OPINION: As someone who spends far too much time on the internet, and having generated a bit of criticism and commentary from time to time, I've become more than a tad interested in the rise of anonymous contributors to news websites.
Many people have written about this - and yes, I admit that I've been known to get on my high horse about it and gallop around the room shouting "gutless wonder" at the top of my voice.
However, one of the things I have grown to love about this particular phenomenon is the noms-de-internet chosen by these commentators.
Here in Nelson we have some lovely ones - my personal favourite is SexPackets. What a stunning name to choose for yourself. In my mind, SexPackets is a Jim Morrisonesque individual with leather trousers, enigmatic and pretty hot.
I find myself scanning the pavements from time to time just to see if anyone obviously warrants such a name, but to no avail.
I have been reliably informed that SexPackets is also the title of a classic rap album by Digital Underground. I was never a major fan, so that passed me by.
According to Wikipedia, Sexpackets (the album) was about "GSRA (Genetic Suppression Relief Antidotes), a pharmaceutical substance that is produced in the form of a large glowing pill about the size of an American quarter, which comes in a condom-sized package and was allegedly developed by the government to provide its intended users, such as astronauts, with a satisfying sexual experience in situations where the normal attainment of such experiences would be counter-productive to the mission at hand".
Well, all I can say is that you learn something new every day.
Another local favourite of mine is Justice. This may, of course, be an actual name, as it is from time to time, but I suspect not.
I say this because Justice is someone who has commented with great surety about me in the past, and I'm pretty sure I have never met him/her - or maybe I have?
That's the joy of the nom-de-internet. It gives you compete freedom to diss even your nearest and dearest, and they will never know.
I also like Pamplemousse, simply because I fancy myself as a bit of a Francophile, and I wonder why anyone would call themselves "grapefruit" in any language.
Further afield on Stuff there is a mixture of the worthy ("People's Voice" - though I'm not sure which people - and "Concerned"), the somewhat arrogant ("Noble Savage", "Nothing New" and "The Saint"), and the humorous ("Garth Vader" - which may be an actual name - "Gollum" and "Stumpnuts". Yes, "Stumpnuts").
The irony is that I seem to spend more time imagining who they actually represent in real life than I do reading what they have to say.
I also wonder what prompts people to choose the internet names they use. I suspect some really believe that they speak for the people, while others rather arrogantly think they have to "keep them all honest" (I'm never sure who "them" actually refers to).
I'm sure others just like the fact that they can say what they really feel without fear of a real-life challenge. Or, as in the case of Tricky111, maybe there are already 110 other Trickys out there and they simply had no choice.
- Ali Boswijk was Nelson's deputy mayor until last year and is international projects manager at World of WearableArt Ltd.