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I'm an undergraduate physics student in EU.

I created a politics related android app that is to be released soon. Nothing fancy; I was just practicing a bit with GUIs and various programming tools.

Part of this app discusses modern world war propaganda (e.g. pretexts used to start a war), along with other similar topics. It also makes fun of various political beliefs and ideologies, including pro-vote propaganda.

Needless to say, its content would displease some people.

Initially I was thinking of being open about it (e.g. include it in my CV), but now I'm having second thoughts on how it could affect me in the future. Be it being granted a visa or being accepted in a research program.

I read a similar post but it wasn't helpful since many things differ in my case:

  • I don't "exist" on the internet. I don't use social media and the few search results about my real name are related to physics. The only way to establish a link between my app and my identity is through my CV, and then the person searching would have to use the app to learn my political views.
  • I am not left or right nor anywhere in between, I consider elections (in their current state) an inefficient, resource-wasting game. Therefor, I don't know people's stance towards my beliefs. Also, considering elections a game (as defined above) is open to misinterpretation (which has happened before with my professor; he initially assumed I'm far-far-right).
  • The app strongly criticizes various policies without naming the governments or countries involved.

What should I do:

There are possible benefits from displaying some of my programming knowledge along with some risks, and I can't decide whether I should:

  1. use a pseudonym in the app (copyrights holder, author etc) and never disclose my affiliation with the project.
  2. use a pseudonym, and include the app in my programming portfolio. (is it worth the risk?)
  3. or another option.
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    Have you considered the consequences that might result if you attempt to hide your involvement in writing this app and then your authorship is later exposed? Your political enemies have plenty of reason to try to expose the author and they very well could succeed at some point. – Brian Borchers Jun 22 '16 at 15:53
  • @BrianBorchers What could the consequences be? – anon Jun 22 '16 at 15:58
  • @BrianBorchers I mean.. i wouldn't pretend in my private discussions to be having different political views than the real ones. Worse case, I might avoid revealing them, but i wouldn't lie about it. – anon Jun 22 '16 at 15:59
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    You've already listed some potential consequences in your question- I'm just pointing out that you probably shouldn't assume that any attempt to remain anonymous will be successful in the long run. – Brian Borchers Jun 22 '16 at 15:59
  • Are you in the field of computer programming, or was this just a 'fun' side project, and your field is entirely different from computer programming? – J. Roibal - BlockchainEng Jun 22 '16 at 16:09
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I don't think having created an app that was, it seems, more a proof of concept will impact your acceptance or failure to be accepted much. For completeness and honesty, one might think it does belong on a CV though. However, the way you describe your app I would add a clarifying brief description, such as "Parody of political process." You wouldn't want more people getting the wrong impression your professor originally had, without being in the room and able to explain yourself.

It seems that you are middle-of-the-road politically, bemused and maybe annoyed by orthodoxies left and right of you. Keep in mind that your app, if this is expressed in it, will probably make both the left and right uncomfortable and head-shakingly displeased: for card-carrying members of the (far?) left and right, anyone not with them, is against them. So be careful.

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    In my school days, I permitted myself a sarcastic commentary about a political issue. It was ostentatively satirical and not strictly serious, and neither insulting or demeaning to any disadvantaged group and it did not touch religion; despite that, its sarcasm obviously hurt my co-students deeply who I never before realised harbouring such idealism in real life, where they took things quite in stride. I understood and resolved then and there to stay out of politics for good; unless I were to change it into a full-time commitment. Once in politics, it never leaves you. Let it go. – Captain Emacs Jun 22 '16 at 17:55
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    @Captain: I enjoyed you sharing this. :) Idealism is a scary, scary thing...close to any terrible event tends to be linked to it. – gnometorule Jun 22 '16 at 18:37
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    Thanks for letting me know that you enjoyed it. I do not believe that it is idealism per se that is to blame: rather I distinguish 3 forms of pseudo-idealism: 1. fake idealism (that is stringent with others, but takes quite a break whenever its consequences actually touch one's own favourite misdemeanours), 2. declared idealism (a tool that permits one to judge one's fellow beings, but is otherwise inconsequential, related to 1.) or 3. blind idealism that never runs a reality check whether what it pursues actually has indeed the proclaimed desired effect in the real world. – Captain Emacs Jun 22 '16 at 22:34
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I would advise you not to put this on your CV, and to separate your identity as the app creator from your real name through a pseudonym or "app developer business name". You certainly have no ethical or professional obligation to disclose what is essentially a hobby, nor any special reason to do so in my opinion, especially considering the risk that the political views you express in the app will be misunderstood and/or offend people. And if anyone ever finds out about your connection to the app, they may still be offended by the political content, but it stretches credulity to think that they might accuse you of hiding some dark secret for not writing in your CV an activity that doesn't belong there. So there is absolutely no benefit to being upfront about this as far as I can tell.

As for using the app as a way to show people that you have experience programming in Python, why not just write in your CV that you have experience programming in Python? And if it's really important to have more to show people, you might consider developing another app that is more innocuous and politically neutral that you can then use to advertise your skills.

Finally, as background to my answer I should mention that I myself developed and sold for a while some iPhone and iPad apps, which were not controversial at all (they were productivity apps), but I still chose not to mention them in my CV since they were unrelated to my normal work. Many of my friends and colleagues at the time knew about them, so it wasn't exactly a secret, but it would have been a distraction to advertise this to the entire world.

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