Online/Forum Nicks

So like, the nicknames people use online have always fascinated me, because I find the reasons people pick them interesting and I have a lot of spare time on my hands these days.

This being a quasi-industry-related website/shrine to Thomasford Wesleyshintz Chickalasubramanian, I get using one’s real name. I mean, it’s an online world, and how will you be associated with your real-world, real life works if you don’t log on as Gary Whitta if you are, indeed, Gary Whitta?

Now me, I don’t use my real name because one day I’m going to kill all of you people who do, ha ha on you, Mr. Psh Nothing Ever Happens to People Who Use Their Real Names Online. Except Tom. Ok, I might just kill him last. And Angie, because she carries a giant knife and will sense me with her Satanic powers before I even get within 100 yards of her. Fuck that. And Jeff Green. He’ll probably die of old age before I get to him anyway.

But I digress. There are precious few trends in naming one’s self. IRL nicknames spill over, like fire and Rimbo. Cutesy-wootsy puns on literary terms or characters, dudes with female names, females with dude’s names, random nouns and pulp culture refs, and my least favorite: l33tspeak or anyone who uses Lord or Darth or any other cheesy D&D/SW-type stupid adjective in their name. Grow up and put down the plastic katana, Darth Pickles.

But man, and no offense, but WTF with all you dudes who bust this out:


where ________ = some noun or adjective. It’s a bigass trend, a solid third behind actual IRL names and ones that make no sense whatsoever. You guys aren’t all like furries, right? Nothing against those disgusting deviants who should be all run off a high cliff after a Bataan-style death march on the Trail of Tears, but if you are, please chop off your penises kthx.

I assume, though, none of you really are. So what gives? I’m genuinely intrigued.

Oh and, UnicornMcGriddle is exempt because unicorns have been extinct since the Crusades when the Catholics destroyed them all as demon steeds and so is Squirrel Killer, because his nick is funny. I don’t make the rules, you know, I just enforce them.

hehehe. That cracked me up.

I came up with my nickname to throws the wholes Internets off. I’m really Stephen Colbert.

“arctangent” is the first thing that popped into my head when I was signing up. I think I stole it from someone else on another board. I use different names on each board I’m registered with, because that way I can be an ass and not have it carry over somewhere else. :)

When I started using the Intarnets on AOL, back in '093 or so, I was Taxman, for no other reason than I had used that on the CB.

I later went to Houngan strictly because I lurve Tim Powers, and On Stranger Tides is one of my favorite stories. Sadly Disney ripped off the entire thing for Pirates of the Caribbean, but I didn’t really expect better out of them. It does have an unappealing D&D-ey flavor to it, but I can usually sign up for something without appending a bunch of letters to make it “unique”, and I’m used to it now. I reckon I’ve been using it for about eleven years, now.


edit: I’d be interested to see how you classify “Homosayswhat?” into the categories.

I don’t even want to know what he thinks about acronyms.


Frickin’ Idiot Douchebag, Gaming Age Forums?

I’ve been low-light and SEXECUTIONER(my favorite!) in Quakeworld Team Fortress when I was in BTEG (I guess I still am, for life and all). I was Bokonon for Planet Hate and Portal of Evil. I think I used Bokonon in Counter-Strike as well. Joe Christmas is my most recent one that I use when I don’t want people to know it’s me. I pretty much started using my real name so that people would recognize it when I asked for writing work.

Bill already knew most of that though. He also can’t kill me since we inhabit the same body.

Ephraim is, quite simply, my Hebrew name.

I started using it in a MUSH, ages ago, when struggling to come up with a desert-warrior type character name. That’s when I realized that the biblical Hebrews (from whence my name originates) were some pretty kick-ass desert warriors, and I made the obvious choice.

The funny thing is that I used to absolutely hate my Hebrew name, all the other kids made fun of the correct Hebrew pronunciation (Eh-fry-eem) in Hebrew school (“You fry them! You fry them!”). So I’m taking it back, like African Americans and the n-word, or gays and the q-word. Though I have to admit that when asked how to pronounce it, I usually just go with the English Ef-raym or even Ef-ram.

I’d bring up some really really really old OMM stuff about you being notorious for switching your nicks, but maybe that was just spanky’s paranoia.

edit: I’d be interested to see how you classify “Homosayswhat?” into the categories.

Subcategory: Retarded.

Interesting points Bill.

For awhile, I’ve been dividing user nicknames into two categories: true and false.

Take for example, Unicorn McGriddle. Can be ridden by non-virgins and is not part of a delicious breakfast. False.

Angrycoder. He codes and he’s angry, he’s angry and he codes, he’s Angrycoder. Who knew bile was such an essential part of the programming process. True.

Not One of Us. Come on dude, you’re posting on a gaming forum, you’re definitely one of us. False.

Tom Chick. A guy. False.

Dave Long. 5’ 6". False.

You get the idea.

Bob was sort of a real life nickname, but far too generic to use as an online identity. So I was thinking about how I couldn’t use just Bob, when AHA!

My real name is suspiciously similar to a certain fictional army doctor, with the exception of that one pesky letter. I like my last name better anyway. Sometimes these things are easy.

The forums are an escape.

I don’t really have much consistency when it comes to aliases, though. Sometimes this, sometimes the name of my old EQ character, sometimes a bit of nonsense culled from spam, sometimes a contraction of my real name, sometimes a real-sounding pseudonym…

I’ve got big ears and a long trunk, hence Nellie. Now that the intarweb is popular, I’m occasionally tehNellie because I typoed it to begin with.

That and everyone calls me Nellie IRL anyway and I can’t handle more than two names at the same time, I get confused.

I’ve used a ton of handles, but settled on this one since it’s basically a nonsense word (it’s actually a mispelled bit of insect anatomy, but whatever), so I’ve always been able to get it even on popular forums and such.

This is also nice, since I’ve actually had people contact me in one game online that I met in another (“hey, you used to play foo right?”). It also abbreviates well (mal, malph).

I think the AdjectiveAnimalnoun is a similar thing, a standard way to generate a name that other people won’t have.

I’m a real name sort here out of respect to the all powerful Tom Chick. I even remove my shoes before I post.

My main handle elsewhere is OddjobXL. Oddjob I picked up on a political BBS where I’d debate local folks for fun back in the day BBSes were the thing to do. One guy compared my style to the Oddjob character in the Bond films chopping the heads off statues with his razor-brimmed bowler hat. Being quite vain I was taken with the comment and promptly switched my handle. Once I hit the internets I found a population of other Oddjobs already out there so I just stuck an XL on the end.

I started using this nick back in the days when IRC only allowed 8 character nicks (or something absurdly short), back when there was EFNet and ONLY EFNet. With that character limit, I needed to come up with a nick that was somehow representative of myself. It would have been “Deep Thought” but that was way beyond 8 characters. I also like the double meaning, where people would think it meant “Deep Throat”.

At first I assumed they meant the sexual meaning of that phrase, but it seemed more people thought of the guy from X-Files (which I never had watched beyond a few episodes). Then there was the informer for the Watergate scandal too.

In any case, it was the reason I chose the nick.

This is a picture of my nickname, which I’ve been using since '94 because I figured no one else would ever use it:


I picked a good one, then.

So you are a fat Oddjob?