Pen names & real names

As a newcomer to this site, may I ask a question of the organisers? Whilst I appreciate your need to know the full name of your members, is there a need to publish them in open pages? We all have “pen names” for internal recognition, but it seems to me that they’re redundant if real names are published alongside. This was brought home to me when I discovered my posts reproduced on Google under my real name. Now, I stand by anything I write, but it is nonetheless disconcerting to see comments posted on a supposedly private forum paraded on a search engine for all the world to see and possibly to be quoted out of context.

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I wonder how they got onto Goggle? I mean what is the technical mechanism. I understand that if I search on Google for welly boots every damn ad in every site I visit after that will be welly boot manufactures. But once I’m on a site there’s no way for Google to track my interactions and if the site is private there’s no way for them to suck content out of it. it’s a mystery.

Well even though it is ‘private’ as in privately owned it is an open forum. This particular forum software does not list ‘who’s online’ at the bottom as some others do. My forum does and it is terrifying the number of ‘bots’ that are pretty much always online from google, yahoo etc ‘scraping’ information. The info that is valuable to them is things like email addresses / full names / phone numbers / addresses etc. They also scrape, of course, for content that they then use in internet searches which is what would have happened in the OPs case.


In fact Google was picking up my name. I periodically enter my own name on Google as a security check, and I now find my forum comments displayed.

Google and others have bots that trawl the web and harvest information.

I entered “John Scully Survivefrance” and google has come up with 8 entries.

This really has gone too far IMO. But I still don’t understand how they can gain access to content from a site that requires a password. I’m sure breaching a password protected site must be illegal. If not for privacy then at least for copyright reasons. I also suspect storing any data about me on US servers without my permission is contrary to GDPR? I think I’ll append…

© John Scully 2020 All rights reserved.

from now on.

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Fecking disgraceful.

© John Scully 2020 All rights reserved.

I just tapped my name ( without mentioning Survive France) and found a namesake who was the first person to single handedly row the Pacific.
Fame at last !!!

Perhaps it was you in a past life, Peter!

I / we appreciate your concerns but the real names policy works for us as it prevents (most ) people from behaving in an unpleasant manner on the site. If we allowed everyone to refer to themselves as Dordognegoatgirl and so forth, the site would be a very different place!


Well I did spend time in the Merchant Navy and I can’t swim so maybe !

I have been asked by a 'friend" who calls himself DordogneGoatBoy exactly which pasture this lovely sounding lady resides!




Any one can read most areas of the forum without being signed in, I certainly ‘lurked’ a while before deciding to join in. Generally for every poster there are 10 lurkers on most forums. The bots that I speak of are not able to access any private areas only what is on the open forum.

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You’re right of course Tory. But it still must be illegal under GDPR to scrape me and stick me on a US server.

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What Google / Facebook etc get up to is beyond belief and it appears that they are so powerful no one is really able to stop them doing whatever they want. Very scary stuff. One of the reasons I’m so anal about online security (obviously dh’s years of explaining it all too me and reading me bits from the techie press have rubbed off :rofl: ).

personally I detest ‘pen names’ avatars, on-screen names or whatever you like to call them, as I am convinced they breed cowards to hide behind. One of the reasons I stay with Survive France, even if I vehemently disagree with some posters on occasion - as they do with me. At lleast I am not dealing with some anonymous, and gutless armchair warrior with a big mouth, hiding behind a false name. There are a lot of them about - and even encouraged by newspapers such as the Guardian for reasons that escape me.

Talking of personal info, well surely that horse bolted eons ago? All this crap about 'passwords’looking after your privacy alongside being asked to approve of ‘cookies’ which allow precisely these people to find out all about you.
NowI find I cannot open Paypal without issuing them with my mobile phone number - why? Supposed to be an ONLINE transaction, so who is kidding who.
What can you do online anyway that doesn’t give the likes of Google information. This is the world we live in today and a pretty unpleasant place it can be, but unless you are some reverse hacker type genius I don’t see how we can escape it.
Welcome to the World of Big Brother(s)


The alternative - and to my mind more effective m.o. - is to simply block people who behave in a way of which you disapprove. That way anonymity and control work together.

It’s not infrequent, in my relatively brief experience of this site, for threads to descend into pretty vitriolic, person abuse. Why that is tolerated as much as it is, I don’t understand. Some of this bickering goes on way past the point that I would have called a halt.

Just because the combatants have names doesn’t make them visible or, evidently, any more accountable for their behaviour…

It’s most unlikely that I will ever actually meet any of the others on this forum unless I make a particular effort to do so. My name in that sense is as much a non-de-plume as Captain Endeavour, which is redundant.

If transparency is the aim, why not have people add their address, telephone number … ?

“Come outside and say that - I know where you live”

But a lot of the above comment is around precisely the fact that you can be identified from your name - and there’s always the thought that you might be, however ‘unlikely’.

I strongly agree with Catharine on this - indeed I would prefer real photos not anonymous avatars; my experience is that anonymity is one of the main contributors to vitriol etc on social media generally - and that this is comparatively rare on Survive France, and never plumbs the depths of, say, online newspaper public comment forums.

I have a number of pages etc on Facebook, Linked-In, and other social networks - all for business purposes - but this is the only one where I post as the real me, precisely because it is relatively civilised, and in my view maintains a pretty good balance in terms of moderation.


Mind you, my own photo is maybe 5 years old - and I now have a small beard.

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