we take is determined solely by what we believe is best for you.” and I get that. Appreciate it. applaud the honesty.

    you think it’s best that as ‘Expensive Mistakes’ I have no place on Daily Maverick – I’m cool with that.

    I’m cool with Adrian Hope-Bailie’s comment too – maybe there’s more concern about the actual comment than who said it….maybe….but then if there was – there wouldn’t be a stipulation for a real name.

    If I signed up as Fran Butterworth, for arguments’ sake, there would be no issue – it looks/smells/feels like a real name – therefore it must be. Expensive Mistakes doesn’t look, to you, like a ‘real name’ – yet Facebook accepts it as one. Weird, isn’t it?

    I’m okay with there not being a place for me to comment on the DM – it’s why I brought my comment here, in any case. Where people can read the comment in the context of my own blog – in the context of everything that is ExMi.

    I’ll continue reading TDM, when and as something strikes my fancy – I mean, that’s what it’s there for, right?

    And back to Phillip, with regards to comment moderation. It’s my policy to choose to moderate first-time comments on my blog. Just like it’s TDM policy to have REAL NAMES behind the comment. Moderation only happens once.

    Don’t believe me?

    Comment again….go on…. 😉

    PS: still no hard feelings.

  12. blackhuff says:

    I agree with you. I also use my interweb name everywhere because this is how everyone knows me and if the website does not want to except it, then stuff them.
    .-= blackhuff´s last blog ..Family reading your blog =-.

  13. boldlybenny says:

    OMW I thought it was just me. Actually when a publication won’t publish my comment I send them to my sister and she usually gives me her thoughts. I can’t stand to be silenced. I actually told my fiance when we started dating, there are two rules to dating me: don’t shoosh me and don’t rain on my parade!
    .-= boldlybenny´s last blog ..Something lacking =-.

  14. daisy says:

    oh wow – lots of opinions here! This is a tough one for me. We dealt a lot with identity and online identity and being anonymous in school (did a masters in digi comm) so I can see both sides of the fence.

    Either way – I’m glad you have opinions and that you share them. 🙂
    .-= daisy´s last blog ..8 hours of Anne … wahoo! =-.

  15. Angel says:

    I think your comment is very well written.
    I do kinda hear their argument for real names, but I don’t understand why an alias is absolutely not allowed.
    .-= Angel´s last blog ..So Much Of… =-.

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