What's wrong with my name?

I could use some advice at the moment. Over the last few days I’ve received a couple of strange comments on an old post and I’m not sure what to do about them. The post still gets traffic and the comments have nothing to do with the post, so it’s bugging me. I think anyone who stumbles across the post will be confused and I don’t like posts being hijacked by unrelated comments.

The comments are strange. They’re all from one person who accused me of “stealing” his name. He thinks I shouldn’t call myself CJ on my blog, like I’m ashamed of my full name because I don’t use it… I just don’t get it. CJ is a nickname my parents use; they’re my initials, so how is that stealing someone’s name? And there are millions of other CJs, have I stolen their names too?

I answered the comments but to be honest they’re insulting and I want to delete them. The reason I haven’t yet is because I don’t want it to seem like censorship and as I’m still not getting WP’s emails, I wasn’t sure if I should keep the comments as a record. So I was wondering what you think? Should I move them to another post or just delete them? What do you do with strange comments?

What I still don’t understand is why it’s such a problem. Is he not used to blogs, so the idea of using a nickname seems strange? Or am I missing something? I use CJ to differentiate between my writing and my offline life and it’s something a lot of writers do for varying reasons; JK Rowling, JG Ballard, TA Barron, PD James, SE Hinton… I could name another dozen off the top of my head.

I know some people don’t like pen names, so maybe that’s part of it. Writers are often criticised for using them (particularly to appeal to more readers) but there are legitimate reasons for using one. Andy McNab can’t use his real name for security reasons and many writers use a pseudonym to write in a different style, like Ruth Rendell as Barbara Vine. As a writer I’ve always liked the idea of a pen name. When I first started writing I wrote under different names and I like the idea of writing under a female pseudonym. I might try it one day.

Most writers use pen names for the same reason we do as bloggers; for some anonymity and to let their ideas speak for them, rather than their identity. I hate it when people try to out them, like they’re lying because they want to write under another name. But I suppose it’s natural for readers to be curious.

I wonder how you feel about pseudonyms? Does a pseudonym put you off reading a book? If you didn’t know it was a pseudonym, would you prefer to know? Personally it doesn’t bother me; I’d rather let the book stand on its own, and that’s the same for a blog… but then I never imagined that calling myself CJ would be such a big deal! Hm, maybe Cee-Jay would be better? 😉

12 thoughts on “What's wrong with my name?

  1. Well, I use a pen name too, and I think accusing someone of “stealing” names is funny. That way, all the Jacks, or Davids, of this world have to be in constant fear! 😉

    CJ: It is kind of funny, isn’t it? I’ve read his comments ten times now and I still can’t work them out. I mean, my initials stand for Christopher John; like there aren’t enough of those around too! 🙂

  2. As to the use of pseudonyms, I don’t mind. I think writers write books to give knowledge, entertainment and much more. I don’t think the name of the author should impact whether or not the book should be read.

    If I should ever publish a book, I plan to use my mother’s maiden. Not for animosity or anything, just because I prefer too.

    In regards to the comments, delete them if you truly feel the need.

    CJ: Couldn’t agree more, NW! I think most writers write to entertain, so who cares what name they use? It should be the book that matters, not what name is on the cover. I can see why some books might warrant full disclosure, though. If an author slanders someone, for instance, or makes false claims, they shouldn’t be able to hide behind a pseudonym. I mean, we don’t want to give James Frey more ideas. 😉

    I know a few writers here who use a maiden name. It works well for them; it gives them some anonymity but also has a personal connection for them. I think it makes a lot more sense than assuming a full pseudonym.

    And I think I will delete the comments, or some of them… I might leave one comment with a warning but I’ll get rid of the rest. I don’t see why the thread should be ruined because of it.

  3. Hey CJ,
    The guy sounds like a nut job. Without seeing the comments, it’s hard to tell what happened but the bottom line is, this is your blog – you are the king of this universe and you decide what can and cannot be said. I don’t like censorship either but I do expect certain common rules of conduct and manners on my blog. If people don’t abide by it, particularly readers who are not regulars I haven’t one scintilla of guilt about deleting them and going on my merry way.

    Of course, you’re much nicer than I am and that may be why you find yourself in this quandry. I suppose you could always just put the comments in moderation until you decide what to do.

    As to the pen name, nick name, issue – just as no one can copyright a title, neither can one person ‘own’ a name. Sorry, but this fellow needs to adjust his meds.

    CJ: He does come across that way, doesn’t he, WC? His comments just seem odd and I don’t understand where he’s coming from… usually I’d have no hesitation in deleting them but I thought it better to be safe than sorry this time. I used to get email copies of comments but haven’t received them recently; if I had, I wouldn’t have worried about it.

    I’ll delete most of them and leave one up with a warning; that’s probably the best thing. I like the idea of being king of this blogiverse, though. As long as the power doesn’t go to my head. 🙂

  4. It doesn’t seem to me that you need to defend your initials! We all have initials. I read through the comments, and it’s difficult to tell if the person is really serious, or an odd sort of spammer. The comment that says “feel for us” makes me wonder. If it were me, I’d probably leave the first one up, then in response to her/his second comment just ask if the person has a comment about the actual post? But that’s me. I took a look at your comment policy, and you could delete them on the grounds that they are offensive to you. Perhaps that would be something to do if the person comes back. S/he seems to have made her/his point, though, whatever it may be. You certainly have the right to delete or edit off-topic material (I wrote that phrase into my own comment policy). It does interrupt the flow of the otherwise on-topic comments you received on that post, and it’s your post in total, including the comments, that’s presented to the world.
    Re pseudonyms: I read Elizabeth Peters for years before noticing it was one of several names she used. I just read, and unless there’s a good reason to delve further, I’m not there for the author’s personal life. Cheers!

    CJ: My first thought was spammer as well, but I couldn’t see what he would get from it; there’s no link. I’m guessing it was just someone who stumbled across the blog and for whatever reason left that comment. Of course all he had to do was look at my about page; it’s all there, including my full name!

    I like your idea, Muse; I think I’ll do that, delete the last comments and leave the first one. Hopefully that won’t disrupt the thread and at least it shows I’m not censoring anyone. I’ll update my comments policy as well so what I consider offensive is clearer.

    Interesting that you mention Elizabeth Peters; I’ve always wanted to read the Amelia Peabody series but I didn’t know that was a pen name! The interesting one to watch will be JK Rowling; if she writes another series, I doubt she’ll use the same name. I wonder how long it’ll take people to work out it’s her? Probably 5 minutes; then the publishers will leak it for sales. 🙂

  5. sounds like just another troll, who uses a different approach than the outright offensive. the previous commenter, amanda, has the same avatar too, could it be the same person? check the ip.

    if you don’t want to delete, just unapprove it; you get to keep it and at the same time it won’t appear on your blog. the only annoying is that the comments link will have a bubble indicating there’s a comment need approving, that’s all.

    almost everybody uses a pseudonym online, how is it any different with authors? just as shakespeare said: a rose, by any other name, would smell just as sweet. so if you decided you want to call yourself christina joanne, you’re still the same writer we all know and love! 🙂

    CJ: Yes, definitely a troll; and a strange one. I still don’t see what he was trying to get out of it. I wasn’t rising to the bait and there was no link to his site if he wanted a hit war. The avatar’s my fault, though. I hate the generic grey one, so I changed it for a gravatar. That’s why it’s the same as Amanda’s. One of the good things about it, though, is that the email address is never approved, so comments are always moderated.

    I’ve placed the last comments in moderation now and I’ll delete them later; I have to fix the second comment first. You’re right, though, that bubble’s very annoying; I keep thinking I’ve got new comments! 😉

    Christina Joanne… I like that! If I ever write under a female pseudonym, I think I’ll use that. Who knows, perhaps Christina Joanne will write the next Romeo and Juliet… only they’ll probably be aliens on a distant planet! 🙂

  6. Hi Cj 🙂

    pseudonyms don’t bother me. It’s about your work. Not your name. It has nothing to do with nothing.

    If it were me I would delete the comments. Just because they should still be respectful in some manner. And it didn’t even have to do with the post so to me that’s more disrespectful to you. -shruggs-

    just figured I’d share my say since I’ve disappeared for a while 🙂

    CJ: Hi Dya! I couldn’t agree more about pseudonyms. I think of books rather than authors when I go the library; if something catches my attention, I’ll check it out, so the name doesn’t matter.

    The only time a pseudonym bothers me is if it’s used to limit overexposure, like Stephen King with Richard Bachman. At the time it wasn’t King’s fault (you could only publish one book a year back then) but it still happens and there’s really no reason for it. Publishing multiple books hasn’t hurt Tom Clancy or James Patterson.

    I think I will delete the comments; like you said, that’s more disrespectful to me than the other way round. I still don’t understand what he meant but I guess that’s just one of life’s mysteries now. 😉

    Glad to see you’re back, btw. I’ve been offline for a while, so I’ll popping across to catch up with your blog later. 🙂

  7. As people before me have said, probably a troll. Ignore him.

    As for pseudonyms, I like them. I use them almost always. My real name is not Bharat Iyer, it’s quite close, but not my official name. I might change my official name to Bharat Iyer sometime in the future though. Very few people use their real name on the internet anyway. The anonymity that the internet provides is one of the things that appeals to most people and nicknames and pseudonyms are just a part of that.

    CJ: Thanks, Bharat. I still don’t see what he was trying to get from it but it looks like he’s got the message now. Thank goodness! 😉

    So that’s not your real name. I wondered from a couple of things I read on your blog. Having an online nickname or pseudonym just makes sense these days, particularly because of security and employers. Whether it’s as necessary in writing, though, I’m not sure; it almost makes you a media target and negates the advantage… it’ll be interesting to see what happens to JK Rowling, if she uses a pseudonym and is found out.

    Sorry I’ve been a bit absent lately, btw. I’ve got some catching up to do. 🙂

  8. They seem like trolling comments to me. I don’t get a lot of nutcase comments but I get some and unless they’re full of vile profanity or advocating hate, I leave them. If they don’t mind showing total strangers what idiots they are, I don’t mind letting strangers see for themselves.

    I like initials – the gender-neutral aspect is appealing.

    CJ: I think you’re right; the last two comments I deleted kept trying to bait me, so definitely a troll. There was just something strange that put me off… almost like you’re not sure if he’s serious.

    There seems to be a spate of it at the moment, though. I’ve seen a number of blogs with off-topic comments and another blogger was viciously attacked on her own blog. Perhaps that’s another reason to leave the comments if they don’t disrupt the thread… it reflects more on them than you, in the end.

    I like the gender-neutral aspect too; that’s one reason I liked CJ… and I’m sure JK Rowling’s not complaining either! 🙂

  9. I agree. CJ isn’t even a pseudonym – it’s your nickname, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with blogging under a nickname – I do so myself!

    I wouldn’t pay any attention to a troll like that – attention is probably exactly what s/he is after.

    CJ: Yeah, it’s just a nickname; we all use them, which is why the comments seemed so strange! I suppose cjwriter might be a pseudonym, at least online, but my name is visible if someone looks. That’s the whole idea; I want people to be able find me!

    I’ve deleted the last two comments and hopefully he won’t come back again. If he does, I’ll ignore him. Silence is golden, after all. 😉

  10. pseudonyms – use ’em all the time. We can’t have the real me getting confused with the guy who writes stuff – particularly the type of material I dream up. I’d probably lose my job. Here I’m Paul1701: On my other space I’m Tooty Nolan. Of course if you’re clever enough you can work out my real name from those rather blatant giveaways. Still if you want to be CJ – then CJ you are – and that’s an end to it. Delete that silly-bugger comment.

    CJ: Hi Paul, I agree; a pseudonym can be a useful way of differentiating between different genres and styles, or just for anonymity with your writing. I think that’s particularly important online, as your writing might be around forever. Not using your full name just seems like common sense, so I still don’t see the problem! Just a troll, I guess.

    I’ve deleted the worst of the comments; I’ll leave the other two up for now so he can’t say I’m censoring him but I might delete the others later. At the least it’s made me value legitimate comments all the more! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  11. Hi, geezzzz, do I need to change mine too !!! lol

    CJ: I wonder how many CJs there are in the world? Perhaps we could start an uprising. 😉

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