The pseudonym rule for ShuffleComp was totally not my idea; Dan Fabulich came up with it, and it was refined by intfiction.org discussion. But it’s become one of the rules that I’m enjoying the most.
It solves the problem that it was meant to deal with – well-known authors getting more attention – at the minimal required level, which is fine. I don’t know how effective it is at actually concealing identity – there are a number of authors whose style is, ah, hard to miss – but that doesn’t really matter for purposes here, and it’s still fun to have a masked ball even if the domino masks don’t fool anyone.
But the main thing I think is cool about it is just that character names are super-interesting – they’re compact, evocative little writing exercises in their own right, a two-word story premise. I love coming up character names for RPGs, but in that context you generally have the character concept first and come up with a name to fit; concocting pseudonyms for an unknown stranger is more of an exercise in pure evocation. Or invocation: it’s a little like calling on the names of demons in the hopes that one will respond.
Anyway. Should you be interested, the full list of submitted pseudonyms – minus those names that authors have claimed or used – is available in this Google Drive document.