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A Handle in the Wind

Teh Internets

The internet’s a big place and it’s very easy to get lost.  If you’re ever a member of an active community, you know that people pass into and out of the social circle all the time.  Even here in the webcomic community, you’ll have someone that you talk to or work with all the time and, suddenly, you realize that it’s been 2-3 months since they’ve said anything, posted on the forum you all inhabit, updated their comic… that’s just the way of the internet.

Making it easy for people to show up when they want means it’s also easy for people to go when they want, and we (on the other side of the monitor) don’t know what happens to you other than suddenly, you’re gone.  Did your computer die?  Did YOU die?  Did you get tired/sad/mad/bored of the group and go away?  And where did you go when you left?

Sometimes I’ll be scanning a list of names – twitter followers, bboard posters, email accounts – and I’ll see a handle that looks familiar.  Maybe it’s just a fragment of a handle I recognize, or something similar (but not spelled right), but for a second I’ll go “Hey, I wonder if that’s… naaaah.”

Some people keep the same handles forever.  A few people I know picked their handles back in ‘the day’ and have been with them for over 10 years now.  I’m more fickle, subject to mood swings and changes of opinion, so I tend to bounce around as I jump from focus of interest to focus of interest. 

The handle I go by now, Kallisti, is (hopefully obviously) a creation entirely for The Apple of Discord (kallisti, or “to the fairest” is what Eris carved into the golden apple before tossing it into the wedding she wasn’t invited to). 

Before this I went by the handle DrakkenZero – originally it was just Drakken, which suited me fine for years, until the damnable Kim Possible show came out with a bad guy named Dr. Drakken, and suddenly I had crap from unwashed hyperactive teenage girls thinking I was trying to Arch-villian their dumbass Disney girl hero.  I ought to have taken it up anyway, but their Dr Drakken was so baaaaaaad (and herein I mean bad as in lame, ineffective, a failure, not bad as in Badass bad) that I felt he sullied the name.

So I switched it to DrakkenZero (like Patient Zero, indicating that I HAD THE NAME FIRST, DAMN YOU DISNEY)… but that caused confusion because another friend of mine on the internet was using the suspiciously similar DarkonZero already (I admit I may have gotten the idea for my handle from his subconsciously), so that didn’t work.

I also used to go by Negaweapon, or just Nega, which was a derivitave of a bizarre series of events involving my MST3K Fandom… MEGAWEAPON was a dump truck/tank in Warrior of the Lost World that the bots started rooting for towards the end in the hopes he might defeat the Paper Chase Guy.  On the Scifi Channel-sponsored Dominion BBoard system, we picked up a trollish fellow who picked the name MEGAWEAPON.  I created the original  NEGAWEAPON handle to mock him (with a series of hilarious failed trolling attempts meant to confuse and discredit him) and had great success.

So much success, in fact, that I started using the NEGAWEAPON identity as my regular handle and abandoned my previous original handle, HarlockX, due to the fact that there were a friggin’ lot of Harlock’s out there already and only one Nega.

That is, until I started being accused of being a racist.

See, apparently someone thought that a) I couldn’t spell worth a damn, and b) that Nega was meant to be a failed attempt to spell a different N and G heavy word that occasionally ends in the letter A if you spell it wrong.  Somehow, this person managed to infect a bunch of other people with their stupidity virus, and enough time had passed that nobody remembered the original Megaweapon (the troll, not the dumptruck) and explinations got long and complicated (like this one) so rather than have to constantly defend myself, I stopped using it.

And that’s not counting all the niche handles that I’ve developed over the years for specific boards or events, or as ironic parody, or just because I was feeling weird that day.

So I wonder, whenever I see a handle out there that looks familiar, if that person might be the original person I knew from long ago, or if they are merely the current in a long line of people to have assumed that name, more than just a handle, but now almost a mantle.  Do many others suffer from handle evolution like I do, or do they stick to their guns and remain true to one form for their entire life?

For kicks, here is an incomplete list of handles that belonged to people I knew, friends and enemies alike, who have either vanished from the web or moved on to a new name, a new face, a new people and place.  You may notice several are MST3K themed… there’s a reason:

Samurai88, DeRaptor, IncredibleMeltingMan, jasoN, BobIshmael, Unicrass, Locdog07 (ok, I know where he went, but it was still an awesome name), FemmeCrow, TBaker, Wurwolf, TServo4, LordOfUnderworld (LOU), BlackGaine, and IronF.  Don’t feel bad if you’re NOT on this list – I’ve been at the serious business of the internets for over 13 years now, and I’ve forgotten more names by far than I’ve remembered.

Also, you’ll have to excuse me, it’s my birthday, and I’m being sentimental.


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