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In a previous life I used to hang out on Echo -- East Coast Hang Out. It was a really vibrant BBS (probably still is, but I haven't been a subscriber in years -- basically, when the web took off), and one of the cooler features the system had was that you could reassign your nick, whilst retaining your overall identity.

For instance, in the present context, I could have changed my handle to "antigrinder" and that would be that. But tomorrow I'd probably be back to grinder again. Of course, if you clicked on the "antigrinder" author link on a node you would of course go to my homenode.

There wasn't as much abuse as one might expect. Certainly there were a number of users who delighted in making up some completely random nick every day, but most people never bothered, and the few remaining people tended to change their nick based on a certain theme, so you always had a fair idea of who was who.

And as it turned out, one day it served a very useful purpose. Let me explain.

It just so happened that one of the technical guys who ran the system was one Mark Abene, who many people will probably more likely recognise by his online pseudonym, PhiberOptik. (and for all you young'uns, you'd better do some googling).

At the time he was awaiting sentencing, and then one day the verdict fell, he was going to go to prison. People got pretty emotional about it, and on his first day behind bars, people all over the system spontaneously changed their nicks to include part of his nick in theirs. So in our context, that would mean we'd start seeing a whole lot of phiberNomad, phiberMayo and grinderOptik and so forth.

Word of this got back to Mark, and he was very moved by this expression of sympathy.

I've just been doing a little researching of my own, and actually came across a web page that started its life as a thread on the Echo bulletin board, that, and another article by Julian Dibbell.

Why do I feel so old?

update: yeah, nice rave grinder, but I completely forgot to underline what I was trying to get at: if you could change your nick, there wouldn't be as much demand for creating bogus accounts

g r i n d e r

In reply to Re: New Power Proposal -- change your own nick by grinder
in thread New Power Proposal by footpad

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