Fanlore:Identity Protection

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If you discover that you or someone else has been outed, or you need to remove the link between legal name and fannish involvement, please contact the committee instead of trying to fix it yourself! See Help:Protecting Identity for more on procedures.
Policy: Identity Protection
In summary: If exposing someone's identity, you should be able to demonstrate you have authority or permission to do so.
Related Policies: Fanlore:Pre-1995 Fan Name Use, Fanlore:Editorial Procedures

We know and understand that many fans are very careful to keep their pseudonymous fan identity(ies) separate from their real names, for a variety of reasons. We do not intend for Fanlore to become a vehicle for unwanted outings, which might cause personal or professional embarrassment, or even real physical danger.

This is why:

  • Our default assumption is that identity exposure is unwanted. If we discover that someone's identity has been exposed, the page will be reverted, and the history removed. However, should you wish to make a connection between your fannish and real-life identities, you may do so by:
    • Linking to evidence that the person concerned is not bothered by a connection being made between identities. Good evidence would be a statement made by them, on an account which they control.
  • We reserve the right to treat exposure as malicious, and ban users who expose the identity of others.

Identity Protection in General

This policy is intended to protect fans whose need for pseudonymity has changed, in addition to fans who have never publicly associated their fan name with their legal name. If you had previously used your full legal name in fandom or made a public connection between your legal name and fan name, but for whatever reason you need to lower your online profile, the wiki committee can help you do so.

Sexually Explicit Fanworks and Identity Protection

In some cases, a fan who may be otherwise comfortable with the association between their legal name and their fan activities may feel the need to draw a veil between their legal name and their fanworks — for instance, a fan who created sexually explicit fanworks under their legal name and who is now concerned about the accessibility of those fanworks online.

If you fit into this category, contact the wiki committee; we can help you separate your sexually explicit material from your legal name, either through editing the pages which describe your fanworks so that they reflect either your first name and last initial or a pseudonym, or through “orphaning” the fanworks so that they remain on the wiki anonymously.

See also our Image Policy.

Criteria and Procedures for Responding to an Alleged Outing

Minimum criteria for immediate action on grounds of privacy:

  • The wiki content in question draws a link, or increases the visibility of a link between their fannish activity, and their personal or professional life. (This link hereafter referred to as "outing".)
  • The fan has no recorded history of publicly connecting their real name and fannish activities.

These two criteria should be considered grounds for immediate action.

Criteria which should *not* be used to delay:

  • Whether the outing is brought to our attention by the person affected, or a friend.

Rationale: As the wiki expands its historical archives, we will be documenting fans who are deceased. We should take the word of those who knew them and their wishes.

  • Whether the link is already on the internet.

Rationale: As the wiki gains fan currency, Google will start giving more and more weight to linkages made on the wiki. A fan whose name was previously only connected on one or two old archived usenet newsgroups or mailing lists might reasonably object to her fanworks suddenly rising in the google search results.

In cases where there is legitimate doubt that the fan's desires are as represented:

We will:

  • Remove the outing immediately.
  • Attempt to contact the fan through the email address associated with her fanworks, or through her blog/lj comments to confirm that she in fact made the request or that the request is in-line with her wishes.

Cases where we may reasonably delay in removing the material:

  • If the fan outed herself on the wiki (e.g., edited her name in)
  • OR the fan has outed herself in a space she still controls, and has not taken steps to remove that outing.
  • AND if the request to remove the outing does not come from that fan, or cannot be demonstrated to come from that fan.
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