On anonymity and psuedonymity in the NCAA pools

Let me begin by saying that I understand people have legitimate concerns about privacy on the Internet. I realize there are valid reasons why some people might not want to reveal their “real” names.

However, I’ve been running these NCAA pools since 1996, and it is traditionally a contest among “real people,” not Internet personas. As such, I vastly prefer for all contestants to enter using their real first and last names. I am willing to make exceptions in specific circumstances if a contestant has genuine privacy concerns, but I want to avoid anonymous/psuedonymous entries as much as possible.

Please understand, because of the unique history and tradition of the Living Room Times pools, I am stricter about these “naming rules” in the NCAA Pools than I often am in other BrendanLoy.com contests.

If you simply prefer not to have your name be easily “google-able,” I suggest using a variation on your first name that you rarely or never use in real life — for example, if I wanted to insulate a pool entry from easy “google-ability,” I could enter as “Bren Loy” instead of “Brendan Loy.” From my perspective, “Bren Loy” is much, much better than “B. Loy” or “Brendan L.” That said, of course, “Brendan Loy” is much better than “Bren Loy”; as I said, I vastly prefer people to use their real first and last names, if that is at all possible for you.

In the event of an unsatisfactory self-identification, I will contact you via e-mail and try to come to a mutually satisfactory solution… but I reserve the right to disqualify people whose names do not, in my judgment, adequately identify them. I apologize if that seems harsh, but again, I am trying to uphold tradition here. Also, it’s important that I am able to adequately discuss contestants’ identities in the pool standings and in my pool updates. It’s hard to write good headlines and articles about the pool when people with nicknames, initials, etc. are competing against people with full names.

For contestants with psuedonyms that are well-known in the BrendanLoy.com community (e.g., Angrier & Angrier, Texasyank, etc.) and/or in the wider blogosphere (e.g., Boi From Troy, The Backer, etc.), there is a separate field called “Nickname(s)” which allows you to identify yourself as such, in addition to entering the pool with your first and last names. Of course, if you are unwilling to “unmask” yourself in this manner, you can leave the nickname field blank. Regardless, contestants are not allowed to use a psuedonym or nickname in the “Your Name” field. (If this rule poses a problem for you, please contact me and let’s see what we can figure out.)

If you have questions about any of the above, please e-mail me (bloy [at] nd.edu) and let’s talk about it. I truly want people to be able to participate in my pools, so I will try to be flexible and accommodate those who have genuine privacy concerns. But in my experience, people often avoid their full names out of convenience or habit, rather than a strong stand on principle; it is this practice which I primarily want to discourage, lest my pool standings become a hodge-podge of meaningless nicknames. Also, my pool updates would sound rather silly if they began reading like: “B. takes lead over thebeef; Mc. third; some guy named David fourth, some other guy named David fifth.” :) So I am trying to strike a balance here.

In addition, please note: anyone who enters under an entirely false name (i.e., claiming to be a celebrity or someone else who you are not), who is deceptive about their identity when I contact them about it, or who does not respond to e-mails about the issue, is subject to disqualification. Once the tournament has begun, any disqualifications will become final.

Again, I apologize if any of these rules sound harsh; please do e-mail me if they cause any problems for you in your particular situation. All private e-mail correspondences will be kept confidential.

Thank you and good luck!

2 Responses to “On anonymity and psuedonymity in the NCAA pools”

  1. isuquinndog says:

    What’s sad is that you have to come up with all of these rules.