Wow, I can be sexual too May 29, 2007 9:54 PM   Subscribe

Threads like this make me wonder why we can't answer anonymous questions anonymously? (aside from the obvious potential for trolling)
posted by chlorus to Etiquette/Policy at 9:54 PM (36 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

What, the obvious potential for trolling isn't enough of a reason?

The poster should be able to realize that not setting up an email for anonymous replies greatly limits the responses they will recieve.
posted by yohko at 10:17 PM on May 29, 2007


Go ahead and answer, chlorus, we won't judge you for your vast knowledge of BDSM clubs in NYC.
posted by The Deej at 10:24 PM on May 29, 2007 [5 favorites]


The poster should be able to realize that not setting up an email for anonymous replies greatly limits the responses they will recieve. [sic]

This question in particular is a weird case, though. It's not necessarily a question that applies to one and only one person. Hopefully, in future other people curious about BSDM clubs in NYC will be able to access the thread and find useful answers. If all of the answers are emailed to the anonymous poster, there is no benefit to posterity.
posted by carsonb at 10:37 PM on May 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


Twice? In one day?

You're all sex mad. How dreadfully titillating.

No, I'm not sitting here naked and flogging myself. Why do you ask?

I only do that on Wednesdays. Monday is bagel night.

posted by loquacious at 10:43 PM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


So in about 90 minutes we can count on a loq-flog?

Hot.
posted by carsonb at 10:48 PM on May 29, 2007


True, carsonb. I'd offer to post anon answers, except that I don't have my email in my profile and don't care to. This presents a logistical problem.

Oh, I always forget the "except after C" bit. Oops.
posted by yohko at 10:49 PM on May 29, 2007


What's Tuesday? Or do you move Monday to Tuesday if Monday is a holiday?
posted by The Deej at 10:49 PM on May 29, 2007


Err, it is actually Tuesday, isn't it? That's embarrassing.

*removes bagels, dons nun habit*

Much better.
posted by loquacious at 11:00 PM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


If you want to answer anonymously, chlorus, why don't you send your answers to one of the moderators? I'm sure they would love that.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:01 PM on May 29, 2007


If you want to answer anonymously, chlorus, why don't you send your answers to one of the moderators?

Joking aside, that's actually a perfectly acceptable route. It happens now and then.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:15 PM on May 29, 2007


Also, a proper anony-response system might be in the works; I remember it coming up in conversation recently. The trolling issue is a potential annoyance, but the flagging system would continue to work, as would the banhammer-abusive-users'-asses-to-Toledo system.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:16 PM on May 29, 2007


Monday is bagel night.
You flog bagels on Monday nights?

Surely any anonymous response mechanism would be tied to a user in the database? As long as people know that, the potential for abuse is fairly low, I would think. Especially when you consider that, when someone pipes up in MeTa saying "has anyone seen X lately?", the response may be "yeah, I had to ban him for his anonymous comments in [linked thread about furry hangouts]". It sure would keep me in line.
posted by dg at 11:32 PM on May 29, 2007


Hopefully, in future other people curious about BSDM clubs in NYC will be able to access the thread and find useful answers.

Hah, you seem to mistakenly think that people actually look for previous threads before posting their question.
posted by cmonkey at 11:35 PM on May 29, 2007


I smirk at your wry sarcasm, and respond seriously: It doesn't really matter whether people look or not; what matters is that AskMe is there to be found.
posted by carsonb at 11:40 PM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


I wasn't being sarcastic. People don't seem to know how to use search engines these days, judging by a lot of AskMetaFilter questions.
posted by cmonkey at 11:56 PM on May 29, 2007


Err, it is actually Tuesday, isn't it?

Looks like a Wednesday to me. Has done all day. I'm actually making lunch and getting clothes ready for Thursday by now.
posted by shelleycat at 11:57 PM on May 29, 2007


Hasn't this been discussed before? [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

Anyway, there's probably more. So if it's in the works, I say hell yeah (since it also allows the original anon poster to add more information).
posted by spiderskull at 12:03 AM on May 30, 2007


As a pony, why not allow each member two usernames: one, the official, public one, and the second, an anonymous one for answering questions like this?

If the anonymous one is used for trolling, then mattamyntex can easily look up the troll & ban both their usernames.

The pony-with-bells would be an anonymous account that is assigned dynamically, either per session, or per post. That way, it would be harder for the general user to link the anonymous username to the regular one (cotemporality of posting). A per-session one would probably be better, in case the user posts multiple comments in one thread.

Anonymous usernames could be system-generated upon posting (using the "Post Anonymously") button, and follow a format that clearly shows their anonymous nature, eg anon12345678.

Obviously, some kinds of guidelines should be established for appropriate use of this feature.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:21 AM on May 30, 2007


So cortex considers Toledo a place of banishment. Hmm.

Hippie.
posted by cgc373 at 4:51 AM on May 30, 2007


One solution:

You have a checkbox that allows you to post semi-anonymously. It's still tied to your MeFi account in some way that only the admins can see. If you abuse the privilege to post anon, you lose the privilege.
posted by smackfu at 5:21 AM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Can somebody explain the title of this thread to me?
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 6:14 AM on May 30, 2007


Probably that he could be sexual if he was allowed to cover his head with a paper bag.
posted by bru at 6:36 AM on May 30, 2007


Joking aside, that's actually a perfectly acceptable route. It happens now and then.

Actually it happens a lot and is a totally reasonable way to go about this. Other ways are chipping in $5 for a new account that you just use for stuff like this, emailing a friend and having them answer, or the OP including a toss-away email address. Generally my feeling is that 1) this is a non-problem with many ways to address the issue 2) I have no idea why the BDSM question got people all weird like this. Some people clearly had no problem commenting in that thread with their real usernames. If you're shy or would prefer to not associate your MeFi username with BDSM or whatever the particular issue is, there are many workarounds.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:48 AM on May 30, 2007


and hosted from Uranus: title from a song by Say Anything. It's not a very good song, but it came to mind.
posted by chlorus at 7:20 AM on May 30, 2007


Some people clearly had no problem commenting in that thread with their real usernames.

Well, the people who didn't feel comfortable aren't exactly raising their hands to be counted.
posted by smackfu at 8:01 AM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


A: No, you shouldn't get your dog high and bring him to BSDM clubs.
posted by deern the headlice at 8:51 AM on May 30, 2007


I like the idea of anonymous comments, but it would only be implemented on the AskMe side, right?
posted by quin at 10:27 AM on May 30, 2007


I'm coming to this conversation late but how about a switch that can be set by the questioner to anonymise all replies? Except with the following provisos:

- a request is made not to troll (this is how much of MeFi works, I think -- simple trust)

- a request is made not to abuse the functionality

- a warning is given to readers that the replies are anonymous and should perhaps be taken with a pinch of salt

- a warning is given that although replies are anonymous, admins can find out who made them, although confidentiality is guaranteed (within obvious rules). That should stop any of the more blatant trolling.
posted by humblepigeon at 10:32 AM on May 30, 2007


I'm coming to this conversation late but how about a switch that can be set by the questioner to anonymise all replies?

I don't much like that idea: there's no reason that responders should be compelled to be anonymous, and I see a lot of value in being able to recognize a user as being knowledgable on a taboo or touchy subject if they're willing to post in the clear.

The meat of your provisos is good, though; certainly, if anything like this does ever happen, instances of trolling and abuse will come back to the user responsible.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:37 AM on May 30, 2007


as would the banhammer-abusive-users'-asses-to-Toledo system.

You know what I think? I think that in this particular instance, some "users" might well be hoping for you to give their "asses" a stern "banhammering," cortex.

the safe word is "hall of robots"
posted by kosem at 11:24 AM on May 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


I also kinda/vaguely remember mathowie saying something, fairly recently, about working on a way to comment anonymously in AskMe.
posted by deborah at 11:41 AM on May 30, 2007


I think he and Jess may have kibitzed about it in the most recent podcast, actually.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:48 AM on May 30, 2007


iirc, what we were discussing was allowng the OP to be able to reply to their own anonymous threads which is something that there seems to be a higher demand for.

humblepigeon, I like your idea in a general sense, but the request, request, warning, warning aspect of it seems like it might be something that would require a bunch of administrative overhead to stay on top of. Generally I think people should be able to reply to a post with reasonable anonymity and there are a few mechanisms in place already for them to be able to do this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:15 PM on May 30, 2007


chlorus, post in that damn thread you miserable little worm. Am I going to have to punish you yet again in front of all these people? You don't wan to make mommy mad now, do you?
posted by madamjujujive at 12:43 PM on May 30, 2007 [5 favorites]


the safe word is "hall of robots"

But that's three -- ow! stop that!
posted by brain_drain at 3:29 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I agree with jess. If you want to reply anonymously (I'm looking at YOU chlorus!) just drop another fiver for a sockpuppet. I shall call mine: chlorus's sockpuppet.
posted by The Deej at 7:18 PM on May 30, 2007


« Older Comment Dividers   |   MTU values still causing problems? Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments