Note: This page predates my name change ca. September 2011. I have left it in its original form as a historical document. However, my legal name on my government ID is now “Alex Bayley”.
As mentioned in my bio page, I have two names: “Skud”, and “Alex Bayley”. I also, formerly used the name “Kirrily Robert” is the name on my birth certificate, passport, etc., but it’s not how most people know me.
People who call me “Skud”: my friends; my lovers; people I live with; almost all my professional colleagues; people who’ve heard me speak at conferences, or invited me to speak at conferences; most people who refer to my online writing; most people who refer to my open source code; people who send me Christmas cards (my grandmother excluded).
People who call me “Kirrily”: my blood family, who I don’t see very often; call centers; immigration officials; Human Resources departments.
The purpose of this page is to provide a variety of evidence that I am commonly called “Skud”, in case I ever need it. Below you can find examples of friends and colleagues calling me “Skud” in both professional and personal situations.
This page is long, so here’s a quick table of contents:
- Links to other sites
- “I Know Skud” buttons etc
- Other testimonials from friends and colleagues
Links to other sites
Where possible, I choose the username “Skud” for all online services except those directly related to my formal/legal identity, such as eg. online banking or job hunting.
I only use “Kirrily Robert” or some variant for my online identity if the username “Skud” is already taken; if usernames must be longer than 4 characters; if the terms of service explicitly require my legal name and do not permit me to use the name by which I am more commonly known; or if my use of the site is closely linked to my legal identity (eg. for job-hunting).
Here is a partial list of websites and online communities where I’m known as Skud, with links to my user profile where publicly available:
General-purpose social networks
- Infotropism (this site, 1999-present)
- Advogato.org (2000-2001)
- use.perl.org (???-2007)
- The Freebase Blog (2008-2011)
- Geek Feminism (2009-present)
Tech-related sites and forums
- Advogato.org (since 2000, certified at “Master” level)
- Freenode (registered nickname since 2004; previously on EFNet since 1993)
- Ohloh (since 2007)
- Github (since 2009)
- StackOverflow (since 2011)
Wiki and open data projects
- Wikipedia (since 2005)
- Freebase (since 2007)
- OpenStreetMap (since 2007)
- Wikia (since 2008)
- MusicBrainz (since 2011)
- delicious (since 2004)
- LibraryThing (since 2006?)
- Bookmooch (since 2007)
- Ravelry (since 2007)
- OKCupid (since 2008)
- Etsy (since 2008)
- blip.tv (since 2009)
- SonicLiving (since 2010)
In general, my employers use “Kirrily Robert” on official paperwork, but my colleagues call me “Skud” face to face.
Geoff Halprin was the Chief Information Officer and my direct manager at e-smith, inc, ca. 2002. He writes:
This made me stop and think… for several seconds… before I remembered your “real” name. I think I only know it from working with you (i.e. officialdom). I have always called you and referred to you (when speaking with others) as Skud. You have always been Skud. If I used your real name with someone, they would stare blankly at me, and ask “who?”.
Many of my employers have allowed me the username skud@domain even where that username does not fit with their common naming scheme, or have permitted me to change my username to skud@domain to avoid misdirected mail. Two notable examples are Monash University (I was firstname.lastname@example.org, a rare style of address at the time) and Google (where my username was changed two weeks into my employment, under a policy which doesn’t permit frivolous username changes, after I was initially (erroneously) told that my email address needed to be based on my legal name.)
I’ve even been called “Skud” in job interviews, by the interviewers. This usually happens when the interviewers know me by reputation, from my prior work or my involvement in the technical community. For instance, this happened during my interviews at e-smith (2000), Optus (2004), and Google (2010).
I’ve included this section specifically because I was suspended from Google+. It’s especially ironic because many people at Google — in fact, most of the people I knew there — knew me as Skud.
I was a Google employee from July 2010 to July 2011. I was email@example.com and used the name “Skud .” on internal Buzz and Emerald Sea (i.e. Google+ prior to launch).
Googler (now-xoogler) Noirin Plunkett created an “I Know Skud” badge which appears on people’s pages on Google’s internal directory. This was created in late July or early August 2010, if I recall correctly, based on earlier real-world “I Know Skud” buttons (see below). If you’re inside Google’s network and you want to find someone who has the badge on their page, try my colleagues from Metaweb (such as Reilly Hayes), developer relations people (eg. Wesley Chun), or open source folks (eg. Carol Smith).
When I left Google, my posts to Buzz and ES were archived at http://go/skud (internal Google link). One of the more interesting Buzz posts, if you scroll way back to August 2010, is the one where dozens of SREs and others express their pleasure that “Skud works here now!” and surprise that I initially had the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. With their help (and insistence, in the face of policy that didn’t want me to change it at first), I got it changed to email@example.com.
After leaving Google, I returned a week or so later for lunch with my colleagues. Here is the badge that Google’s reception desk issued to me on the occasion:
Where possible and appropriate, I register for conferences so that the name “Skud” appears on my attendee badge. If I do not have “Skud” on my official badge, I usually write it on, to assist people in recognising me, since few know me as “Kirrily Robert”.
There are many examples of conference attendees, organisers, and co-presenters knowing and referring to me as Skud. For example…
Christopher Davis was my co-panelist at WisCon in 2010, where we both spoke about the open source project Dreamwidth:
When I met you at last year’s WisCon (we were both on the Dreamwidth panel), you were introduced to me as Skud (and in the pre-convention email conversation, you were also referred to as Skud by other panelists).
In fact, the WisCon 34 program lists you as “Skud” — I just checked.
Marianne Kirby, a WisCon attendee who blogs at The Rotund, writes:
I met you at Wiscon – you have always been Skud. When I reference you to other people, you are Skud, and they always know who I mean. I’d have no idea who you were under any other name.
Here’s a video of Nat Torkington introducing me, on-stage, as “Skud” at the Ignite session at O’Reilly’s Open Source Convention in 2009. The relevant introduction is about 8 minutes into this video:
So our next speaker is a wonderful person despite coming from Australia, and she’s overcome this enormous obstacle in her life to, err — no, she hasn’t overcome the obstacle at all, it remains with her till this day, as you’ll tell from her accent — to do interesting work with Perl, to head off to Vanuatu just because she could and get those geeks set up and running, she’s done all sorts of interesting things in her life, which once again we didn’t ask her to talk about. So instead, here to talk about textiles, is the lovely Skud.
Sometimes I present at conferences under “Kirrily Robert” (especially when the circumstances are more formal, or I’m not speaking for myself), but it tends to cause confusion. For instance, in this video, Jesse Robbins (who had known me as Skud for some time) attempts to introduce me by my legal name, and doesn’t know how to pronounce it correctly. Oops.
I only know your real name because people who don’t know you refer to you by it when discussing your OSCON keynote. I don’t think I’ve seen/heard anyone who actually knows you call you by your real name in conversation.
For this reason, when presenting as “Kirrily Robert” (and representing myself, not my employer) I generally try to include my email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Twitter handle (@Skud) on the first and/or last slide.
“I know Skud”
Open source/hackspace/security expert Leigh Honeywell met so many people at tech conferences who knew me as Skud that she had buttons made:
Googler Noirin Shirley made a similar “I Know Skud” button for display on people’s profiles on Google’s own intranet. If you happen to be a Googler, you can find it on her page (and many other people’s).
In light of the whole Amina thing, I’m thinking about online identity and how we establish it.
It occurs to me that establishing that I am not a sockpuppet to the satisfaction of a large number of Dreamwidth people would be trivially easy: I know Skud. Sorted.
In other words, I am so well known as “Skud” that I can be used to establish other people’s identity.
More testimonies from friends and associates
Herb Lainchbury writes:
I know you as Skud from various online discussions and from when I met you at OSCON and we had a discussion about open data standards before Google acquired Metaweb. Hmm…I don’t even remember your legal name, but I suppose I could look it up, somewhere.. maybe I could Google it. Oh, yeah, I remember now.
Liz Henry writes:
We met online, where you were introduced to me by my co-worker as Skud who was interesting and had done lots of stuff in the Perl community. I guess I’ve known you in real life for 5 years or so? Then we worked together to do geekfeminist blog and wiki stuff. I still call you Skud and I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone call you your regular old name. Everyone at WisCon knows you as Skud and would likely not know who I meant if I called you by your legal first name.
Danny O’Brien writes:
When we first met at Liz’s, you were introduced as Skud. I don’t think I’ve regularly interacted with anyone who calls you by any other name.
Jon Gilbert writes:
I don’t think I learned your real name until 6 months after I met you. I don’t know how to pronounce your “real” first name without screwing it up. I have a button with “I know Skud” on it, not the other thing.
Molly Aplet writes:
I was first introduced to you under your legal name; this made for a lot of awkward conversations when I would later say to various people “oh, I was hanging out with this really cool person named [other name]” and have them nod and smile politely. Until I said “She’s also known as… Skud?” And then they would light up and be delighted, because as it turns out, they all knew you. And they all knew you as Skud.
Marna Nightingale, who’s known me since 2003, writes:
In the improbable event that she ever marries I expect to need to hold up a cue card for her spouse-to-be so that they don’t say “take thee, Skud…” by accident.
Rachel Chalmers writes:
I met you IRL in the 1990s. My children have been raised knowing you only as Skud.
(And is there anything more adorable than being tackle-hugged by kids squealing “Skud!” excitedly as you walk in their front door? I think not.)
Many of the above testimonials were gathered in this Google+ discussion (or could, until Google blocked my account for pseudonymity on July 22, 2011), where you can find additional examples. If you know me as “Skud” and would like to leave a comment below, please feel free.