I was around a few years ago when we had the big push to switch from aliases to real names. And you know what? It felt really good. To me it felt as if a curtain had been opened or an opaque screen turned into a window. I thought, 'these are real people, professionals, not trying to hide from anyone.'
I think it helped to nurture a sense of community and a sense of trust. And I believe those are good things, just in case anyone was wondering.
Now it feels to me as if the fog has returned, the curtain has been drawn again, or whatever metaphor you prefer. All these aliases! It just feels different, less like an open community.
So to all the new folks who aren't using your real names: please do. It's easy to change. You won't lose your profile or history. Just click that Help Desk link in the top menubar and open a ticket.
And to anyone browsing the forum as a guest, it's common sense and common courtesy to find out something about the culture of an online community before you join. The culture here encourages the use of real names. Please be guided accordingly.
Best wishes to all and thanks for your support.