Name and Identification

Personal Name and Gender

For reasons of personal preference as well as to avoid a particularly problematic misspelling, my name is spelled in lowercase: brian m. carlson.

  • The entire name should be spelled in lowercase unless your computer system is incapable of producing lowercase letters (e.g. on a passport). Mixed case is not allowed, except where in legacy instances where it cannot be changed (e.g. user IDs on an OpenPGP key).
  • The Chicago Manual of Style, as well as some other style guides, discourage the use of a lowercase name as the first word of a sentence. If you choose to do so anyway, the name should not be capitalized.
  • In informal contexts, brian is fine. Where there are multiple people with the same name, brian carlson is fine in speech.
  • In formal contexts, consistent with guidelines set out by the AP and the Chicago Manual of Style, it should be brian m. carlson on first appearance and carlson thereafter.
  • Using courtesy titles is to be avoided, but if you, like the New York Times, insist on doing so, either mr. carlson or Mr. carlson is fine. mx. or Mx. is fine if you prefer that.
  • I use male or gender-neutral pronouns, so he or they is appropriate, depending on your preference.


My general preference on usernames is bmc for cases where I have terminal access and bk2204 where I do not. The latter is fine if the former is taken, and brianc is preferable over brian.carlson.