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Jun 05 2013

My “Pseudonym”

Despite the footnote on my prior post, I’m still getting this crap:

You’ve also never admitted that you’re writing under a nym yourself. Or is Zvan your real name?
Spoiler alert: She won’t answer this question.

Adding to the funny is the fact that the person who signed the paperwork required to make Zvan my legal name has now twice told “spectator” that I’m using my real name. Yes, Shari there was maid of honor at my wedding. But apparently it’s more fun for spectator to keep insisting that I answer her charges or keep up with what I’m writing to see whether I’ve already answered that quesion.

Since she’s not keeping up, it’s time to let everyone else in on the joke. Want to know where this idea that my name is a pseudonym comes from?

This round of discussions about pseudonyms is hardly the first. This idea that my name is a pseudonym has its roots in older discussions of the topic. As far as I can tell, this comment from 2008 is the first time I talked about how the subject related to me:

Although I don’t blog anonymously, I do comment semi-anonymously. But it’s for a reason that’s unlikely to add much to the discussion. (Then why are you posting this, you might ask. Uh, ask me later. I’m busy posting right now.) I have a nearly but not quite unique name.

My blog contains enough information for people to be able to tell easily that I’m not “the other me.” Blog comments, even if they link to my pages, don’t. So rather than having her get a reputation for being as cantankerous as I can be, or be discriminated against for my atheism, I use a pseudonym that won’t show up if she’s Googled.

On the other hand, my hosts get a real email address if they promise not to post it, and I use the same name wherever I’m not using my real name. And since my only real authority on most issues around here is geek-who-found-it-interesting, I don’t give up much posting this way.

I left that comment as “Stephanie Z”. That was the name I used at ScienceBlogs and throughout the atheist/science blog/skeptic community at that time. The comment wasn’t linked to my blog, because I was still new to the community and wasn’t big on self-promoting.

A few months later, after I’d started linking and gotten more involved in the community, Greg posted this:

A regular commenter on Greg Laden’s Blog, the proprietor of Almost Diamonds, pseudo-pseudonymous known as Stephanie Zvan has hosted her first Radio Show.

You can go HERE to get the details and listen to the podcast.

From that point, I have to start guessing about what happened. However, given that the information in question entered the slime pit’s consciousness through BluHarmony/Maria Maltseva, I have a pretty good idea. Maria has, shall we say, a habit of not bothering to be careful with information about people she doesn’t like. For example, it was just a couple of days ago that she was still saying on Twitter that Greg had allowed her address to be posted on his blog, despite having previously issued an apology for saying the same thing.

So, two and a half years after Greg’s post, Rebecca said something mild about elevators and all hell broke loose. By October of that year, my employer information had been posted at Abbie Smith’s blog in the original slime pit. Pitters were actively researching those of us who argued with them on the topic.

Side note: That was considered complete kosher at the time. In fact, it still is. In the last couple of days, a four-year-old sarcastic comment my husband made was posted in the pit as evidence of…something. Don’t let anyone tell you that “any and all information available” is anything but business as usual just because someone connected some dots on one of their own.

Because of Elevatorgate and subsequent events, that post of Greg’s was shared around somewhere, and Maria, no stickler for detail, never bothered to figure out that “pseudo-pseudonymous” doesn’t mean the same thing as “pseudonymous”, much less that it means “not pseudonymous”.

So now, here I am, with a fun little tell for pitters and their friends. Want to look like you can’t be bothered to find out the truth? Go ahead, tell me my name is a pseudonym.

29 comments

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  1. 1
    Jason Thibeault

    By “she won’t answer this question” they mean “she won’t admit we’re right about the thing she keeps saying we’re wrong about”.

    More mythologizing! Hooray!

  2. 2
    Miri, Professional Fun-Ruiner

    You’re really the author of Almost Diamonds, huh? A LIKELY STORY.

  3. 3
    seraphymcrash

    This is one of those things that I’m apparently incapable of understanding. How many times does a community have to be exposed as being completely intellectually worthless before you no longer trust it. It’s like my friends who still listen to Fox News. How many lies to I have to document before we can agree that it’s no longer an acceptable source?

    How many slime pit transgressions need to be firmly documented before some of their members look around and say “I don’t want any part of this”?

    I realize that there are loads of rationalizations and justifications going on in their heads, but the level of self analysis from supposed “skeptics” is disheartening.

  4. 4
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    I realize that there are loads of rationalizations and justifications going on in their heads, but the level of self analysis from supposed “skeptics” is disheartening.

    The Slymy definition of “skepticism” is saying “No, it isn’t” and “Prove it” to anything they dislike. They’re like little toddlers, saying “Why” every fifteen seconds.

  5. 5
    composer99

    Go ahead, tell me my name is a pseudonym.

    (open sarc tag)

    Your name is a pseudonym for Crown has not been submitted!1!

    (close sarc tag)

    When do I get a ‘pit membership card? Does it come in the mail or do I have to download it?

  6. 6
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Yeah, I’ll bet my life on your name really being ELIZABETH Zvan. You ain’t fooling me!

  7. 7
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    OMG. In the words of a drunk I once waited on at a greasy spoon, this is the stupidest most thing.

  8. 8
    Ben Zvan

    a four-year-old sarcastic comment my husband made

    Me? Sarcastic? Never!

  9. 9
    Kevin

    @8…if that’s your real name.

    You can’t fool me…there’s no sanity clause, either.

  10. 10
    bcmystery

    My name is a mystery.

    (Har.)

    I’ll shut up now.

  11. 11
    Kevin

    I just went over there to look around…good grief those people are stupid.

    And creepy.

    And obsessed with PZ.

    If I were PZ, I’d hire a bodyguard.

  12. 12
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    You’ve got your own crowd of birthers!

  13. 13
    Loqi

    How do we know that you exist at all? This whole blog, the radio gig, and your speaking engagements might be an elaborate conspiracy of mysterious writers, voice actors, and android manufacturers designed to mislead the dedicated truth seekers at the slime pit. Keep up that skepticism, pitters.

  14. 14
    MrFancyPants

    I bet “Ophelia Benson” is some kind of devious pseudonym, too!

  15. 15
    oolon

    @MrFancyPants, well her name is an anagram of plebeians, oh no! So I’m saying she is a right winger infiltrating the atheist movement to subvert it from within… #SlymeSense

  16. 16
    A Hermit

    If you must know, the A stands for Aleister…(not my real name)

  17. 17
    unnullifier

    @4 UnknownEric the Apostate:

    The Slymy definition of “skepticism” is saying “No, it isn’t” and “Prove it” to anything they dislike. They’re like little toddlers, saying “Why” every fifteen seconds.

    Seems insulting to toddlers. They are constantly trying to understand the world better. The harassers are not.

  18. 18
    maudell

    Where’s the birth certificate???

  19. 19
    Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts

    Everyone knows Stephanie Zvan is just a pseudonym/sock of Rebecca Watson. I have certainly never seen them in the same place at the same time.

  20. 20
    Stacy

    I’ve met Stephanie in person. Well, I met somebody who claimed to be “Stephanie Zvan.” Does she have hired impersonators?

    How far down the rabbit hole does this thing go, people?

  21. 21
    Forbidden Snowflake

    Well, being the third American to have her very own birther movement is kinda impressive.

  22. 22
    Jadehawk

    a Real True Feminist would never take on her husband’s name (or have husband, for that matter); clearly you’re just using that guy’s last name as a pseudonym to hide your real identity.

  23. 23
    carlie

    Can we start calling them “birthers” because they apparently will accept nothing but a long-form birth certificate stating what your name is? And then will claim victory because you legally changed your name once?

  24. 24
    Steph's Mom

    Hey, I’ve seen the long form birth certificate, and I can vouch the name wasn’t Zvan. Of course, I filled it out, so I could have said anything. Why believe me?

    I also attended the wedding. She gave up a perfectly short other last name for Zvan. So now, that’s the real name, folks.

    And Ben, sarcastic? Huh? What did I miss? C’mon, spill! Moms never get all the good stories.

  25. 25
    WithinThisMind

    Pretty sure her real name is Stefanie Zvan. Stop oppressing the fonetics, people!

    This message was brought to you by the letter F, and the number blue.

  26. 26
    Jafafa Hots

    I’m starting to think that some of the people over there are less than charitable.

  27. 27
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @Loqi:

    Don’t you know? We’re all just sock puppets for PZ. This entire blog network is just one guy with way too much time on his hands, and some amazing computer skills.

  28. 28
    Doug Kirk

    I’m ashamed to admit it, but this sort of thing is exactly what scares me off from commenting, starting a blog and/or speaking out against the pitters. Not that I’m anybody or have anything particularly novel to say, but I’d want to add another voice against their seething misogyny and toxic skepticism if I were able.

    But seeing the way they treat people they disagree with, I have little doubt that if I were vocal in my support of you, Ophelia, PZ and all they would try to get me fired. And they obviously have no qualms about making up lies to harrass their victims with. I’m afraid I need my job too much to risk it. I’ll stick to lurking, sending emails to the CFI board and donating to Ophelia and the charitable organizations that get it right. Not because I want to, but because they are such vile harrassers that they have scared me off contributing as fully as I’d like to the atheist community. And I’m even coming from a position of privilege, I can’t imagine how many people they’ve scared off who arent as invested or as comfortable as I am.

    On behalf of myself and all the many people who have too much to lose if the pitters try to get their grubby hands on their identities, I want to thank you and all of the commenters who do stand up against them so much for doing what is right. Brownian, Jadehawk, Josh, Oolon, Woo Monster, Katherine, Caine, and so many more; you have my respect and admiration.

    Thank you.

  29. 29
    embertine

    I’m Brian and so’s my wife!

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