Peter Boettke complained that they cause more harm than good due to their immunity against the necessary social function of shaming. It’s not hard to figure how he came to that conclusion given his recent experience with “Beefcake the Mighty” and other nyms chosen by that character (although if you were previously unaware that Pete is heavy and Tom Palmer is gay you might have learned something from them). In the comments I argued against that in favor of Hopefully Anonymous’ view that more people should use pseudonyms, I even said that scientists and journalists should publish some of their work in that manner. I also gave a number of examples of people who lost their jobs for airing controversial views. The comments died out there, but I thought it a worthwhile enough topic to have it here as well.
Speaking of real vs fake names, one of my favorite commenters who previously just went by “Tino” now blogs at Super-Economy under his full name. He previously contributed to Truck and Barter, but not for very long.