Alts: a public service announcement

I am okay with her.  :)

Dear friends and potential friends and casual acquaintances and minions and potential minions: I am okay with your alts.

If you’re out on the grid as an alt that I don’t know, and we happen to run into each other at a club or something, casually, and even get to talking for whatever reason, it’s okay if you’d rather not tell me that you’re the alt of someone I know. You don’t need to worry, to feel guilty, to run off as soon as you see me to avoid having to tell me who you are, or anything like that.

Of course if you want to tell me, if the knowledge imbalance would feel too strange, or if you just feel that it’s polite, that’s fine too; it would make me happy that you cared enough to worry about it. And if you didn’t tell me, there would be a knowledge imbalance, you would know something relevant to me that I wouldn’t know. But that’s okay, I don’t mind knowledge imbalances now and then. I like to take things as they happen to come to me. And in fact you’ll find that I will tend to treat you and your alt as different people even if you do tell me, because, well, they seem to be different people to me. :)

I am not okay with anyone using an alt maliciously, toward me or anyone else, but I know you wouldn’t do that. You are nice. And I know some people are not really okay with friends having alts that interact with them and they don’t know that they are alts, and I can understand that, and I don’t mean to be criticizing them for that. I’m just saying, as a public service, for the next time the situation arises, that I personally am perfectly okay with it.

And the time this other friend IMd me from an alt, and told me that she was an alt, and challenged me to guess who of, that was good fun too. :)

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7 Responses

  1. Yeah, I imagine it would be strange in a situation as you describe, with possibly complex and conflicting practical and ethical considerations.

    My main alt, Majic, uses the tagline: “Botgirl’s Alt” :) When I get around to it, I’m going to add my RL info to the alt I use in my work and RL music-related activities.

  2. I have two alts, but neither one ever gets into really social situations; both are really intended to allow me to go inworld without being inundated with the usual (and usually very welcome!) messages from friends and group notices and Midnight Madness boards and group IM and so on. So it would sort of defeat the purpose if they started being socially active themselves. :)

    But I know I do have friends who have multiple social alts, and I wanted to reassure them that at least when it comes to me, they don’t need to worry one way or the other.

  3. I’ve only got one (Ryne Beck) who I created for RP in a Toxian City sort of place before realising I didn’t actually like those sort of places. Poor Ryne was shelved… until now! With HBA all but dead in Steelhead (see: http://headburroantfarm.wordpress.com/2009/09/18/lost-found-chapter-12-%e2%80%93-epilogue/) I needed a new person to play with in Steelhead… Calling Mr Beck! I have a post coming up about his transistion from tough looking black NY cop to weedy white Brtitish Victorian doctor.

    On the question of telling folks – I’ve *always* told my friends and tried to replicate ‘friendings’ as even though Ryne isn’t HBA, they are both still me. I understand why some folks don’t share this info, but that’s not how I work I guess.

  4. Fun! I need to spend more time in Steelhead; seems like a cool place.

    I think there are at least three reasons for having alts (probably lots more). There are narrative or storytelling kinds of reasons (like yours), there are reasons that involve avoiding social distractions (like mine), and there are reasons that involve wanting to have multiple different social circles to interact with. The first two are relatively simple; the last one is the kind of situation where I thought my PSA might be useful. :)

  5. I use my alts responsibly (I get banned a lot and need them) but I don’t why I should have to police my alt’s alts. That seems like their problem.

  6. honestly, I have no real alts, I HAD my husband’s avatar I created which was half an alt for me, but I used it for about 2-3 weeks..

    But as I keep telling people, and people seriously get alt crazy, I have no alts, with a name like AlterEgoTrip, who needs alts when the name encompasses every essencential “alt-ness” within the personality I consider my own…

    And there is much to cover with such a shape shifter as myself… too much ground can’t be covered with a simple name such as my own RL name.. even IRL I have more than one I am called by.. certainly in the blog world I have left them behind for new names which have I have broken or have felt didn’t exactly express what I wanted so here I am as AlterEgoTrip..a name which does mean, distinctively “I need no alts nor can have an alt because it just takes up too much time” ;)

    Plus my resources and my tastes have lives of their own..

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