A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Frank Reed
Date: 2018 Aug 15, 20:24 -0700
Gerald van Wilgen, you wrote:
"Your names and addresses are freely available on the internet… Nowhere to hide."
This is mostly true in the USA, less so in western Europe (especially given new EU laws), and not at all the case in other parts of the world.
First step in remaining anonymous online wherever you are: post anonymously! But don't hang a lantern on it. A fair number of the names you see attached to NavList messages are pseudonyms. We have a long-standing policy, founded on an unwritten group consensus, that NavList members are supposed to use "real names". That's un-enforceable, but I maintain a policy that names as entered should "sound like" real names. That makes any pseudonym a personal choice that is not "in your face" for other NavList members. In other words, you can't use a handle, like "Starry McStarface" or an improbable riff on a historical name like "Isaac von Galilei" because that would annoy people, but you can use a boring name like "John A." because no one will know the difference. If you do that, you're pretty well hidden.
Second, it's also possible to hide your physical address in the USA if you plan carefully and live in the right place. The catch, of course, is that once your name and address are in a public database, you won't be able to erase it without moving. Contrary to popular opinion, it's possible to have a completely clear credit rating and lead a normal life with no limitations without publishing your real physical address (it's not well-known that one can use a PO box and the physical address of the post office in nearly all cases --excluding big-money items like mortgages).
I discourage posting of phone numbers and real addresses as well as raw email addresses because we don't want to turn the NavList message boards into a magnet for bots collecting such information. They're like ants. As soon as one bot finds a tasty morsel of personal info, he invites all his little bot friends. If you insist on posting phone numbers and your own email address, please use some simple masking trick. For an email address, replace the "at" sign with something like *at*. Then it won't be automatically masked by the NavList message board system, and it's also a little less likely to attract ants... er... bots.
Last, I edited your post. You used the wrong character for degrees :). You used the "masculine ordinal marker" which is a symbol in Spanish and a few other languages. The digit 1 followed by that character is a shorthand for "primero". It resembles a degree sign but it is not. In a case like this, it doesn't matter much, but for navigational data, please be sure to use the degree symbol. Don't have one lying around? Then copy and paste this one: °. You can also substitute a lower case d in square brackets (here's a lower case b in square brackets [b]... do that with a d, and it will automatically be converted into a degree symbol in any NavList message). Best option, of course, is to post messages directly from the NavList message boards which include a little button right at the top of the editor to drop a degree sign right into your text. One click and you get a degree sign: °. Ta-da!