The "order a site" form for Architechies has a question about the Whois record. For those who don't know about this particular aspect of the Internet, "whois" is a database that matches domain names to their owners. Its records, which are all public, include personal contact information, such as a street address, phone and fax numbers.
As an example of the sort of information normally included in a whois record, I included a (condensed) sample in the form, consisting of part of the architechies.com record:
Mom blew up when she saw that.Royal-Gordon, Brent firstname.lastname@example.org 31 Bloomdale Irvine, California 92614 United States 9497867425 Fax --
She apparently is worried that Scary Stalkers will find my whois information, realize that I'm her son and probably live with her, and work from there. She's slightly justified in this concern--she's received fanmail from prisoners, after all. Doesn't mean I'm not pissed that her job is intruding on my desire to be open.
She thinks that my openness is out of immaturity--that I don't realize the dangers of people knowing my street address. And perhaps that's true, because I can't see any danger. I don't make enemies, online or off. Moreover, it's hardly difficult to find it through other channels, and whois is far more obscure than most methods.
For my first few years online, before and to some extent during my high school career, I kept a very modest presence online. I was very careful with contact information; I adopted a pseudonym to keep my identity safe. Giving Darci my telephone number and street address was a big decision at the time. Mostly out of naivete and my slightly bizarre desire to do "what's right for the network", I entered my real name and contact information into LaurenRoyal.com's whois record, figuring that I could keep "Brent Royal-Gordon" from being easily linked to "Brent Dax".
But in the last two years, I've grown comfortable online. "Brent Dax" started to have a (small) reputation in the Parrot development community. He also had a presence in other places online. Sometime during eleventh grade, I started to think about dropping the pseudonym; I eventually decided to do so when I turned eighteen.
I got involved in Megatokyo, and started giving out my contact information to online friends. That, more than anything else, made me more open; when I registered brentdax.com, I gave it full, correct whois information.
When I turned eighteen, I didn't drop "Brent Dax" as planned. That sort-of happened when I switched to Thunderbird a week or so ago--all my e-mail now goes out as being from 'Brent "Dax" Royal-Gordon', except for business e-mail, which is sent under my real name.
So, anyway, today Mom found out about all this. We bickered heatedly about it, but finally I changed my information to list my family's PO box and the business phone number. She also got me to mask out the last four digits of the number on that page.
The last bit seems absolutely useless to me; the first merely chafes badly.
I do see her side, but this really bugs me. Really bugs me.