When we, in Jamaica, first entered Cyberspace, the number of computer literate people would fit in a small minivan.
We knew each other, but used Nick Names online. Maybe it was a hacker mentality, maybe it was just fun; but from Airdog to Forge to Sadam Sysop, we used Nicks. When we met, we called each other by the Nicks.
Women who joined BBS would get a lot of lyricsing… (a polite way of saying being hit on) so using the name Worf seemed smarter than Deanna. Most women used male or non-gender nicks.
There was a hacking on a BBS (Bulletin Board Server) in which a kid figured out the passwords of others. In those days, people went for the easy ones; 1234, or ABCD, or Bank used by Banker or whatever.
This taught us to go for the unintuitive; So Banker changed his password from Bank to B@n@n@.
When we entered the great Internet, we came with the ‘baggage’ of using Nicks, disguising our sex, nationality, age, etc. to protect ourselves from those who lurked.