Pseudonymous Service

I am fascinated that the pseudonymous are fit to solve scientific conundrums:

Video-game players have solved a molecular puzzle that stumped scientists for years, and those scientists say the accomplishment could point the way to crowdsourced cures for AIDS and other diseases.


The final decisive move in the Foldit Contender Group’s solution to the monkey-virus puzzle involved twisting around that floppy loop, or “flap,” in the structure of the enzyme. The paper published today notes that one of the Contenders, nicknamed “mimi,” built upon the work done by other gamers to make that move.


“I would be grateful if you could refer to me as ‘mimi’ rather than using my full name.”

That they may take on risks to fight crime that law enforcement will not (trigger warning for violent details):

A woman was hogtied and disemboweled, her intestines protruding from three deep cuts on her abdomen. Attackers left her topless, dangling by her feet and hands from a bridge in the border city of Nuevo Laredo. A bloodied man next to her was hanging by his hands, his right shoulder severed so deeply the bone was visible.

Signs left near the bodies declared the pair, both apparently in their early 20s, were killed for posting denouncements of drug cartel activities on a social network.

“This is going to happen to all of those posting funny things on the Internet,” one sign said. “You better (expletive) pay attention. I’m about to get you.”


Blog del Narco is a website that deals exclusively with news related to drug violence in Mexico. Its creator remains anonymous.

On the Al Rojo Vivo forum, where citizens can make anonymous tips, one person wrote: “Don’t be afraid to denounce. It’s very difficult for them to find out who denounced. They only want to scare society.”

One Twitter user echoed that sense of defiance in light of the threats.

“Enough! If we shut up today, we will have lost the ground that we have gained. This is the time to show what we are made of,” the owner of the @QuestoyQuelotro Twitter account wrote.

But they’re still not good enough for Google+, because they aren’t quite the right the sort of consumers.

ETA: While you’re thinking the topic through, I recommend this discussion with Scicurious taking the side of pseudonymity. Listen to her. Listen to her opponent. Think long and hard about the supposed connection between real names, civility, professionalism, and credibility.

Pseudonymous Service
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