Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Blogging Anonymity, and MATH Recap

One of the most key aspects of being a blogger in my eyes is the anonymity. I mean, most of you know a whole lot about me at this point if you've been reading here for some time, and many of you have met me in person. Some of you know me by name, which I am fine with in the specific sense. But I don't go posting my name or posting pictures of myself on the blog here. Ever.

It's not that I can't stand the thought of you guys actually being able to call me by my real name. And it's not that I want my real identity to remain shrouded in mystery. It's because with the internet these days, you just never know who can find your little corner of the blogiverse. And once they're there, who knows what they can choose to do or think about the information they find.

A couple of times now over the past few months, the whole sordid Bobby Bracelet "outed at work" thing has reenacted itself on a blogger whose blog and whose presence I have missed. I believe the internet as an institution has been worse off with these guys gone. Slowly the process of getting these guys's presences back on the intertubes has been moving forward, but the fact that this stuff even happens and can negatively affect people's lives shocks me every time I hear about it anew.

All of us who've been around the poker blogging scene for at least a few years will remember the Bobby Bracelet thing. For those who don't know, Bobby was here near the beginning of the poker blog thing and truly had (and has) one of the funniest blogs around. The man can write and he can make you laugh out loud almost at will. Anyways, one day around the time when I was fairly new on the poker blogging scene myself, all of a sudden, I log in for my daily dose of Bobby, and the site isn't loading. It isn't there. Blogspot is working fine, but there is no site. Most of us know very well what it's like when one of your favorite daily sites is suddenly gone or down one day (thanks Chad). I was freaked out.

Slowly over the next few weeks, word trickled down through blog comments and other posts that Bobby had been "outed" at work. Outed. It just sounds bad, doesn't it? Anyways, I don't even recall what it was that Bobby was doing at the time, but it had nothing to do with his poker blog. He was not talking about where he works by name or anything. And yet, his employer freaked out. The blog had to go, and I think Bobby might have told me when I met him in person two summers ago at my first WPBT live gathering in Las Vegas that he left that company soon after. Bobby was gone from the blogosphere for a while, then he was back with his Totally Gay Online Diary for a while, which was once again funny as shit. Then he was gone again, and only in the past several months or so has he seemed to find a new permanent home on wordpress. But it was a couple of years without any steady posts from one of the funniest poker bloggers around, all because his employer found out about the existence of his blog. His personal journal, attempts to be humorous. Not that much different from a physical diary, or a leatherbound personal journal. It's kinda sick, if you think about it.

Because of all this stuff, I take great pains not to be outed at my work. I can only assume a similar fate would befall me if the ubiquitous They figured me out. I do not upload my posts from the office, and I do 95% of my writing not on office time for the most part. But that said, I know it could happen. First of all, one disgruntled person at my office who somehow figures out my full tilt handle could very easily find out what he needs to know. And if you look hard enough, one can find a picture of me on some of the blogs as well to confirm one's suspicions. So it very realistically could happen, to many of us. I personally know a significant number of poker bloggers whose employers (and continued employment) would be dubious if their blog were discovered, many of them just among the New York blogging crew, so it's not like I am alone in this. And yet we do it anyways.

The anonymity is key. Once that is gone, it makes it much more difficult to blog interestingly, and to blog honestly. No matter how determined you are to produce good content for your blog, if you know the subjects of your posts and especially Big Brother are always reading over your shoulder, you simply can't do it exactly the same. Take it from me.

I used to think it was so dorky when other bloggers would remind people before every Vegas gathering not to post pictures of them on other blogs. Now, I have to say I kind of count myself among those people. I am 100% fine with there being a couple pictures of me out there on a few blogs. But it's not a practice that I really want to keep expanding, if you know what I mean. Everything is just better if I remain just a guy with a Japanese-sounding name who plays aggro online poker and steals your blinds, and may even write a rant or two once in a while in an online journal from the comfortable anonymity of 12 million residents of metropolitan New York City.


There were 70 runners in this week's Mondays at the Hoy, for a cool $1680 prize pool. I showed up from delicious Chinese dinner at around 10:40pm ET, blinded down around a third of my stack, and I donked around for 10 minutes trying to double to get back to near average before donking out with something, I don't remember what. Probably ran into Aces since that's been my thing lately. Then I logged off and watched some tv with Hammer Wife. Here is the list of cashers in this week's Hoy:

8. $58.80 Gydyon
7. $58.80 Waffles
6. $92.40 Loretta8
5. $134.40 Martyr99
4. $184.80 pvanharibo
3. $243.60 pureprophet
2. $352.80 hellory
1. $554.40 iam23skidoo

So congratulations to Skidoo who took down this week's first prize in addition to the valuable BBT3 Tournament of Champions seat. I have watched Ski play the blonkaments for a good two or three years now, since back in the heyday of the WWdN, and let's just say I can't wait to hear how he won. I mean, Ski has won blogger tournaments before several times so the guy can play, but his game is generally highly aggro and tends to get him into a lot of trouble early or get him a big stack early. So somebody tell me, how bad was it last night?

Edit: And here is your updated 2008 MATH moneyboard, including this week's results:

1. Pirate Wes $959
2. columbo $928
3. astin $900
4. Breeze81 $825
5. pureprophet $728
6. iam23skidoo $698
7. lucko21 $650
8. dwal78 $597
9. corron10 $594
10. ChipyMcStacks $563
11. PokahDave $562
12. Tripjax $553
13. Roberto551 $545
14. fuel55 $512
15. surflexus $488
16. Loretta8 $481
17. zeroluck001 $476
17. Jordan $476
19. tilt_away $461
20. TuscaloosaJohn $423
21. twoblackaces $409
22. zackklemm $358
23. hellory $353
24. LJ $304
25. bayne_s $291
26. jmathewson_III $274
27. numbbono $261
28. Miami Don $224
29. Donkey Shortz $215
30. katiemother $203
30. VinNay $203
32. DaBag $202
32. Byron $202
34. recessrampage $198
35. PokerBrian322 $187
36. willwonka $185
36. mattazuma $185
38. buckhoya $150
38. Mike Maloney $150
40. ANIguy $149
41. BuddyDank $142
42. Martyr99 $134
43. chitwood $127
44. cubanlinks $120
45. waffles $114
46. kevin_with_AK $106
47. BamBamCan $95
47. thepokergrind $95
49. Schaubs $92
50. bartonf $89
51. HotPants29 $74
52. Hoyazo $67
53. scottmc $63
53. jamyhawk $63
55. CheckinMyAA $62
56. PirateLawyer $60
57. gydyon $59
58. DonkeyPuncher74 $56
58. RaisingCayne $56
60. pokerdad13 $55
61. jeciimd $52
61. zeroluck001 $52
63. AltronIV $47

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Blogger 23skidoo said...

Believe it or not I played fairly tight/agg.
I don't actually recall anything utterly donkalicious until the final hand, that was pretty sick.

Thanks for the shout, it would be cool to meet you in NY Thursday.

9:06 PM  
Blogger change100 said...

I absolutely feel you on the whole anonymity thing, having spent the better part of three years trying to keep my own identity under wraps. It can be a total pain in the ass having to ask people to delete your photo or switch out my perfectly lovely first name for my lame online moniker. And though it started out that way for work reasons and I'm now free from all those pesky Hollywood confidentiality agreements I signed back then, I still choose to remain anonymous for exactly the reasons you outline.

I just hope that as the community grows, people can remain respectful of what little privacy we have left.

9:56 PM  
Blogger lj said...

i think the turning point for skid came when he called my raise four handed from his bb w/ Q8o and hit a pair of 8s. i was committed when he shoved (stop n goed?) w/ my KJdd and i couldn't hit a pair.

as to your other point, i think it's obv to all in the poker blogosphere that i ginormously regret ever putting up a picture of myself on my blog, and it will never, ever happen again.

10:45 PM  
Blogger Mike Maloney said...

It's certainly an interesting take on the subject, and I know it's shared by many bloggers out there. I (obviously) never cared much about the anonymity factor. I don't really write about anything that I wouldn't want to be public knowledge, specifically work-related since that seems to be the major issue for you. Writing about work to me isn't really an exciting topic, good or bad, so it just never comes up.

I'm probably somewhat naive about the whole topic, but I guess I just don't care that much if someone knows my name, or what I look like.

10:46 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

FWIW Mike, I don't mean to suggest at all that the one or two times I've ever written substantively about my work is why I don't want my work knowing about this space. Not that my boss would be happy to see what I've said about him here, but in the end the very existence of this blog would surely cause my employer to go apeshit, regardless of the fact that I do not write about any illegal or unethical behaviors. No more than Bobby or some of the other guys whose employers have gotten them in trouble over time.

11:17 PM  
Blogger 23skidoo said...

LJ, I remember that hand and will be glad to talk about it Thursday.

If you still have the HH take a look at the 3-4 hands prior and maybe you can see why I called there.

11:37 PM  
Blogger VinNay said...

Hoy - I'll totally remove the pic of you I put in my "comic" if you want, or cover/obscure the face. My bad for not asking first, I should know better.

5:46 AM  
Blogger Lifesagrind said...

I guess I'm the odd man out. If your not willing to be publicly accountable for what you put online. Don't put it online.

7:18 AM  
Blogger Lifesagrind said...

Before everyone gets up in arms I need to quantify. Of course anonymity is necessary in some cases. For instance when dealing with political persecution or revealing information that is for the public good but perhaps at risk to your or families well being.

7:28 AM  
Blogger Mytgod said...

Very kind words, my friend. I appreciate them.

I won't be blogging anymore where I was as of yesterday. Long story. Not involving work or anything.

I'll be starting something again soon. I bought a new domain and gotta spend some time overcoming my retardedness and figuring out how to create and post on it.

It isn't about staying anonymous for reasons which allow you to post potentially offensive or even illegal material. It's that no matter what your level of comfort and expectation is involving your blog, there are inevitably countless members of the population who would take your harmless blog and find it so ridiculously offensive or dangerous to your work environment that they feel the need to step in and make it an issue.

My boss at the time said something along the lines of, "I read through it and never saw anything about work, but I gotta tell you...I was really offended. I mean, you talked about road head!!!"

This is after he had to search my name, scrolling through useless link after useless link, to find an article that mentioned both my name and online name in the same sentence, then determining it could be me, reading and reading my blog looking for something to link it to where I live or work. Lots of effort for no other reason than getting all up in my business for nothing.

Before he even said a single word to me he had already contacted HR. That's why you give up nothing.

You can't control what other people do and as a rule I believe people suck. Protect yourself as much as possible because one single person can completely fuck you over.

I think I'm rambling. I'm definitely drinking. Maybe I should be sleeping.

On that note, don't sleep with your coworkers.

Unless your coworker is me and you're Julie. Seriously Julie, we need to do this.

8:31 AM  
Blogger bayne_s said...

LMAO at mytgod; "On that note, don't sleep with your coworkers.

Unless your coworker is me and you're Julie. Seriously Julie, we need to do this."

Fortunately for me no one has connected my blog - name - online user_id yet.

But will have to consider what actions I should take to preserve anonymity.

11:43 PM  
Blogger 23skidoo said...

One 'ironic' point that I hope is not lost in this discussion is the fact that my blog title is 'Compromising Anonymity'. Perhaps the inspiration for the discussion? or happy coincidence?

What I find interesting in my blogging experience is that I have tended to 'open up' access to more personal issues as Ive begun to know bloggers. I tend to forget sometimes that my little space is open to everyone, which is at times both scary and invigorating.

12:01 AM  

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