Outing pseudonymous bloggers.

I've gotten word that another blogger who has been tracking IP addresses associated with comments (on his own blog and on the blogs of others) is preparing to blow the whistle on what he is inclined to view as sock-puppetry. I'm not sure how complete this blogger's information is, nor whether it is consistent with other conclusions besides the ones he is drawing.
But at this point, it might not matter that much. So I'm just going to go ahead and tell you what I know.


I am PhysioProf. The PhysioProf persona has its genesis in my mother's pained request that I drop perfectly good words like "assy" from my bloggging. In a fit of pique, I began leaving profanity-filled comments as PhysioProf, and before I knew it, I was writing blog posts as PhysioProf, too.
Possibly the florid language I use as PhysioProf is a bit of an overreaction to not feeling free to use various forms of "ass" on this blog. I guess naughty words are habit forming.
As it turns out, I'm also DrugMonkey. I got to a point in some of my blogging (especially on topics like the ethics of research with animals and the larger question of how the community of science ought to deal with wrongdoers in its ranks) when I really felt the need to test my views against a tough Devil's advocate. In fact, I got a little tired waiting for such an interlocutor, so I ended up creating one. I think I did a pretty convincing job of it. I left some clues, though. (Notice that the DrugMonkey blog has the very same "Tribe of Science" category originated on this blog.)
It was a calculated risk on my part to use the PhysioProf and DrugMonkey personae to call out unthinking sexist remarks. I'd like to believe that there are men who have enough of a problem with this kind of thing that they'd stand up and voice their objections ... so that's what I did with these two characters. Unfortunately, it wasn't completely believable. I should have used a lighter touch in the execution.
And then there's Dr. Isis. I decided if I was going to play with pseudonymous identities, I should take a crack at one with a personality very different from my own. The result was full-throttle femininity (including the parade of high heeled shoes) and hot science. I also played with a blogging style that is much more visually oriented. And, I brushed off the Spanish I'd been neglecting since college to write some of the posts en Español.
But I made some missteps with the Isis persona, too. I've done a pretty good job keeping the style consistent, and I was sure posting meaty recipes would throw people off my trail. but I made the mistake of posting sound files on this blog and on the Isis blog ... and Becca (and others, no doubt) heard enough similarity to tip my hand. Plus, that old Isis profile pic in the marigold-yellow shoes revealed my pasty white-girl ankles.
I dunno. Maybe on some level I wanted to get caught.
While I'm confessing to my pseudonymous shenanigans, I should also own up to being Sciencewoman. I've always been really interested in -ology (at least in a general sort of way), so it's been fun putting myself in the character of a professor of -ology to imagine how that would shape research and teaching, not to mention the work-life balance. I thought the jeans and boots I used for the Sciencewoman profile pic were generic enough to be anonymous. Sadly, I never was able to get all the mud out of those jeans.
Scicurious is me, too. Blame my nostalgia for grad school -- especially for journal club. I make no apologies for Friday Weird Science, and frankly, I was pretty sure that I couldn't pull that series off here, whether as myself or as Dr. Free-Ride.
Yeah, maybe I pushed some ethical limits in exploring the potential to craft a persona (or six) in the blogosphere. But you weren't really taking a bunch of blogging pseudonyms at face value, were you? The point was to interact with the content, not the person you imagined to be behind it.
For all anyone knows, after all, I may have other pseudonymous personae still blogging. If their posts educate you, inform you, entertain you, even spur you to action, would it matter if those posts actually originated with me?

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