Posting in character- does the board have a policy?

This thread made me wonder what the board policy is on people posting “in character” that is, as either fictitious people (like the Hamburglar) or as someone else you are obviously not (ie, someone registering as “Christina Aguilera” and posting as a blatant parody of her, not trying to convince others that Christina has actually joined the SDMB).

On another (much less moderated and coherent) board I post on, this sort of thing is allowed. I wonder what the SDMB’s policy is, though. Obviously, none of us think this new poster is really the Hamburglar, and since he/she hasn’t posted again, it’s too soon to tell if he/she will continue to post only in character. But what if someone did? What if someone registered as a character, obviously fictitious, and only posted as that character? IMHO, it doesn’t seem to cross the jerk line, only the annoying line if kept up too consistently and too frequently. But is there something jerkish in the constant lying/misrepresentation?

So, what say the powers that be? Would such a poster be allowed to continue posting?
Please note that I don’t intend this as an attempt to condemn/disprove of The Hamburglar, it’s just that thread that made me think about this question.

Obviously an admin is going to have to give you the final answer. I just wanted to comment a little.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with posting under a fictional identity. People pick all sorts of monickers. I can’t see a problem using a celebrity’s name, if it’s identified they aren’t the real Christina. This is a potential point of confusion, so the admins may feel this deserves a case-by-case decision - is the poster trying to come off like they are the celebrity, or just admiring/mocking the celebrity. They might perhaps suggest a modified name in that case.

I can’t imagine someone keeping up the “posting in character” for any length of time. How long would you keep up a lame joke? It may be funny once, perhaps through a whole thread, but do you really think that character has anything relevant to say on any other topic? Okay, maybe The Hamburgler will only find fast food related threads or comments to post after. Right. My guess is this person stumbled on The Pit, and thought it would be funny, but may not intend to hang around long.

Is it being a jerk only to post in character? I think that depends. How do you post some sympathetic comment in a MPSIMS thread in character as The Hamburglar? How do you contribute a meaningful response in Comments on Cecil’s Columns as The Hamburglar? Seems practically impossible (with very few special case exceptions). Barging in on a thread “My wife just died of cancer” and interjecting “Robble Robble” would probably not be considered appropriate behavior.

The other thing to consider is does this person have another board identity. Remember that only one username per person is allowed, and multiples can get you banned. On other boards, someone could register an identity for the joke content, and then post under another name for the rest of their stuff. On unregistered boards, a person can change identities at will. But those things don’t fly here.

Okay, I’ve ruminated on the topic. I’ll let the admins ponder and give the official reply.

No body believes this is really our ex-president either.

OK, to continue the question: What about someone who has the username of a fictional character, and posts "in character’’ whenever the thread is on the appropriate topic (this happens a lot in the Cafe), but on other threads, posts “normally”? I don’t really have a problem with this, but it can be a tad disorienting.

Chronos, are you commenting in character as one of the Titans of Greek mythology?


Why yes, I am an Old Testament mountain, can’t you tell? (My AGILITY is 0, but my ARMOR CLASS is -157.)

Well, ISTR Silent Bob was able to stay “in character” and still manage to get his point across.

I haven’t discussed this with the other mods and admins, but I think common sense prevails. It sort of depends on what the person is doing or trying to do.

Someone with a screen name of, say, Groucho Marx, whose posts were full of puns and jokes, would certainly be acceptable. We have a number of people using fictional screen names, who tend to play “in character” and it doesn’t seem to cross the jerk-threshold.

The thing is, we only allow one screen name per user. So, if you wanted to pretend to be Bill Clinton this week, and George Bush next week, you’d be in violation of our rules to the extent of banishment.

And most of those games get boring after a while. Like, someone under the screen name “Porky Pig” who t-t-typed with a st-st-st-stutter would probably be amusing for about three or four posts, and then the joke would be pretty stale.

In a different but related vein, we have had posters who’ve pretended to be something they’re not – porn stars, or clerk in an adults-only bookstore, come to mind. The game usually doesn’t last very long, and once they’ve been exposed (heh), they tend to leave in a huff (or perhaps a minute and a huff)… And are not lamented.

“minute and huff”

You crack me up.