Pen Names and SurvivalBlog Forums

Two of the most frequent questions that I get from SurvivalBlog readers are why I assign pen names to writers even when not asked to do so, and why I don’t have an official SurvivalBlog forum. I’ll explain both:

Pen Names
I assign a nom de plume to protect your identity. This is standard practice with my blog, especially with controversial topics.  Please pick your own pen names that are unique. I suggest that you use random pen names each time that you send something to post that is controversial. Also, be advised that if you pick something common (like “Tanker”) then keep in mind that others have likely used in other Internet venues. So it is possible that someone might make some inferences about you that are not deserved. (Based upon the content of their posts.) 

My quandary is striking a balance between privacy and handing out kudos.  Sadly, the Internet era is also the era of intrusive government, so I tend toward intentional obfuscation. I love giving credit where credit is due, but I dread the day that anyone’s door ever get’s knocked down at 3 a.m. because of something that was posted in SurvivalBlog. Please forgive me for erring on the side of caution.

The Lack of a SurvivalBlog Forum
I don’t have a forum because I don’t have the time to moderate it.  Even as it is, I get more than 200 e-mails per day. I pick just a few of those to post. If I were to open up a forum, I suspect that it would get 400+ posts per day.  That would necessitate having a staff of two to four moderators to handle that properly, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  I’m presently finishing up writing and editing two novels, so I simply don’t have an extra six hours per day to be a forum moderator.

Lastly, two reminders: If you ever send something that you don’t want posted, then prominently then please flag it “Not for posting.” Also, please refrain from trying to get me to join Twitter, or any of the other social networks. When I get e-mails proclaiming that “John Smith is following you on Twitter”, it drives me crazy. I don’t respond to any of these because joining a social network is both a privacy risk and a time sink.