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Why anon?
July 10, 2008 8:55 PM   Subscribe

This anonymous question about swimming has picked my curiosity. The guidelines say that questions that 'don't appear to require anonymity' may not be approved. Is swimming a reason to be ashamed in some part of the world?
posted by Memo to MetaFilter-Related at 8:55 PM (45 comments total)

My guess is that it was someone starting an exercise program and interested in weight loss and maybe didn't want the whole world to know? You know we don't know why these questions are anon, right?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:58 PM on July 10, 2008


Maybe he or she is overweight and does not want to share that information.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:00 PM on July 10, 2008


The answer you're looking for isn't the one you're going to get, because the answer you're going to get is what jessamyn said plus an honestly good-natured (from me, anyway) "you don't need to know the asker's motivations, because it's none of your business, the mods approved it, and so the question stands."
posted by middleclasstool at 9:03 PM on July 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's just that it seemed strange to see approved an everyday question like that and I was curious about the criteria used behind the decision.

Now that I've posted this question I can sleep in peace, even if I'll never get an answer.
posted by Memo at 9:07 PM on July 10, 2008


It's just that it seemed strange to see approved an everyday question like that and I was curious about the criteria used behind the decision.

I'll grant you, it's unusual, but I imagine self-esteem issues are involved there. I can't speak for the mods here, but I handle anonymous question-asking on another site, and my personal criterion there is that if there's no possible stinky motivation for asking something anonymously (and I don't see anything smelly here), then it hurts no one to let the user have his or her anonymous question, even if it seems a bit odd.

Now that I've posted this question I can sleep in peace, even if I'll never get an answer.

If it helps, in "Murder on the Orient Express," EVERYBODY did it.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:15 PM on July 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's piqued my curiosity that you say "picked."
Perhaps we could discuss it over a lite soda or a donut with your click of friends. I'll pick up the check.
posted by chococat at 9:24 PM on July 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


chococat: "It's piqued my curiosity that you say "picked.""

So that's why it looked weird. Thanks.
posted by Memo at 9:26 PM on July 10, 2008


Speaking of picking, why in hell didn't the booger eater post anonymously?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:27 PM on July 10, 2008 [7 favorites]


I'll pick up the check.
In USian, that's how it spelled. Crazy Americans.
posted by Airhen at 9:30 PM on July 10, 2008


"Donut" is a word, though. Donuts are what you get at Dunkin' Donuts. Complaining about "check" is naked anti-Americanism.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:31 PM on July 10, 2008


I've not wanted people to know about my workout efforts before; in case I didn't stick with it, I didn't want people to know I failed.
posted by jayder at 9:32 PM on July 10, 2008


Complaining about "check" is naked anti-Americanism.

Get any closer with your devil-words, and I'll shank you with my Robertson screwdriver.
posted by Dark Messiah at 9:34 PM on July 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Thanks to the the Second Amendment, I have an arsenal of assault weapons loaded with "Black Talon" armor- (and presumably screwdriver) piercing rounds. I think they're thermobaric too, and probably have depleted uranium tips filled with anthrax.

Yee haw!
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:40 PM on July 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


You know we don't know why these questions are anon, right?

I'd be interested to know what's your threshold for approving anon posts. If you don't know why a post should anonymous, how do you know to approve it?
posted by puke & cry at 9:59 PM on July 10, 2008


I'll pick up the check.

I'd rather you cover the tab.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:40 PM on July 10, 2008


I would be so embarrassed if people thought that I don't know everything, so I ask all my questions anonymously.

I sure as hell want my name on my answers to other people's questions though.
posted by aubilenon at 12:32 AM on July 11, 2008


For those whose interest was piqued.
posted by IndigoRain at 1:04 AM on July 11, 2008


My guess is that it was someone starting an exercise program

perhaps, but they are also running, biking, and weight-lifting on other days. That doesn't really sound like someone starting an exercise program.
posted by caddis at 3:21 AM on July 11, 2008


I know that sometimes, when I've shared that I am trying to lose weight, I will get an extremely judgmental reaction from people who think that this means I buy in to our toxic culture, and I don't appreciate being made to feel shallow and narcissistic. Furthermore, admitting that you're overweight, even slightly, even only in your own opinion, can lead to judgments of a different kind. For these reasons, I am more likely to post a weight loss question anonymously than not.

Hope that helps.
posted by prefpara at 3:27 AM on July 11, 2008


The swimming post was anon but the booger eating post wasn't. Go figure.
posted by klarck at 5:24 AM on July 11, 2008


There was also the weird one about which Visa card is best? I guess some people are super paranoid about financial stuff.

It's strange though, the mentality that "I can't ask this question in public, but I want people to answer in public and reveal the same information I wouldn't give."
posted by smackfu at 5:35 AM on July 11, 2008


Maybe anon is someone who is friends with lots of people on MeFi and doesn't want to talk about it wth them or is embarrassed that s/he don't know this?
Dude, did you know mathowie can't swim? or whatever.
I once asked an anon question because not only was the topic a bit embarassing but even more so that I was embarrassed that, as a librarian, I had failed to find the answer myself.
posted by pointystick at 6:03 AM on July 11, 2008


Maybe anon is friends with a lot of MeFis and is always bragging about how much swimming he/she does, may soon have to prove it, and so must ramp up.
posted by thinkpiece at 6:07 AM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Speaking of picking, why in hell didn't the booger eater post anonymously?

Yeah, I found that one a jaw-dropper. I kept imagining future scenarios in which the poster was arguing about, say, macroeconomics, or the military significance of American presence in Djibouti, and someone finessed him with a "Yeah, well, you eat your own boogers!"

And I also came very near vomiting at the mere idea of anyone doing that. No exaggeration.
posted by orange swan at 6:10 AM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was fine in that thread until somebody said "All depends whether you prefer smooth or crunchy." And they weren't talking about peanut butter.

Blech.
posted by Grither at 6:18 AM on July 11, 2008


Ok, Memo. Just to save you from further embarrassment: "Swimming" is a code word for dog-rogering. The sicko wants to have sex with dogs to lose weight!

I'm not even going to TRY and explain what booger eating is a euphemism for.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:20 AM on July 11, 2008


Grither: everything should come in chunky and creamy varieties!
posted by aubilenon at 6:35 AM on July 11, 2008


I'll pick up the check.

I'd rather you cover the tab.


Pay the bill, even.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:06 AM on July 11, 2008


and probably have depleted uranium tips filled with anthrax.

Mine are all made out of pure anger with a cesium core.
posted by quin at 7:25 AM on July 11, 2008


Something that (some) people here often forget is offline anonymity. To some here, their username is pretty much like posting anonymously. I've ever heard people here get confused as to why anyone might need to post anonymously when they already use a fake name on Metafilter.

In my case (and I'm not alone), grumblebee is a nickname. I've never concealed it from my offline friends. And some of my friends and coworkers are MeFites. So ANYTHING I post here will get traced back to me.

It's possible that anon doesn't want friends and family to know what he/she is up to. Exercise can be a fraught subject.
posted by grumblebee at 7:29 AM on July 11, 2008


Yeah, I couldn't read the booger thread, though I kind of admire the guy for his utter shamelessness. He was all like, "I eat my boogers - DEAL with it, haters".
posted by Evangeline at 7:36 AM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'd be interested to know what's your threshold for approving anon posts. If you don't know why a post should anonymous, how do you know to approve it?

I do it less than Jess, and I think her instincts a good bit more finely tuned on that front than mine are, but the basic thing I've taken to is the notion that if it seems like a decent question and it doesn't seem like an utterly bizarre abuse of anonymity, it'll probably get approved.

In the past, we've sat on a why-is-this-anonymous question on occasion. Sometimes we'll hear from the asker following up on it not being posted, and they'll often actually volunteer their reasoning for going anony, which helps and will usually nudge us into posting if that's all the hold up was. Other times, we'll see the same question appear unchanged under their actual byline a few days later.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:36 AM on July 11, 2008


In the past we also suspected sometimes people were using the anonyme feature to get around the seven day posting limit and would be a little suspicious if there was a question that seemed like a regular old question in the anon queue. I think we've solved that problem somehow -- we have a few more sock-and-whatnot detectors going now than a year ago -- and so we're more accepting that if people are asking anonymously, they probably have some reason even if it doesn't make immediate sense to us.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:41 AM on July 11, 2008


If I didn't think it wouldn't work out in practicallity, I'd wish for all answers in an anonymous thread to be anonymous too....if the question is embarrassing to ask, surely some of the best answers would be too?

Some answers, like say how to properly dispose of a body, seem a bit dangerous to have associated with your name.
posted by nomisxid at 8:47 AM on July 11, 2008


I really wish the booger eating thread would die and be decently buried. I had to scroll quickly past it all day, averting my eyes - I mean, eeeeeeeee - and now here it is again.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:59 AM on July 11, 2008


I studiously ignored the booger thread, and you all just made me gag. Even worse, I had a root canal an hour ago and I already feel like I'm going to swallow my tongue.
posted by Pax at 9:18 AM on July 11, 2008


Also, even if no one would actually connect an anon poster to a real-life identity, there is a tendency to look back at posters' old questions and say "Well, I see you did XYZ before and that was really stupid, so..." Not saying that's wrong of answerers, but I can see people not wanting to be linked to a certain question, even if they are effectively Jane Doe to all of us anyway.
posted by Pax at 9:22 AM on July 11, 2008


You know, I try really hard not to be judgmental of others. I mean, sure, it doesn't work sometimes, but in general I really do work towards accepting people for who they are and not judging what they do or say.

Today, though, I failed.

Booger eating demands judgment. And so, I judge: OHMYGODPLEASEKILLMENOWNOWNOW.
posted by tristeza at 10:39 AM on July 11, 2008


Because a mod decided it qualified for some reason. If they told us why, it could undermine the whole anonymity thing. Are you personally harmed by a question being posted anon, seemingly (to you) for no reason?
posted by gauchodaspampas at 1:12 PM on July 11, 2008


Get any closer with your devil-words, and I'll shank you with my Robertson screwdriver.

Don't you mean shanque?
posted by adamdschneider at 4:12 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Goddammit, people, it's SWIMMING! SWIMMING! OF COURSE the poster wants it to be anonymous! Any fool should be able to see that!
posted by briank at 7:00 PM on July 11, 2008


MetaFilter: did you know mathowie couldn't swim?
posted by scrump at 7:52 PM on July 11, 2008


Complaining about "check" is naked anti-Americanism.

The funny thing is, they're the only ones who actually use the things anymore. Let's just let the cavemen spell their antique financial instruments incorrectly, I think it's kind of cute. Like Og saying "me thro big roks". Yes, Og, good, thro thoz roks!
posted by Meatbomb at 3:53 AM on July 12, 2008


I once had an anonymous question rejected, even though I thought it was obvious why it should be anon. So I re-wrote it so that any sensitive info was stripped out and simply posted it under my name. It was an early question, or I probably would have emailed and asked why it wasn't approved. But it seemed a little more sensitive than swimming -- to me, maybe not to everyone.
posted by acoutu at 3:06 PM on July 13, 2008


For more on cheque vs. check, let's all check I'm so, so sorry Wikipedia, shall we?

1
2
3
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5
6

(I don't believe there will ever come a time when I'll see gaol and think, Yep, that's a word alright!)

(Nor will I succumb to the alright-splitters. But that's a whole nother ball of worms.)
posted by Sys Rq at 5:25 PM on July 13, 2008


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