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Thread: "Outing" pseudonymous writers

  1. #1
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    "Outing" pseudonymous writers

    This has been alluded to in a couple of threads, but I don't see an existing thread for it. Some of you have probably heard of the blogger/Tweeter acrackedmoon, who's used a variety of other pseudonyms over the years and used to blog at her notorious review site Requires Only That You Hate.

    She's a Thai woman who wrote from a Social Justice perspective, and seemed to (still seems to) have an equal number of fans who love her anger and vitriol, and enemies who despise her for the same reason. The former generally approve of the direction she aimed her rage, the latter see her as a bully and a troll.

    She was recently revealed to be the author Benjanun Sriduangkaew, who's been widely published, acclaimed, and nominated for awards in the past two years.

    This has caused a great disturbance in the Force, with authors, bloggers, and BNFs lining up on all sides. There are a number of fairly well-known authors about whom she wrote absolutely brutal things, not just about their books, but about them personally, and while some shrugged it off, others have born grudges and don't seem likely to forget.

    Personally, I always found ROTYH entertaining, sometimes even insightful, though her "performance rage" was often over the top and her Tweets (before she toned them down once she was getting published) sometimes degenerated to little more than "Whitey white man fuck whitey acid balls shitstain die blargleblarg."

    I have mixed feelings about her "outing." It seems to me that it was inevitable and if she really believed no one would ever connect the two personnas publicly, she was foolish. That said, this is one great big ugly clusterfuck of hurt feelings and grudges and schadenfreude on all sides - it's hard to see anyone's position as being sincerely motivated by a concern either for justice or "protecting" anyone. People across the SJW spectrum seem to be lining up largely according to who they are friends with.

    The most egregious behavior I think Sriduangkaew is guilty of is dishonesty - if you want to write brutal, nasty reviews and tweets, go ahead, and accept the consequences. If you grow up, become a pro, and decide you regret that part of your life, fair enough. But apparently she was making nice with other pros even while still engaged in her attack-dog behavior in her other persona, which is pretty two-faced. I also note that currently, she is bemoaning the fact that everyone is being bitter and hateful towards her, but has not yet shown a hint of remorse or acknowledgement that some people (and not just white men) were genuinely hurt by her antics.

    In my opinion, this will not really hurt her professionally. There is a lot of angst and wailing and gnashing of teeth, as there always is when an author shows his or her ass, but how often has this actually dented anyone's sales or gotten publishers to anathemize someone?

    I'll also note that I probably would not have heard of Sriduangkaew the author if not for this episode. I've now read some of her fiction (most of it is available for free online), and she is phenomenally talented as a writer (and evidently prolific as hell), even if her stories aren't entirely to my taste.

  2. #2
    Independent fluffy puppy. Osulagh's Avatar
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    I see the use in creating a separate persona in which you can be honest and critical or to put out different styles of work without revealing the true side of yourself, but it's plain stupid and childish using that platform to attack others from.

  3. #3
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    And to expect not to get outed is a bit dumb, really. If you act like a masked attack dog, your victims will want to find out who you are and drop you in it.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osulagh View Post
    I see the use in creating a separate persona in which you can be honest and critical or to put out different styles of work without revealing the true side of yourself, but it's plain stupid and childish using that platform to attack others from.
    Makes sense. There are many legitimate reasons for using a pseudonym. Some of our best-known authors have used noms de plume--Eric Arthur Blair (George Orwell), Stephen King (Richard Bachman), Evan Hunter (Ed McBain), Louisa May Alcott (A.M. Barnard), Howard Allen Frances O'Brien (Anne Rice) and the most celebrated of all, Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)--but their literary disguises are not usually created in order to cause harm.

    So when it comes to outing pseudonymous writers, the reasons behind the fake name, if known, should be taken into account. It seems legitimate for someone to use a nom de plume to distinguish a certain genre or style of writing from her/his other writing. (Do I see you raising your hand, Robert Galbraith, AKA J.K. Rowling?) Similarly, someone with a profession or reputation having nothing to do with writing might want to use a pseudonym, as did the mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodson (Lewis Carroll). But hiding behind a fake name to attack others reminds me of James O'Keefe, the conservative activist who uses a variety of tricks and phony identities to attack people and organizations under a false flag. (The guy actually calls himself a journalist!)

    In other words, taking motives into account, I see nothing wrong with outing someone whose intention is to damage others with impunity.

  5. #5
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    On the other hand, that kind of outing is merely participating in continuation of bad behavior.

    Isn't it kind of like saying the writer, as dispicable as he may be, does not have a right to free speech if he masks it under another name?

    The threat of outing is a threat against expresssion
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    Quote Originally Posted by PorterStarrByrd View Post
    Isn't it kind of like saying the writer, as dispicable as he may be, does not have a right to free speech if he masks it under another name?
    The writer has a right to free speech, but may not have the right to anonymous speech without consequences.

    But - the people celebrating acrackedmoon's outing have been pretty explicit that they want to hound her and tank her career, as payback. So neither is it about justice and accountability.

  7. #7
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    It's one thing to be pseudonymous because you wish to maintain a level of privacy in your life, or in order to write and market under different genres.
    However, grandstanding/attacking sort of opens you up and while I'm not generally in favour of 'outing' of any kind, I'm not unsympathetic towards those who do, depending on their own motives.
    And if someone did ever take to attacking me personally for whatever reason, I'd mostly likely get my own back too and I'm quite internet and forum-savvy... At the same time, I don't think any form of rage is terribly healthy.
    Last edited by Wilde_at_heart; 10-17-2014 at 01:03 AM.

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    don't really care for critics of this sort
    but I will tell you this
    I care even less for ratfinks

    and you can be sure of this
    if they tattletale on a writer regarding their pen name they are also the sort who gossip about friends, etc

    "did you know what our friend sue ann did with bobby?"

    stupid jerks / get a life
    Last edited by Ken; 10-17-2014 at 01:49 AM. Reason: 50 million typos

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    don't really care for critics of this sort
    but I will tell you this
    I care even less for ratfinks

    and you can be sure of this
    if they tattletale on a writer regarding their pen name they are also the sort who gossip about friends, etc

    "did you know what our friend sue ann did with bobby?"

    stupid jerks / get a life
    did sue ann sex bobby?

  10. #10
    Independent fluffy puppy. Osulagh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PorterStarrByrd View Post
    The threat of outing is a threat against expression
    Not so. Outing would be the same as being banned from AW. It's not a violation of free speech or censorship, but merely the community has decided--pretty much through representation--that that individual should not be allowed in. Outing in this sense is not as swift as being banned.

    If someone is outed from one community, then they seek another. There is no one community, there are multiple.

    And, also, the internet is not the United States, and freedom of speech can be overturned in a court of law. It's not a hard rule like many people believe.

  11. #11
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    I don't know who this person is, but I like her. I got swept up in the last 2 hours of reading her anime/manga and book reviews.. But I usually like a little snark with my blog.

    That said, I think that, whatever the reason, outing a pseudonymed author is a little shameful. For whatever reason--be it professional differences, cross genre contamination or even to blow it out your ass on a blog that you'd otherwise wouldn't because of how it would affect your appearance--you should respect that that person made a choice and wanted to remain psuenonymous (??). If they wanted people to make the connection, they'd out themselves. Unless, of course, plagiarism could be at stake. Then obviously, bad. Bad author.
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  12. #12
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    Leaving this here.

    Why did you out Requires Hate?

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    Nick Mamatas does stir him some shit. I like him, but can understand why he's nearly as polarizing as acrackemoon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Poet of Gore View Post
    did sue ann sex bobby?
    ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies ;-)

  15. #15
    Merovingian Superhero ULTRAGOTHA's Avatar
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    Kameron Hurley, whose essays I admire, also wrote on this incident.

    On Becoming What You Hate, Redux
    "Everyone is entitled to their own opinions; but everyone is not entitled to their own facts."
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  16. #16
    Merovingian Superhero ULTRAGOTHA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ViridianChick View Post

    No, I did not out Requires Hate. Someone else was privately e-mailing people. I just shouted it to the whole world.

    Really?
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  17. #17
    They've been very bad, Mr Flibble Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    Oh, was that you?

    Anyway -- I haven;t been on in a while for Reasons (my own. Life's shit, k?) but I was trying to read more about this and happened upon this thread

    And...

    And I am in fact largely conflicted about the whole thing

    Have you seen the thing on the web just lately (re gamergate I think) "If you're only against online abuse if it's against someone you like, you aren't against abuse"

    Way back when (last year? Can't recall) I was very vocal in being anti Vox Day for the things he said, the hate speech etc

    I would be hypocritical if I did not say that RH (when she did this) was as deplorable. And she DID do this --saying this author should get acid in the face, or whathaveyou. (There are other points, which I won;t mention as I don;t know the full details, but suffice it to say the recipient did not deserve the consequences)

    It is as deplorable when she says it as when anyone else does.

    I find that quite sad, because her critiques were often on the money (and made me think) It's just the few times I tried, I kind of drowned in vitriol/abuse at the expense of your actual critique and gave up.

    If I am against Vox Day being an abusive arsehole, I have to be against RH being the same (ETA or anyone else).

    That said -- doxxing is not on.

    But like I say, I am pretty conflicted about the whole thing
    Last edited by Mr Flibble; 10-18-2014 at 01:33 AM.




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  18. #18
    Merovingian Superhero ULTRAGOTHA's Avatar
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    LOL! Yes, me chaneling Mamatas.

    I didn't read Requires Hate. I did unknowingly click a link to one of her posts once, though. Wow. O.O Clicked away, fast.

    I think personal boycotts of her work are something I definately understand. It's freedom of association, after all, and I'm a big fan of that.

    I don't support the doxxing and am also scornful of Mamatas's excuse. If you're going to doxx, stand behind it, man. Don't dismiss it with "well, this other person was privately e-mailing people so it's OK to TELL EVERYONE."

    Doxxing, in today's environment, can be dangerous. I don't think that's very responsible.
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  19. #19
    They've been very bad, Mr Flibble Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ULTRAGOTHA View Post
    I don't support the doxxing and am also scornful of Mamatas's excuse. If you're going to doxx, stand behind it, man. Don't dismiss it with "well, this other person was privately e-mailing people so it's OK to TELL EVERYONE."
    Er, afaia he did that with her permission (because of all the emails etc that had been flying about -- she was going to be outed anyway so...)

    sort of a pre-emptive outing, not a doxxing as such

    And lol, oops for equating the two of you!




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  20. #20
    Merovingian Superhero ULTRAGOTHA's Avatar
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    If Sriduangkaew gave Mamatas permission to tell the world, I withdraw all objections.

    But that's not the impression I got from his Livejournal post.
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  21. #21
    They've been very bad, Mr Flibble Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    He says here why he did it

    http://ask.fm/NMamatas (You need to scroll a bit)

    (From that I'm not sure if she gave permission first - I got the impression from other posts he made that she did, but I could be wrong -- but she certainly doesn't appear unhappy with it from what he says. Ofc until she actually comments it's hard to tell)

    PS Which LJ post -- there have been so many...

    PS, there's he question of why it was about to become public anyway - ie who really doxxed her without stating it publicly If that is, indeed the case anyway...
    Last edited by Mr Flibble; 10-18-2014 at 01:50 AM.




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  22. #22
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    Personally, I do not believe that outing a pseudonym is ever right.

    Why?

    Because when you say it's "right" to out one person, but not another, then you are saying it's okay to out somebody if you have good reason.

    So, what's a good reason? "That person is being hateful" may seem to be a good reason to you.

    To somebody else, "That person is writing disgusting pornography" may be a good reason - and MOST erotica writers use pseudonyms because they may lose their job, be disowned by family members, potentially arrested if they go to another country, etc.

    The only way to ensure everyone's privacy and in some cases safety is to say there are no good reasons and not out anyone, even if they annoy the heck out of you.
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  23. #23
    Fuelled by tea and crumpets. Anna_Hedley's Avatar
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    While I can understand that the Requires Hate blog caused hurt feelings, I don't agree with outing a pseudonym and linking it to a person's real identity. That can lead to much worse things than hurt feelings, especially if you're a person known for controversial opinions (or blogs).

    I thought the article Kameron Hurley wrote covered this beautifully. Why continue the malice and hate, if that's what you objected to so strongly in the first place?

    ETA: "You" as in general "you", not anyone specifically.
    Last edited by Anna_Hedley; 10-18-2014 at 03:08 AM.
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  24. #24
    They've been very bad, Mr Flibble Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    I think I can safely say that RH caused more than just a few hurt feelings

    More than that I would not like to say


    But, you know, going onto the net and seeing someone saying they want you to be raped by dogs/acid in your face/beheaded etc (plus...something extra I know a bit about, and...yeah. Not nice)

    There's a difference between a negative review of the text that might hurt an author's feelings and one that actually attacks the author and makes people feel threatened. Hell I've had negative reviews, and goes with the territory. And some have made wild accusations/inferments about me personally based on the books, but which are demonstrably untrue. Like, I'm a guy. And I've had ones that actually said that because I WAS a guy, I MUST be....

    Nope. Not last time I checked anyway

    You cannot usually infer much about an author from the text (from one book at least. If it's a whole body of work, perhaps. One book...sometimes that's just the damned story, or the author was juggling so many balls they dropped one or they had this really tight deadline or they are still learning and got it wrong or even this reviewer sees things that don't even blip on anyone else's scale ....)


    And attacking an author, and not just a bit, but graphically...I can't condone that any more than I condon Vox Day or any other hate monger

    Hate speech is hate speech

    In the US you might be free to make it (it is not so elsewhere) but I am free to condemn it. And I do

    But again, I don't agree with the actions that lead to this/doxxing. (Which is not to say the post that blew it wide open. Different things) ETA and facing hate with hate -- well two wrongs don't make a right, and that was my issue with the blog in the first place. People threatening etc...ug. But I'd reserve the right to be cautious if I ever met RH. Is she the vicious RH? Or the sweet and timid Bee? Or...or is it all a lie? I'd be forever second guessing
    Last edited by Mr Flibble; 10-18-2014 at 03:30 AM.




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  25. #25
    Fuelled by tea and crumpets. Anna_Hedley's Avatar
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    Oh, I wasn't defending the posts on the blog. They were vitriolic. Some of the texts she quoted and their crass misogynistic language made me feel sick, but so did her attitude. Two wrongs and all that.

    I also don't know anything about the blogger. I'd never heard of her until today, when I peeked at the blog out of curiosity.
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