As foreshadowed some time ago, it has been deemed necessary to impose a minimum level of identifiability for VSA Forum users. This requirement will be implemented over the coming few weeks. It is especially important for those users who wish to remain in the group ‘vsa’. Membership of that group is what enables access to the restricted areas of the forum. Therefore the tightening of identifiability will apply first to VSA members, but may later be applied to all Forum users.
Identification is best achieved by having a recognisable username. For example, mine is Peter Freeman, so there can be no doubt as to who I am when you see a post by me. In addition, my profile contains relevant information which assists in this identification. However, we have usernames that bear little or no relationship to the user’s real identity, and their profiles typically contain no additional information. Such usernames are unacceptable as members of group ‘vsa’ after a deadline of 31 March 2010, and may be removed from the group.
The best way to ensure your continued access is to re-register with a compliant username ASAP. Compliance requirements are a matter of common sense: use your judgement. For example, the existing ‘PaulB’ is OK – VSA members know who that is. ‘Bat’, ‘Zad’, etc, are not clear enough.
Experimentally, we may allow identifiability by other profile information, without abandonment of your current non-compliant username. The only option I see in this respect, since the profile area does not provide a field specifically to contain a real name, is to use the ‘Location’, ‘Occupation’ or ‘Interests’ fields, with the ‘Occupation’ field perhaps being the most appropriate one. You may wish to enter your real name, affiliation, etc, in there. If significant numbers take this option, the Forum administrators will later assess whether the identifiability requirements have thereby been fulfilled satisfactorily.
By the way, the changes that we are requiring will not involve loss of data or loss of your posts to the Forum so far.
Comments on this issue are welcome, as are any ideas that would achieve our aim by alternative means.