A Note On Anonymous, Pseudonymous, Guest, and Regular Commenters

One of the best things about AVC is the engaged and active community that envelopes this blog. It has been for many years a conversation among friends and the occasional stranger. I’ve called it a bar where I get to be the bartender. The people in the community come and go. There are regulars who come every day. There are regulars who come every few days. Some come once every week or two. Some have left never to return. Some return on occasion. That’s all as it should be and quite like what goes on in the real world.

I’ve always chosen to allow people to comment using a guest login. I’ve always allowed people to comment anonymously. And I’ve always allowed people to comment using a pseudonym. I believe that allowing people to comment the way they want makes a community richer. I do not think comment identities should always be mapped to a real name and a real identity. It’s great when it is. But there are many reason why that’s not a good option for some.

We’ve managed the trolling and spam by actively moderating the comments. I did that for many years myself and in recent years I’ve been aided by AVC regulars William and Shana who swing by every day even when I’m not active to make sure a thread isn’t filling up with spam or there isn’t some sort of other bad behavior going on. Our moderation policy has been heavy to clear the spam and light on everything else. We lean in favor of giving everyone a voice even when its a tough call.

There is one thing that has evolved into a community norm that is important and I’d like to highlight today. Regular commenters use Disqus Profiles to comment here at AVC. These profiles can be pseudonyms like Fake Grimlock, abbreviations likeΒ JLM, or real names, like fredwilson. That really doesn’t matter and I think its best to have a lively mix of all of that. But the frequency of seeing the avatar next to the name in the comments breeds trust, respect, and in many cases real friendship.

If you are a drop in commenter, none of this matters. But if you want to hang out here on a regular basis, I encourage you to build a Disqus Profile, invest some time and energy into it, and participate as everyone else does. It’s how we do it around here and it is one of the many reasons this community works so well.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Mario Cantin

    Been here every single day since last March or so.More or less stopped commenting as I got the feeling you weren’t that interested :-)Even strictly as a listener I’m gaining useful info to triangulate with.

    1. Brandon Burns

      If you have something important to say, you shouldn’t care who’s listening. Say it anyway!

      1. Mario Cantin


    2. Joe Cardillo

      Mario, I agree w/Brandon. Also I know you are doing good work with PreAcquaint and I know you must have ideas / thoughts that dig into practical things like building culture, understanding users, etc… which I think are valuable to people here. As a more recent member of this community, those are the types of things that really spark me to think.

      1. Mario Cantin

        Thanks Joe.

    3. LE

      It’s really not about whether someone is interested or not. If that was the metric I would never say anything at all. Speaking for myself, typically if I comment it’s because I read something Fred or a commenter says and it creates a reaction in me that I want to release.If you would like a reaction to what you say you could always do two things. One would be to be one of the first commenters. Second would be to say something obvious, pithy or controversial (and make it short and digestible). [1][1] Unless you are a occasional non engaging web celebrity (like Seth Godin) in that case whatever you say typically will get a reaction.

      1. Mario Cantin

        I very much appreciate the feedback.

      2. Christie Ma

        Speaking for myself, typically if I comment it’s because I read something Fred or a commenter says and it creates a reaction in me that I want to release.@LE Your comment is inspiring me to comment.I have been a regular reader of A VC for over a year now though I’ve only commented one other time. I really enjoy the topics and the equally meaty comments.As an American who lived in China for 7 years, I didn’t appreciate how much global online communities have evolved until I moved back to the States in 2012. I’ve had to do quite a bit of catching up but it’s been a pleasure to be apart of this authentic online community.

        1. LE

          Christine, thanks. I think your perspective would be very valuable and it would be great if you could give your reaction just like I do.

          1. Christie Ma

            I will make an effort to comment more in the future!

    4. fredwilson

      Hmm. I’m sorry if you got that impression. I am very interested in the comments. I read them just like everyone else

      1. Rick

        As you know Fred we don’t read the comments. We just scan them real quick then respond with something that doesn’t fit. lol

        1. fredwilson

          i don’t understand your comment Rick. can you elaborate?

          1. Rick

            Someone had posted recently that sometimes it seems people don’t even read the comments before they respond. So I was making a joke that referenced that comment..Let me know if you want me to take a break from commenting.

          2. Guest

            *edit: I see on a post from couple days ago Rick decided to leave AVC. Will leave this here anyway, perhaps it’ll help clarify for the future.————————————————————————————-I’ve been thinking about this and some of your comments Rick, this thread gave me pause and I took a few days off from AVC to figure out why it upset me.There are some things you keep saying that I want to address. Perhaps we’ll have a constructive conversation from here, perhaps not. But if you want to be a regular member of this community (which it seems like you do) and if I also want to be a regular member of this community (which I do) then I’d feel remiss in not being blunt about them.1) You keep saying everyone here is selling something except for you (and a handful of people you’ve designated). I don’t think that’s true, Rick. It seems to me you’re selling the idea that you’re right and that your “completely logical and non-emotional” approach is the way to the truth. Notice I didn’t say a truth, I said the truth. I think suggesting that you have access to some higher truth and ethics because you’re not here selling your product or company is misleading – belief, pride, identity, those are all things a person can engage in selling. At the end of this comment I’ll say plainly why I’m here and what I’m “selling.”The way you talk about logic as some holy grail that drives everything and that we should hew to above all else reminds me a lot of Russian authorities in the dystopian novel We, by Yevgeny Yamtin, which was a precursor to Orwell and Huxley’s work. If you haven’t read yet, it’s pretty interesting. Needless to say it doesn’t end with the idea that logic rules above all else. Lots of people are motivated by emotion and belief, and as Shana pointed out not long ago, logic and emotion aren’t separate functions.2) In addition to saying that most people are here to sell something, you also say that VC’s don’t give a shit about people in their day job, they just care about money because that’s what they’re paid to do.I’m glad you brought those points up a few times in the last week or so, because it contrasts with something I believe is at work in this community.Plenty of people that visit AVC regularly are entrepreneurs. Fred was one and even though he has been in the VC world for ~20 years he clearly still thinks like one or at a minimum appreciates the perspective. People like Andy, Jim, William, Shana, and Brandon are all experienced / have worked on startups and understand that being right all the time is a luxury that entrepreneurs don’t get. Instead, testing ideas, products, and empathy are all critical, both internally and externally, person and company.I can’t speak for any of them, but I doubt they and the other most active members of this community, including Fred, are here to vindicate that that they know the truth about what makes a business successful, or to make money and sell people on what they do. I suspect they’re here because they want to be exposed to a variety of perspectives, challenged, and perhaps experience the nice byproduct of developing meaningful relationships (which I’d argue you can see in action / has been happening for years). If you’ve read up on William’s story then you know that he credits this community with growing his thinking, friendships, and even getting him capital / business partners.3) There are plenty of anonymous commenters here who have constructive, thoughtful things to say. It’s not required that they be constructive or thoughtful, but like all communities it helps. Some of the things you’ve said I understand, and some I don’t. That makes sense, we’re not supposed to agree on everything and disagreement is healthy. But you often engage in negating other people’s perspectives, and you belittle people who don’t engage in your version of logical thinking. Maybe I’m wrong, but it doesn’t seem to me like JLM, LE, or other anons who are regulars here are doing that.Lastly, I’ll say why I’m here and what, as far as I can tell, I’m selling:For me, the phrase “life’s work” is important. I don’t separate my life from my work and it has a lot to do with how I feel about building things from scratch, and what I’ve learned from other entrepreneurs. I know that the answers to the problems I face as a human and as a startup founder don’t exist in me alone, and they are not subject to some higher logic that allows me to step out of my relationship with other people and with the creator, whoever s/he may be in whatever form s/he may take. Emotions matter, feelings matter, belief matters.The above sometimes surprises people. I am ruthlessly focused when it comes to building things, and several years of project management experience / product operations means that I both like and value getting things done. I’m not interested in being right, I’m interested in balancing my life’s work, knowing that acquiring 50 new customers or 10,000 new users comes at a price and it is only worth it if you know what that price is or are at least trying to figure it out.So what I’m selling is an idea, the idea that thinking about ecosystems matter, that everything is on a spectrum, and that if you put together the right combination of guts, empathy, toughness, and logic you get to build something that’s much greater than you. A boatload of money, a nice reputation, and some power are all just side effects of that.Like any idea that a person is selling, you can choose to opt in or not. It’s an invitation to think and build differently, but it loses its power if I force it on people. And if it really is a valuable idea, other people will challenge me on it, help me think better about it, and perhaps contribute their own version of it. That’s why I read the comments and participate here.

      2. Mario Cantin

        Glad I was mistaken, thanks.

    5. Rick

      I’m curious Mario what is your objective for commenting? Why would you be concerned if Fred wasn’t interested.

      1. Mario Cantin

        Rick, no need to get into that, it’s all water under the bridge at this point. Whatever concern I had has evaporated through the interactions in the comments so there is nothing left to talk about. Thank you for engaging though. Next time.

    6. ShanaC

      i’m sorry.. usually I’m pretty good about asking questions :/

  2. Jordan Elpern-Waxman

    In a sort of meta moment, when I first read this post there were no comments. It felt like something was wrong, like walking into a normally packed bar and finding it empty.Then I refreshed, and saw @mario_cantin:disqus’s comment, and I knew I was in the right place.

  3. Brandon Burns

    “But if you want to hang out here on a regular basis, I encourage you to build a Disqus Profile, invest some time and energy into it, and participate as everyone else does.”Yeah, but don’t fake the “invest some time and energy” part. Comment when and how you see fit. Comment because you want to, because you have something of value to add to the conversation. Or even to get something out of it for yourself. Just so long as its with purpose.If you don’t have something to say, don’t say anything at all.

    1. Joe Cardillo

      Well said, plus I think worth noting that a characteristic of healthy communities is members that are willing to hold space for each other. Meaning, things like willing to let go of a contentious point if someone’s clearly upset and appreciating / asking for context when we disagree or don’t understand each other.

      1. Brandon Burns

        Yep.On the flip side, some folks like a really good debate. LE, JLM and Kid Mercury** come to mind. Sometimes letting it go is worse than engaging, because no one gets the resolution they’re seeking.But you have to really know someone (‘s online commenting personality) to figure that out. With strangers, your point of view is likely best.**Speaking of Kid, if you’re reading, what’s the reason behind your absence / shift towards usv.com?

        1. LE

          Or JLM’s absence other than when he showed his face the other day.

          1. Tony Salazar

            Enough appreciating. I appreciate, you appreciate and we all appreciate. Kinda boring.Your commenting reminds me of this ad –> http://youtu.be/GVHPEJoMGsY

        2. mike

          Debaters? … no AndySwan ?

      2. Donna Brewington White

        AVC is a great go-to place for me to hear the opinions of people that I respect but who think differently than me.Although the political posts invite a lot comments that I have to wade through in order to find those kernels. How is that for mixing metaphors?

        1. Joe Cardillo

          Yes, I’d have to say the posts that elicit discussion about politics tune me out as well. But I do find the community thoughtful and contrary enough to keep coming back.

    2. LE

      And to repeat. Brandon has the best avatar on AVC. Possibly a contender for the best avatar there ever was anywhere.

      1. Brandon Burns

        Ha! Because of my thinking-pose photo?I was walking down the street and someone put a large thought bubble sticker on a wall. A friend made me stop and pose under it. Too bad I didn’t shave that day.

        1. LE

          I remember the day, a long time ago, when you thought you said something stupid or missed some obvious point. And in a nicely self deprecating way you put in some hieroglyphs (not sure that is the word actually) to point to your picture which was perfect.

          1. Brandon Burns

            Lol. I’m glad you remember when I say something stupid.I’ve remembered a lot of the smart things you’ve said. :-)Most every time I think about how to get attention for a project via PR, stunts, or similar tactics, I think of your advice.

          2. LE

            Most every time I think about how to get attention for a project via PR, stunts, or similar tactics, I think of your advice.Thanks I appreciate that Brandon. I am glad that you can understand and get some benefit from the sometimes ridiculous and creative thoughts that float through my brain.You know just this morning I had an idea for a women’s product and I told my wife about the idea. She really liked it. Then I told her the name that I had for it. I said I would call it “mammas rack”. She was arguing with me that that was a bad idea and a terrible name. Which is exactly why it’s good. It’s a total viral attention getter and controversial. As opposed to, say, “mother’s night bra”.I’m glad you remember when I say something stupid.No you have this wrong. I remembered that you said something stupid because you thought you said something stupid (which I don’t remember what it even was or whether it was moronic or not). And you pointed it out and brought it to my attention. In other words, a variation of the Streisand Effect. [1]It is named after American entertainer Barbra Streisand, whose 2003 attempt to suppress photographs of her residence in Malibu, California inadvertently drew further public attention to it.[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wik

          3. Salt Shaker

            LOL. You’re way too funny, LE. Refreshingly honest, btw. Wonder how NOW would respond to “Mama’s Rack.”

          4. LE

            Well hopefully they would respond in a big way and it would be on a slow news day to boot.

          5. Donna Brewington White

            LE there is no freaking way I will use something of that nature called Mama’s Rack no matter how great it is. In case you wanted another woman’s opinion. πŸ˜‰

          6. LE

            I actually find that encouraging in a way that you reacted (as my wife did) like that.I will dial it back a bit in that case. What I would do then is additional research. Assuming you and my wife are representative of women’s opinions I will then come up with another name a bit less spicy.Then in the PR release (and back story that is told) I will humbly make note of how tone deaf I was and that will be the story that is repeated that will gain the publicity.As in:LE’s wife hated the idea and one women remarked “there is no freaking way I will use something of that nature called “Mama’s Rack” no matter how great it is. And so…

          7. Anne Libby

            I second @donnawhite’s opinion.

          8. Donna Brewington White

            You elicit bluntness from me. I like that about you.Unless you are creating a nursing bra best to leave out words referencing anything maternal. And use words that women personally relate to, not words that men use to refer to our anatomy.

          9. LE

            And use words that women personally relate to, not words that men use to refer to our anatomy.I guess since I’m so maniacally focused on getting PR (good or bad as you know is of benefit) I am blinded to the eventual end user of the product.

          10. Donna Brewington White

            Oh LE hire @awaldstein:disqus fast!

        2. Donna Brewington White

          Am I mistaken or did you once post a photo of you opening your first computer and you were blonde?

          1. Brandon Burns

            Hahaha. I’ve never dyed my hair. You’re definitely mistaken πŸ™‚

          2. Donna Brewington White

            Hahaha! In the photo I’m thinking of you were blonde and fair. Which of course raised the question of the statement you were making with such a visually different avatar. But the question was submerged because you have a very distinct persona beyond the visual. So now I am having a good chuckle and checking off one more mystery solved.

        3. Aaron Fyke

          Wait, that’s you?! At the screen resolution, I thought it was a grab from Tropic Thunder. See pic.

          1. Brandon Burns

            So I look like a white guy pretending to be a black guy? Thanks.Lol. πŸ™‚

          2. Aaron Fyke

            No, you look like the dude playin’ the dude, disguised as another dude!

          3. James Lopez


  4. Anne Libby

    Fred, actually came by today thinking about this. Thanks for this post. Hopefully some of more recent drop-ins to this bar will join in with the intended vibe of the place.

    1. pointsnfigures

      Fireball shot comments for everyone….on Anne.

      1. Anne Libby


  5. Mike Zamansky

    Mostly a lurker here – I usually only chime in on education stuff but I can say that I’ve gotten quite a bit out of both Fred’s posts and the discussion that ensues.I will comment on the impact of the avatars – over time, I find myself particularly enjoying comments from a handful of users. Maybe I find them insightful, controversial or maybe just fun.The avatar not only lets me quickly scan for them here when I don’t have time to really read the posts but also lets me pick out those same users on other sites.

  6. Tom Labus

    People become know here for what they say as in any good bar. That’s your profile

  7. Tracey Jackson

    I agree with you. I’m a drop in. A drink here and there. But I find people are often unwilling to sign on to Disqus. They want to comment on a site but are too lazy or self-conscious to use a Disqus handle…Frustrating.

    1. Brandon Burns

      When Disqus doesn’t remember who I am, usually on mobile, I get lazy, too, and will often not sign in.I know, sad. But human!

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Is that for comments as well as upvotes?

      2. JamesHRH

        Disqus as a social network is a terrific concept – kind of wondered what took so long.Could not agree more BB that a major current hurdle is that Disqus as a mult-device commenting platform is also only a terrific concept.

      3. Sam Parker

        When you find yourself not logged in on mobile, is it when you coming into an article from an app like Twitter or Facebook, in the app’s in-app browser?That’s what I’ve seen myself. The in-app browsers are convenient but have some side-effects.

    2. LE

      but are too lazy or self-conscious to use a Disqus handleI had brought up in the past and was wondering if disqus did any research into finding out why people don’t comment in any form but continue to read many times on a daily basis. Or why some people are inveterate commenters. Similar to “why did you abandon the shopping cart” [1]Whether it would change management or not isn’t the important thing but it’s always important to know as much as possible about behavior issues.[1] Something I did the other day when I wanted to sign up for HBO just to watch one program that I was interested in. The price was right but I didn’t have my Verizon account info which was needed. And at that point I thought “oh do I really need to do this?”.

  8. Guesty McGuesterson

    I am Guesty McGuesterson. I post as guest. Sure, anybody could come along and type the same thing in, check the β€œI’d rather post as guest” box as I have, and use the same name. Perhaps somebody has, but I’ve never seen it. I’ve posted this way many times here now, over a span of years. Perhaps this warrants a disqus profile. But at that point, I would not be posting as guest anymore.

    1. ShanaC

      we care about consistency. Ideally we’d like to reach out to you if there is an emergency or a problem

  9. William Mougayar

    Anonymity is a right, especially when the person fears repercussion for voicing what they believe in, in case they are tracked. But anonymity with a consistent identity is more powerful than drive-by commenting.I like the 3rd bullet in the Disqus sign-up window: “Don’t be a jerk or do anything illegal. Everything is easier that way.”

    1. Rick

      “consistent identity is more powerful than drive-by commenting”.How a person looks or what they say their credentials are should not be a factor in determining if what they say is of value. Only what that say should be considered of value or not. There are many reasons for this. A person could be saying something someone else told them. A person could be saying things they know are not true just to take advantage of someone. A person could have realized something very important but doesn’t have the credentials to back up what they’ve learned.

      1. William Mougayar

        No one is judging based on the avatar. If there’s a place where your background doesn’t matter, but what you say and how you behave does- this is the place.Everybody is mysterious in some way, and no one has to voluntarily reveal anything about themselves. The only common thing is the sense of online community, which this is.

        1. Rick

          Agree little but disagree a lot, sorry

          1. Rick

            I disagree with your disagreement. I like having someone use my first name. It adds some excitement to the mix.

          2. Rick

            Welcome to the AVC club, Rick. Fred is our friendly bartender and we have educated patrons as well here

          3. Joesephus

            I feel like I’m talking to myself. It’s giving me a headache. I’ll change my name.

          4. Donna Brewington White

            William has really strong credibility around this subject.

          5. Rick

            Don’t try to tick us. I’ve chatted with William he’s all into online this and online that with no regard for truth or verifiability. lol.Just kidding William. But I couldn’t help myself. After chatting with you that day and you wanting me to read your profile instead of talking directly with you about you. I laughed for hours.

          6. William Mougayar

            Rick- you have this pattern of twisting the truth, and I’m not going to let you get away with it,- you’re pissing me off now.You asked very basic questions about me, and I suggested you google me, and then we could carry on. I don’t have time to recount who I am in an email when it’s all public.

          7. Rick

            I said “Just kidding William”. That means I was joking..Prove that I have a pattern of twisting the truth. Show me any post that I’ve made where I say something that isn’t true and I don’t put an “lol” or “just kidding” with it..Like I’ve said before: The size of the man is measured by the size of the problems that anger him..You can easily tell from the post that I was teasing you. If you want to twist that around and make it something to get mad about. Just tell me the real reason you’re getting mad and if it’s something I’ve done and you’re not seeing it incorrectly then I’ll apologize.

          8. Rick

            Let me tell you a story William:.There was a salesman at a store. A patron walked in looking to buy an item. The salesman asked the patron what she was looking for. The patron told the salesman and the salesman then showed the patron all the various items that fit what the patron wanted describing the advantages and disadvantages of each..After the whole process was done. The patron pulled out her money and said I’ll take that one. The salesman said wait I’ll get you a brochure on that item. It describes everything about the item. When the saleman came back the patron had left..The moral of the story is know when someone is already sold and be sure to close the sale..I did my homework on you just like I do on anyone I contact. I was ready to move forward. *You* tried to waste *my* time by having me mess about on the computer looking at profiles I didn’t need to look at. In other words I was sold and you went to get a brochure..That made me laugh. It’s something that happens often with inexperienced sales people. I’m no sales expert so I can’t judge but it did make me realize that you were more concerned with other things instead of an already sold prospect right in front of you. A bird in hand is worth two in a bush..There’s no reason to get mad and make claims without warrant. If you don’t like something I said just tell me and I’ll understand.

    2. Guest

      (1) What should be the scope of your online identity? The options: (i) Maps to your offline identity, using your real name (= Facebook comments). (ii) Allows pseudonymity, but aggregates all your online activity (= Disqus). (iii) Allows pseudonymity, aggregates your activity within a specific community, but doesn’t connect to or aggregate your activity elsewhere (= Seeking Alpha). (iv) Zero aggregation — each comment is stand-alone.(2) It’s important to understand the economic interests here. The more a service can track your activity, the more it can target advertising to you. Deeper tracking also enables greater proactive personalization and therefore allows services to become more valuable for users.(3) My personal view: Consistency of identity is important within online communities. But linking users’ activity across communities is unnecessary and compromises their privacy. If you aggregate enough of a person’s online activity, it’s easy to identify their real name. Namely, (ii) collapses into (i).

      1. William Mougayar

        Linking activity across communities is a monumental task that’s not so easily achieved; at least it’s expensive if done centrally (I tried doing that with my previous company, Engagio).Maybe one day when we own and control our data directly ourselves, this would be possible.

  10. LE

    Another analogy separate from the bar analogy would be a good community is similar to a sitcom in many ways. On a sitcom, after a few episodes, you get to know the characters “shtick” [1] and it makes it more valuable and interesting to you than if you don’t. So a comment coming out of the mouth of Charlie Crystle, is quite different, to me at least, than the same comment coming out of anyone else or a guest or the same thing said by Jim Hirshfield.[1] Q.E.D. http://en.wikipedia.org/wik….

    1. JimHirshfield

      Upvote for shtick. Shtick is a funny word. Stick with your shtick.

  11. JimHirshfield

    I’m here as me. Thanks for having me. The service is great, the crowd convivial, the price is right, but the drinks are way too dry.

    1. ShanaC

      got a favorite drink jim?

    2. Lil Pong

      and appreciate some of the noises you make . I mean the real noises

    3. John Revay

      Jim,As usual – you do a great job framing the thought – always w/ humor as a benefit.

    4. JamesHRH

      Drinks are dry, but it matches a lot of the wit.

      1. JimHirshfield

        πŸ˜‰ …I was waiting for someone to snatch that bait.

  12. petermeyer

    With all due respect, speaking as a journalist of nearly 40 years, I don’t like pseudonyms or fake names. People who don’t use their real names don’t have to be responsible for what they say. And if you’re not willing to be responsible for what you say, your words have much less credibility; at least that’s been in the journalist’s playbook for quite some time. Thanks.

    1. Salt Shaker

      I would think how you use the “written word” is prob very much colored by your vocation as a journalist. Attribution is a critical component. Not sure the same standards necessarily apply when contributing to someone’s blog, certainly as a layperson. There are many, many reasons why one chooses anonymity, sometimes to mask the truth, or to enhance candor, but often to tell the truth w/ out fear of retribution or reprisal (although that’s not likely very relevant here at AVC.)

    2. LE

      Forgetting for a second the irony of not knowing if you are the “Peter Meyer” who comes up with a google search (I’ll skip the link), there is a great difference between a journalist who is paid to write (and what he thinks and how he/she has to operate), and a commenter on AVC who is not paid any money to make a comment. Or for that matter someone who gets to post an op ed (unpaid) in a newspaper.And if you’re not willing to be responsible for what you say, your words have much less credibilityWhile I would like people to like what I say (speaking for myself here not everyone on AVC) my objective isn’t to be liked and/or try to change the world. I get what I get out of commenting (discussed elsewhere I won’t repeat) and that’s why I do it. In other words it’s “for me” not “for everyone else” although I am of course glad if others get things out of anything that I say. Sure it feels good.The opposite side of your point also is that not having a comment easily tied to you gives you the freedom to say things that you wouldn’t say if the comment was tied to you. I would personally find that a bit stifling and wouldn’t say the same things. Why? Because there are many people who are politically correct and aren’t interested in considering different viewpoints. And I’d have a harder time giving real examples that I often give (noting that even with the real examples I can sometimes alter a small fact, name and so on to protect the innocent).One other thing. This entire idea that words only have credibility if they come from someone with a pedigree or a known entity I don’t buy into. I’ve actually suggested an experiment here which is to have web celebrities post things without their name and see how people don’t fawn over every word when there is no halo. And only the words remain.

      1. Rick

        “This entire idea that words only have credibility if they come from someone with a pedigree or a known entity I don’t buy into. I’ve actually suggested an experiment here which is to have web celebrities post things without their name and see how people don’t fawn over every word when there is no halo. And only the words remain.”.+1000.Because many times on the internet those words are written by someone else not the person you think. The words just have a “known name” attached to them.

    3. Rick

      “People who don’t use their real names don’t have to be responsible for what they say.”.Welcome to the web. Think about TV. If I’m not mistaken many times someone on there says things that were written for them to say. That someone is an actor. There are many actors on the web.

    4. Rick

      Actually, I think, it runs right about $5 to have an actor create a convincing video for your website. Do a search I’m sure you’ll find them.

  13. Rick

    Nice to see our dicussion prompted a topic in itself Fred..I think you’re missing a few things Fred:.Many who are here are selling things. Maybe it’s consulting or mybe, like you, it’s investing/investments. Those people use avatars and trackable accounts because they are trying to build a business with an online presence. That’s cool but some here aren’t doing that and we don’t *need* those things. Also the people who are selling many times, as Charlie said, just repeat certain viewpoints over and over again. They don’t really contribute to helping this community grow and learn because what they are selling isn’t changing. The people who come here without a biased view and discuss facts and logic are the ones who make this place better. I’m not against the sellers selling. I’m all for it. ABS is what I say. But we have to be honest and admit that they are biased and can cause the conversation to become mundane and repetative..Also many of the people, myself included, don’t want an avatar. We don’t want tracked by Disqus and we especially don’t want to give someone an easy way to see where we hang out on the web. We don’t want to find love via the web. We don’t want to make virtual friends that don’t have a “real world” identity. We don’t want the real bad guys who know how to *fake* online identities to try and bother us..Tracking and profiling people has to be a violation of our rights. So the people who don’t sign up for a permanant account are helping to promote freedom by trying to keep their *real world* identity separate from their web identity. This way companies can look at aggregate information without linking to an actual person. In other words the non-permanant posters are helping more than hurting on the web..I say ABS to all those here selling things. I also say don’t try to abuse people with rules that hurt freedoms..Last I want to say. In the United States we use a system called capitalism. That means things are suppose to be privately owned with the purpose of making a profit for the owner. So in the US it’s all about MONEY!!! This is a VC’s blog with VC topics and we should all stay focused on discussing topics and how they can help us make fat stacks of cash. Because if you have fat stacks of cash you can help people who don’t get on their feet and on the road to making money and being independent and successful.

    1. Mariah Lichtenstern

      Why, that’s not biased at all, is it? And our “capitalist” quality as a nation (putting aside international reach of this blog) is much more relevant than the tenets of “democracy” or “freedom.” Got it! I feel taller already. Thanks!

      1. Rick

        Any sales person worth his/her salt. <-Matt.Is biased towards his/her products being the best.

        1. Richard Carlow

          I understand why you would think so Rick, but do disagree. Any great sales person does not lie about their product, even to themselves.There product in terms of the labor market is their reputation and the clients they can bring to the table. The short term benefits of delusional belief are not worth the long term costs of losing access.They will find what is great about it, position it accordingly and try to sell it sure, but if they don’t believe in it the good ones will simply move on to represent something they do believe in.

          1. Rick

            I don’t see where what you’re saying opposes what I said.

    2. Joe Cardillo

      You’ve said a couple times now that you believe Fred only runs this blog for profit…I’m not saying it’s not part of the equation but can you clarify why you feel that’s his sole agenda? I don’t get that impression at all. Like many VCs he seems to include long term thinking / balance in his investment theory…as evidenced by recent posts on mobile banking, education focused summer internships, and the ethics of algorithms. That doesn’t seem money focused to me, which is what you are pointing at.

      1. Rick

        I don’t think I ever said that Fred “only” runs this blog for profit. You would need to ask him. I think he does run this blog as an adjunct to his VC endeavors..Again I don’t remember ever saying Fred “only” runs this blog for profit. But.. Umm… You stated “balance in his investment” but then you say that “doesn’t seem money focused to me”. I think you contradicted yourself. Maybe I’m not reading it correctly.

        1. Joe Cardillo

          Well, you basically implied as much here: http://avc.com/2015/02/is-t…As for that last part, I’m saying it doesn’t seem to me like he’s only interested in money and that he, as you say “doesn’t give two shits about people.”

          1. Rick

            There is nowhere in that post where I say “Fred only runs this blog for profit. You’re concluding those things on your own accord..I stand by my statement that VCs don’t give two shits about people. They are VCs to make money. I also said that when not at work I figure they do care about people. The post you are referring to is all about the topic of VC..But when at work any good VC knows they have to perform. That means they have to leave emotion behind, that includes worrying about their feelings towards people, and try to invest in entities (companies) that will make a great return. One VERY important part of that is ensuring that if any one or two members of the team leave for whatever reason the entity can live on to provide great ROI..That being said there are non-profit organizations that take in donations. That is not venture capital. There is a new type company that is socially oriented that might have changed. You’ll need to look that up yourself.

          2. Joe Cardillo

            Fair enough. I don’t agree re: the separation you make about VCs when they’re at work not caring about people, but I’m not a VC so perhaps there’s a dynamic there I’m not familiar with.

          3. Rick

            It’s not only VCs. Imagine if everytime a rescue worker was at the scene of an accident they broke down and cried. When doing a job a person needs to stay focused on that job..Don’t get confused with a job being the wrong thing to do. If a job that someone performs is all about hurting people then it’s about NOT doing that job. Having the intent to harm is not good. But if your job is to do something good you have to prevent yourself from making mistakes that happen when you let emotion run your decisions.

          4. pointsnfigures

            I think when you make an investment-it’s not just about the idea but the people. investing in human capital is the best investment. great article in techcrunch http://techcrunch.com/2015/… about it-how investment in tech enables humans

          5. Rick

            I think the best investment is the one where the founders don’t want to be *needed* thus they build a company that can operate without them. This way my investment isn’t at risk from them leaving and when they move on to something else my first investment will still make money and my next investment, with them, might make me more money.

  14. kevando

    Has Fred ever done a blog on commenter metrics? I’d be curious to know what % of readers engage in the comments and how that compares to the 1/9/90 rule.http://en.wikipedia.org/wik

    1. ShanaC

      we’ve discussed it in the past

  15. Salt Shaker

    I use a pseudonym here because I’ve been a victim of serious identity theft. I’m talking 5-figure theft (starting w/ the number 9). Once bitten, twice shy. Although I believe the risk level of my being violated again is now relatively low (because of how I engage), the downside is it’s made me more of a paranoid New Yorker than I ever was before. Salt Shaker prob is a pretty accurate descriptor of my personality, although some of my former colleagues prob would say Tabasco Sauce is a bit more apt :).

  16. Laurent Boncenne

    also to add to it,some come here every day but don’t necessarily comment each time… πŸ˜‰

    1. Andrew Kennedy

      yeah, i wonder what the monthly DAU number is.

      1. Laurent Boncenne

        I think, but don’t quote me on that, that a few years ago it was at around 72k visits per month or somethingsee this: http://avc.com/2010/05/goin

  17. Mariah Lichtenstern

    Disqus is pretty cool. I never meant to invest in it, but over time, it reveals a lot about a person. It’s interesting to learn more about your favorite – or not-so-favorite – commentators sometimes. πŸ˜‰

  18. bsoist

    I try only to comment when I have something of value to add or occasionally attempt humor.There are days I avoid the comments based on the topic, but I learn a lot and get a lot of value out of the comments here. Thanks.

  19. SubstrateUndertow

    I was channel surfing the other day and caught this little monologue gem on an episode of the original Star Trek”if your not programable YOU are inferior”Certainly most of us today take for granted that”software is eating the world”and that that is a good thing at least as it regards programable things/processes.Then there is the gray area of programming social exchange processes/patterns.Then there is the process of programming people and organizations for optimal “group interaction” which seems like a reasonably positive educational goal?So how do we divine the optimal tipping point between the programable “YOU”andthe individualist “YOU”us westerners have been programmed to take as sacrosanct ?Maybe this was off topic – you decide πŸ™‚

    1. Joe Cardillo

      I’d say that’s pretty on topic, one of the main questions about identity and commenting systems being, how much should one control human behavior vs. respond to it? I’m not sure what the optimal tipping point is, and I’m skeptical about any sort of way to define one that’s scaleable.As far as I can tell when you step back and look at individual and group social exchanges as soon as you get over a handful of people it starts being an ecosystem, and those in my opinion can be optimized but not controlled…so it all becomes about balance, and you can’t achieve balance without context and being within that ecosystem to some extent. Yikes this is getting semantic. Anyway, I think trying to optimally program human experience is a bad idea, and not realistic. Until our AI overlords arrive!

  20. Matt Zagaja

    From 1787 to 1788 a series of anonymous essays were published in New York newspapers by an author calling himself Publius. Publius advocated for the ratification of the United States Constitution and these essays later came to be known as the Federalist Papers. We learned that their authors were Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. While they protected their identities, our founding fathers recognized the value of a consistent voice and name.Ultimately I think that commenting consistently but not having a disqus profile is the equivalent of walking into a bar, sitting down for dinner, and keeping your coat on. You’re acting like you intend to stay for a long while while also acting like you might walk out the door any second. People can do what they want but I’m less likely to read or respond to comments that do not have disqus profiles. It’d be interesting to know from @JimHirshfield:disqus if that is generally the case for sites, or if I’m just weird.

    1. ShanaC

      or you are cold, as I often get!

    2. Rick

      You’re just wierd. lol

      1. Rick

        Matt I hope I didn’t offend you too. When people end something with “…is it just me?” or “…am I just crazy?” or things like that it’s an invitation for someone to say as a joke “Yep it’s just you” or whatever. I put some emphasis on it by spelling the word weird in a weird way “wierd”. But I was just kidding..People are so uptight these days. What’s up with that?.Just a week or two ago Brad Feld was getting emails telling him he is destroying Boulder and to get out. Now people are attacking me because I make a joke. Gee!

    3. JLM

      .To this day, there is no better way to understand the intent of the US Constitution than reading the Federalist Papers.The Federalist Papers made the case for the foundation of our country and outlined the meaning of the Constitution. It is remarkable how many people who claim some degree of knowledge about the Constitution have not read the Federalist Papers.They were contemporary utterances from the Founders themselves. A lot of navel gazing can be avoided by reading them and getting the historical context of the Constitution.Another essential read is Thomas Paine’s Common Sense.Paine’s Common Sense presented the argument for rebellion against England. He was an English emigrant who put the reason behind the strength of the American sword. Men embraced and died for the reasons contained in this pamphlet.The Colonies rebelled against the world’s best army and biggest navy and beat them toe to toe because of the military wisdom of George Washington. The more you study the beginnings of the American Revolution the more one realizes what a genius Washington was.He was the ultimate lean startup guru. By the time he took the helm at 40, he was already an accomplished entrepreneur.The Americans turned formal warfare on its ear and beat the English not at their game but at a new game that the Americans invented.The Americans invented asymmetrical warfare.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    4. Donna Brewington White

      Appreciate your thoughtful (and thought provoking) comments above Matt.

      1. Matt Zagaja

        Thanks Donna!

  21. pointsnfigures

    When I first started reading this, I thought Disqus was going to adopt OneName.

  22. Neeraj Shukla

    Sometimes the conversation in the comments is as useful as the blog post itself. But such interaction has higher probability of happening if we feel that there is a real person behind it. If I see an anonymous comment, unless the person has no choice but the engage in anonymous way, I am more than likely to not engage with him/her.

  23. Febri Tri Harmoko

    http://www.xkomo.comwew,, ok great your choice…but why you not eneble blogger ocmment ?

  24. Andrew Kennedy

    My experience has been that there is a big friction point to comment on someone’s blog. There are many reasons that this is the case, none of which I will go into. Having that in mind is critical to 1st ux for disqus sign-up / user. I personally think OAuth is the key here in that setting up a new profile for something you might not want is full of friction. Making it one click and then your all set up is a big plus. Just train of thought here, but I remember when I first started commenting on this blog and it felt like a really big deal. Now I just blather on like this and know it’s fine.

    1. Andrew Kennedy

      edit — friction point to comment on person’s blog for *first time*

  25. Salt Shaker

    Fred, what no props for Mase today? The quintessential NY-er who played the game with nothing but heart and soul, in stark contrast to the overpaid, star struck, ego driven, celebrity wannabes of today. The Garden hasn’t rocked since. RIP Mase.P.S. He wasn’t a guy fearful of attribution. Mase proudly branded his avatar on his scalp.

    1. fredwilson

      I’m not sure what to say. I loved him when he was a Knick and saw him a lot around MSG in recent years. He got very large. I guess that got to him eventually. Great player. Brought it every night

  26. Marissa_NYx

    I read your blog every day, often the first thing I do in the morning your posts often arrive in my inbox at 5.30am – my kids catch me on my phone: “mum, get off the phone, stop working! Time to take us to school!” I post occasionally, I only have one design rule for posting: ” post only if I have something useful, insightful or interesting to say.” Otherwise, Fred & community, know I am there listening, even if not always speaking.

  27. panterosa,

    I’m a big fan of the vibe here, and that is made by mixing known and unknown people together, whose reputation is built here in their commenting. I know one other blog, run by a painter, which I like as much, and it’s due to Fred, or Frank, opening the floor to many views, so long as they come with respect and curiosity.I exclude from the vibe the political which some, like Charlie, have mentioned here that some people’s tones recently turned them off. I am not very interested in the mechanics of politics, so I tune it out everywhere, including here.

    1. ShanaC

      i hate political days too.

      1. Matt Zagaja

        I enjoy politics but I think the problem with political discussions is that many people hold assumptions that are simply not true, or in many areas they do not have the knowledge to articulate an informed opinion. Ironically many politicians face the same problem when talking about technology. So much for us to learn in this world, and so little time.

        1. ShanaC

          true that

        2. PhilipSugar

          And hence the problem with political discussions:”many people hold assumptions that are simply not true, or in many areas they do not have the knowledge”The person on the other side thinks the exact same of you. So you get these nasty vitriolic arguments, which is exactly why on those days I stay out of the discussion.

  28. Rick

    I sometimes say: “We don’t give two shits how technology works. We just want to get rich.” I base that on my research of people in history..Here is another piece of important information I just saw:”Alan Turing (1912-1954) saved the Allies from the Nazis, invented the computer and artificial intelligence, and anticipated gay liberation by decades–all before his suicide at age forty-one.”.Note the suicide. It’s important for people to keep a balance in their lives. Don’t start a biz on your savings. Find funding first. Don’t lock yourself away in your office for weeks at a time trying to find an all encompassing algorithm to change the world. Find funding to hire a team to help work on such a large task..Also watch the numbers. When they say “Get out while you still can.” Follow their advice!

  29. CJ

    I’ve been hit or miss in the comments mostly because I’m just so damn busy at work nowadays that I don’t have that spare 30mins a day to come here, chill and learn stuff. I still read the blog every day whether here or email but actually being able to invest the time to read and participate in the comments like I would want…time is just too short lately.Hopefully that’ll change sometime this year, I miss you guys.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      I miss you too!Had to click over to figure out who you were. Then remembered you also favorited or RT’d me last week and did the same thing then. Why the name change?

      1. CJ

        The streams started crossing. More and more of my social presence was crossing into real-life friendships and acquaintances and it just got too difficult to maintain the separation and I got tired of explaining the need for the separation(my day job – private company, very publicity shy, don’t want my comments flagging up against a company search).So I compromised by using initials that I use in RL but still won’t relate back to the company but if someone sees me at a conference and says “Hey CJ” RL friends with me won’t hit me with 20 questions. At the same time I wanted to force myself to be a bit more open too hence the picture change as well. I’m a private person but I’m exploring the being comfortable with being uncomfortable thing. One of my un-resolutions for the year.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Thanks for sharing this CJ. πŸ™‚

  30. Donna Brewington White

    I recently tweeted to Daniel Ha that Disqus has helped to change my life. I literally wanted to hug him when I met him at the AVC 10 year anniversary. I made the mistake of tweeting that too which was probably a little over the top. All this brought on by reading about the recent relaunch of the homepage as a social network. I haven’t yet fully digested how to take advantage of this but when I was establishing my online identity Disqus played an important role… which has significantly influenced my identity in general.On the use of identity in commenting I can say that over the past several years I have engaged offline or in other online settings with many of the regulars at AVC, including pseudonyms like Panderosa, Kid Mercury and Fake Grimlock and initials like JLM. Several regulars have become acquaintances and some have become friends. I don’t think this has happened with a “guest.”

    1. awaldstein

      DId Daniel respond to your tweet?

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Why do you ask?

        1. awaldstein

          Curious I am.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            BTW speaking of regulars at AVC that I consider to be friends. :)And DM’d you about your question.

          2. awaldstein

            Friends we are.No pseudonym here.Received your dm–thanks!

  31. Jan Schultink

    Avatars have become the online identity. Sites like LinkedIn should separate the profile picture from the avatar, they are different things.

  32. Chimpwithcans

    Gotta put some kind of identifier down. I choose a pseudonym for some sense of security. Not buying into online credibility is like not buying into gravity. Whether you like it or not, it’s just there or it isn’t.

  33. David Semeria

    Hmm, this comment thread gives a whole new meaning to Rick Rolling…

  34. Mark Essel

    Hey cool, will check it out.

  35. Twain Twain

    The shared alcohol’s really good here.I’ve now met 3 AVC regulars (Jim Hirshfield IRL; JamesHRH and ShanaC on Skype). Online IDs are weird beasts.Twain is the name on my passport and on Disqus, G+, Twitter I use it. However, on coder platforms I use a pseudonym — in part because it’s more “ninja”.My avatar is me: head, heart & soul in everything I do.

  36. TeddyBeingTeddy

    The real question is…why does Antelope Valley College pop up first when I google AVC? Shouldn’t a tech blog with lots of active users and content be able to beat out a no-name college in google juice? What’s going on here?

    1. Tom Labus

      good question

    2. Donna Brewington White


  37. Nicolas Dinatale

    <delurk>I’ve been reading and learning from this blog for years and have posted some comments here and there. It’s a treasured resource for my career, my business and political leanings, etc. I’ve always felt that living a productive, enjoyable life means striving to always learn, follow your interests/passions and keep your eyes wide open. This community helps me in that regard. You all are awesome.</delurk>

  38. MikePLewis

    Good idea. I like the idea of Disqus profiles and, in general, the more options people have for how they manage their identity on the web is a good thing. Personally, i don’t want my identity to be my Facebook account. Google is better and Twitter is the best (in my opinion) as it coincides with their thought of a public profile.

  39. David Miller

    We are building anonymity into our new mobile social app called say. There will be no authentication to begin using the app – NONE. We’ve lowered the barrier to using the app entirely and will use push notifications, in-app notifications and native content to communicate with our users.When a user downloads and begins using the app, they have a set of random initials assigned as their identity for commenting and such. The user can change their assigned initials through the settings tab as often and as many times as they choose.

  40. Guest

    .The topic is being way over analyzed and over thought.This is a place that ideas can wrestle. I don’t really care how the ideas get here. I don’t care about the messenger, I care about the message.I just know that when ideas wrestle, better ideas are always the result. Better ideas informed by unique views, knowledge, experience, intelligence and passion.To those who find themselves offended from time to time, I say grow the fuck up. Stop taking yourself so damn seriously. Get in there and let your ideas be heard. It’s like basketball, you get a few fouls. Use them.Not a bad idea to bring your sense of humor and park your judgmental instincts before you wade into Freddie’s Place.But speak and write with passion.I don’t want to know the ideas and thoughts of those with whom I agree. I want to hear the best arguments as to why I am wrong in my beliefs and what I have missed. I long to know the things I don’t know I don’t know.And here’s the secret, I personally would change my mind about everything if I am informed by a better argument.One could argue that the strengths of this blog is the balance of opinions offered and the comity with which they are presented. What more could one ask for?The breadth and depth of the subjects are fantastic and those who would eschew politics within that offering, I say — when political considerations no longer influence the winners and losers in business, life and world peace, call me. Until then, let’s see the whole world at the same time.There is no question that this blog — which is the number one VC oriented blog on the Internet by independent evaluation — provides a “salon”, a place where smart people can go lay out their arguments and get an intelligent conversation.If you can’t get an opposing viewpoint, then you are just talking to the mirror.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. fredwilson

      that wasn’t really the point of the postthe point was if you want to be a regular, behave like a regular and don’t try to hide

    2. Rick

      Wow! I agree with all that..Many people come here and post as a non-regular. They might use their real name and they might now. But I don’t care because I’m with you JLM. It’s all about the message..No offense Fred but I’m convinced JLM and myself are correct. A bar that doesn’t discriminate based on having a membership card is a much better bar.

  41. Rajiv Jha

    It is great topic for discussion.. i would also apprrciate for it.

  42. Melissa Gandarinho

    I have no problem or issue with letting people know who I am. I know a lot of people prefer to troll and hassle through anonymity and that’s just not cool to me. I experienced it for years on Tumblr, until I decided to not allow anonymous comments anymore. If someone has something to say, they should just say it. Don’t hide. If you have to hide, than maybe you shouldn’t be saying it in the first place.

  43. Michiko

    Internet gives people MIGHTY POWER since its beginning, called “anonymity” and it can be used for either a good aim and a bad aim.Because people are such substances not always in a good intent.Apparently, Disqus is a platform run by affirmative perception for the might, as to see its executive simply shows his admiration and support for “internet anonymity” as below.http://www.wired.com/2013/02/anonymity-isnt-the-problem-with-web-comments/Despite the reality of his company service frequently hijacked by the people who use the might for a bad purpose.It’s only few or 3 decades since human beings were granted this might out of the blue and I believe it is not the term enough to establish a way how to deal with it in a proper manner. Human beings are, a feature not designed or prepared for always concerned with nobody.We usually feel anxious to deal with nobody.Because we are basically not designed to accommodate to it.Living thing is not changed its function so soon and none of us will survive until mankind experiences next evolution.Think about it, we are living nowadays with the same function that a man 200,000 or 300,000 years ago had also retained.Conversely speaking, we have functions designed for the livelihood in those days.It’s not about endeavor, endeavor doesn’t make our function really “upgraded”.No one is upgrated since the last evolution.Internet anonymity is, as I think of, a feature that should be limited as much as it can be.At least one needs to know if a person that he/she is talking to is a same person whom he/she had a conversation with few days ago, or a week ago, or whatever, for maintaining a feasible space to mix with others ordinarily.

  44. James Lopez

    One of the coolest angel investors I’ve ever met was actually the “bartender” at his pitch house events. Successful communities, online or offline, have similar traits. Great analogy.

  45. Observer

    I am wondering where to report abuse. I love your concept of enabling conversations; however, there are a couple of trolls on couchtuner who do nothing but insert spoilers and insult people. This is not conversing. This is deliberately ruining experiences for total strangers who are there to enjoy & discuss the series. The worst offenders are Belieber Uno and K128kevin. They offer nothing of value. For example, the former left a comment “Why did Claire have to be assassinated?” at least 4 episodes before this happened. When someone expressed his annoyance, Belieber Uno replied, “Troll successful. Hope you piss the bed.” People like that should be banned from the forum. Please. Thank you for creating a great social gathering place.

  46. LE

    Coming to a store near you.What is the effect of good bread? I stop by that Wholefoods clone I told you about several times per week even though it’s out of my way just for the bagels.but the startup-vc-tech world has changed and voices like mine are a dime a dozen.Other than the reasons that I comment as mentioned I read the comments here, on Hacker News, and for that matter I watch the evening news (formerly with Brian Williams) because I find it helpful to have a snapshot of how other people think and how they react to certain things and how they behave. Even if it’s predictable. That helps me with what I do to make money and is also entertaining (although the entertainment part is not important or significant).In the case of what you are trying to achieve, getting the bread out, so you can make some bread, is way more important.

  47. Rick

    I don’t keep track. I know of some but it’s not for me to say. It’s their place to offer up their wares.

  48. ShanaC

    people pitch, but explicitly sell tends to not happen very often *shrug*

  49. Rick

    That’s probably a better way of saying it. I also like you ShanaC. Again just like Emily not in a creepy internet way..This is an important point I should make relating to this discusssion. I don’t care if someone is anonymous here. If I want to do business with someone I find on AVC. I’m going to make sure that person is a real person..I don’t even know if you and Emily are women or men. I’ve seen on websites where people have used fake pictures. Sometimes it was the right thing to do when a women lives alone and doesn’t want people to know that. Some times it’s a man who doesn’t want women hitting on him or sending him invites to join her erotic website or whatever..So if you and/or Emily and or anyone is not who they say they are then you have your reasons. I’m intelligent enough not to allow myself to become attacked to a “virtual presense” except to read the text posted and take it all with a grain of salt..I would advise eveyone else do the same. If you want to do business with someone or an entity you find on the internet. Make sure that person or entity really exists in the real world first!.You can do that by talking on the phone or researching the company name or meeting at an industry trade show or whatever.

  50. ShanaC

    Shana is an explicitly jewish female name. I’m definitely female.

  51. Rick

    Awesome! I’m a master chef so I do all my chopping by hand on a board.

  52. Rick

    But I mean people sometimes use fake names and pictures and etc. There is no way for me to know if you are a young women named shana or an old guy named Bart. Because your picture and name could be fake. I have no way to know the truth being online.