Donated By "Anonymous" July 5, 2021 3:07 PM   Subscribe

Do you respond differently to an Ask from the Anonymous account versus a sock puppet account?

I'm weighing how to best post a difficult question. I would be curious to read others' experiences, whether as a poster, reader, or commenter. Do you respond differently to an ask from Anonymous versus a sock puppet, and how would you characterize those differences? If you've posted as either and would be open to sharing, I would love to read about your experiences.
posted by cursed to MetaFilter-Related at 3:07 PM (48 comments total)

No. The thing is, though, from anon there will almost never be clarification or elucidation that might prove useful.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:23 PM on July 5, 2021 [17 favorites]

This can be for good or for ill, but one factor to consider is that it’s a lot easier for a sock to respond to questions or add clarification if the conversation isn’t moving in a helpful direction.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 3:27 PM on July 5, 2021 [10 favorites]

There are times when a question needs to be anonymized but follow up details change how it can be answered; ie: location may drastically change the available answer(s). The bar for getting it right the first time is much higher for a question from anonymous. Similarity a string of questions from a sock puppet can be used for context. Nay will probably be used for context. YMMV.
posted by mce at 3:44 PM on July 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

A sock puppet is good if you need to follow up or clarify. People are rarely completely clear with the initial question.

Respind the same to both, there’s no difference.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:29 PM on July 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

I don’t spend a moment’s thought on who asked the question so that part won’t be different for me. But as you see in the responses above, your experience will potentially be better if you go one route as opposed to the other.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 4:42 PM on July 5, 2021 [4 favorites]

Ask questions are frequently initially imperfectly phrased or explained. The more perspective and clarity you have on the issue, the less likely you are to post it to AskMe, since you're likely to already know the answer.
posted by zamboni at 4:46 PM on July 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

I like to pretend Anonymous is just one person, plagued with endless trials like a modern Job.
posted by roger ackroyd at 4:58 PM on July 5, 2021 [130 favorites]

I don't feel like I do. With an actual account I might check back on posting history or location if it's unclear about something but that's not something I do as a habit, I prefer to take questions at face value.
posted by AlexiaSky at 5:40 PM on July 5, 2021 [3 favorites]

I'm probably less likely to make an attempt at answering an anonymous question if it's one that might need more info or clarification. It just feels like a waste of time to take a shot in the dark answer without being able to get any clarifications. But this is an edge case.
posted by primethyme at 6:05 PM on July 5, 2021 [4 favorites]

I never thought about it before, but now that I have given it 22 seconds of thought...

I prefer anonymous. In a way that may only make sense to me, an anonymous question is more transparent than someone hiding behind a sock. The anonymous asker is saying there is good reason I am choosing to be anonymous. I know it is more perception than reality, but to me a sock is not being straight with the fact that they want to remain anonymous.

On the other hand, every $5 helps the site so signing up for a sock is contributing to the site.
posted by AugustWest at 6:35 PM on July 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

I don't answer any differently, but I'm always slightly disappointed to realise a question is anonymous, because I'm always interested in the follow-ups from the poster. There's not much chance of closure with an anonymous question.

This wouldn't stop me asking a question anonymously if I wanted to, though.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 3:31 AM on July 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

I almost never pay attention to bylines in general so no difference in how I answer a question generally. If I become aware a question is anonymous I sometimes lay out all possible options rather than asking a follow up question.
posted by Mitheral at 6:36 AM on July 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

I don't view an anonymous question as different in choosing whether to answer it, but I agree that there are sometimes issues with a lack of clarification.
posted by FencingGal at 7:06 AM on July 6, 2021

Clarifications on anonymous questions, within reason, can be added via the mods.

As far as the original question, unless I get the feeling that there's something in a poster's history that would help provide a better answer to the current one, I take little to no notice of who posts a question.
posted by Candleman at 7:41 AM on July 6, 2021

Here I come, being a jerk.

But after 11+ years here, I have noticed two types of Anonymous Asks. One is where the details are truly sensitive and identifying or embarrassing. The other is where the person is angling for a specific answer or characterization of themselves, so they go anonymous with a "Was I wrong to insist my SO try a hamburger?" type of question so we can't say, "person! you said last week your significant other is vegan so yes you were wrong to only offer them a Big Mac for dinner!"

I answer those I feel are the first type of question, and try to ignore those I feel are the second type because obviously, I'm being an uncharitable jerk and nobody needs more of that on the internet. Everyone needs a hug.

As for sockpuppets, I feel like MF is populated by 100 people with one account, and 100 people with one real account and two sockpuppet accounts. I answer those normally and charitably, because in a few cases the sockpuppet ends up developing their own personality.
posted by kimberussell at 8:26 AM on July 6, 2021 [15 favorites]

I obviously don't pay enough attention, as I never even consider whether a particular account might be a sock puppet. I assume every account is upfront. Might not from now on though.
posted by Zumbador at 9:31 AM on July 6, 2021 [3 favorites]

I should start by noting that as someone who has worked as a mod, we don't know who asks Anonymous questions without digging in the database. Mods can see the little "Why does this need to be anonymous" answer people give, which is usually some variant of "Embarrassing" or "People know me in real life and I don't want them to know this" or "Don't want AskMe people to judge me" or whatever. I figure people can make their own choices there if mods don't feel like they're overusing or abusing the system. And mods are always available to post follow-ups, but yes there are a lot of people who don't follow up or clarify and I may be wrong but I feel like this happens more often with Anon questions. Even though mods technically have the ability to see if an AskMe is asked by a sock puppet account, I rarely look on the back end to see if this is the case.

I answer nearly all questions the same with the very specific exclusion of people who seem to be asking variants of the same question over and over and if I've already given them an answer before, I often won't do it again. I understand that for people with difficult stuff going on in their lives, they may really need to process that issue slowly and over time and I respect that, but I also don't feel the need to chime in again.

I think I've maybe used the Anon feature once in all the time I've been here, maybe twice. It's a feature that I am really glad is available.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:30 AM on July 6, 2021 [14 favorites]

How did I never realize before that anonymous actually has a profile and you can look at all of their questions? (Also somehow they have 3 answers and 1 comment on the blue....)
posted by primethyme at 12:08 PM on July 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

I've never posted from a sock, but I've noticed that responses to some of my anonymous questions seem to be a lot less charitably read/interpreted than the ones where I'm named. This might just me being oversensitive.
posted by ftm at 1:42 PM on July 6, 2021 [3 favorites]

Also somehow they have 3 answers and 1 comment on the blue...

That happens when something gets anonymized post facto.
posted by Mitheral at 2:04 PM on July 6, 2021 [3 favorites]

Some sock puppets are obvious but that's not a requirement. Establish a new account with no footwear in the name, MeFi gets 5 bucks, you get an account with no history.

I usually barely notice the asker's name, but it can be an issue when there no option for more information.
posted by theora55 at 3:40 PM on July 6, 2021

I will say I am a teensy bit relieved when a sockpuppet account is identified as such because sometimes when there's a tough question from a brand-new account, I wonder if that person is an advice-bombing mode, posting on subreddits, other forums, emailing Ask a Manager and Dear Prudence and Captain Awkward, etc. And I wonder if they have a good understanding of the kinds of replies they will get here. (Not in a "don't help a newbie!" way, just more "oh, my crystal ball says this Asker is about to post defensive replies to every single comment, and this thread might not be what they thought it was going to be.")
posted by Charity Garfein at 6:58 PM on July 6, 2021 [7 favorites]

To be honest, I usually don't notice the byline on the question until after I've answered. Other than a large handful of regulars, I wouldn't be able to tell a sockpuppet from a primary account anyway.

Usually what prompts me to even look who asked is if I'm tempted to ask for more info, obviously anonymous can't do that. Or when my answer gets a couple of favorites, I'm always interested if the asker found my answer helpful.

(And if it was favorited by the asker, then I have to go check if they are a favorite-every-answer type asker or a favorite-the-best-answers type asker.)
posted by ctmf at 8:38 PM on July 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

If I see one is anonymous, I'm more likely to read it because I assume there is an interesting reason it's anonymous, whereas I might overlook the sock puppet one while skimming.

Something else to keep in mind is that if you ask an anonymous question (not that I ever have, *ahem*), you should Add it to Activity. I sometimes will hold off on belatedly answering an anonymous question, figuring it's probably 50-50 that the OP will even go back to see it.
posted by slidell at 10:48 PM on July 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

OK maybe I'm naive, but I was not aware that sockpuppet accounts were really a thing. I know they exist, but like, so does Steve Wozniak's account, and I don't see him posting all over. Is this really common?
posted by kevinbelt at 10:16 AM on July 7, 2021

Over 500 users with the word 'sock' in their name.
posted by AugustWest at 10:25 AM on July 7, 2021 [3 favorites]

There are also people whose sockpuppet accounts don't actually include the word "sock" but have other footwear-related references.
posted by Lexica at 10:55 AM on July 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

Plus I can think of two users whose names include "sock", and if they're sockpuppets, they're really active sockpuppets.
posted by kevinbelt at 11:09 AM on July 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

I asked an anonymous question once because I was contemplating something that I thought might make colleagues -- some of who I think are MeFites -- look askance at me, and quickly got an answer that from an angle I hadn't thought of, explaining that what I was thinking about was from this angle actually wildly illegal, and I was very grateful for the anonymity that day.

I knew the risks going in of being unable to easily follow up and clarify as I would with a sock, and I assume other posters grok that difference. I also don't trust myself not to accidentally log into a browser-remembered sock puppet account and blat something out that shows the connection immediately because I am an idiot.
posted by Shepherd at 4:09 PM on July 7, 2021 [4 favorites]

Situational for me: if the question/answer is general enough to be of help to other, future ask.mefi readers, then I don't care whether the poster is anonymous or a sock . If my answer has very specific information that either gives away too much information about me, or won't be generally helpful to other readers (e.g. question is related to my specific industry or my location), then I will likely send a me-mail rather than posting. However, I'm not going to try to work through the mods to relay something back to an anonymous poster.

Aside on sock puppet accounts: I'm writing this from a sock puppet account that has become my primary. After answering > 1000 questions over a long period of time on my "main" account, I became uncomfortable with all of the bread crumbs I had left about myself and now only log in on my sock. But can you really call a seven year old account with a couple of dozen comments and answers a sock? Maybe I should really call it a "brand new day" account.
posted by BlueTongueLizard at 5:01 PM on July 7, 2021 [3 favorites]

I should start by noting that as someone who has worked as a mod, we don't know who asks Anonymous questions without digging in the database.

Is this true though? Because I was told by the mods that I ask too many anonymous questions and so they disabled my ability to do so. I probably did ask a lot (I don't remember any more), but it's been maybe ten years and I'm still not allowed to (I get a message that says "You've already posted in the past seven days" when I haven't asked any sort of question for weeks). I've periodically asked for this functionality to be re-enabled, figuring it had been long enough and I'd learned my lesson, but I've yet to receive a reply.

If the mods actually couldn't see who was posting anonymous questions I don't think the above would have happened.

Like it's not my website so whatever, you can do what you want with the functionality of my account, so I never kicked up a fuss in a Metatalk or anything. But I have to say something now because I think it's bullshit that you'd claim you don't know who's asking the questions when you demonstrably do.
posted by Anonymous at 11:12 AM on July 8, 2021

Like, I just found the email. It was from 2009. cortex sent it and jessamyn, you were CC'd. A snippet from it, but if you'd like me to post the whole thing in case you feel more context is necessary I'm more than happy to. The rest can be summarized as "you're not in trouble, set up a sockpuppet if you think you need more frequent anonymous questions, but don't use that to get around the once-every-seven-days rule" (back in those days you could only post one question a week).

. . . [I]t looks like you've been using the anonymous function way more than we expect people to. The feature is intended as an every-once-in-a-while thing -- something to use maybe once or twice a year if that, when something exceptional comes up where anonymity is needed for some compelling and generally unanticipated reason. It's there as a service, but the compromise is that teh use of the feature dilutes a little bit the expectation of, if not totally open real-world identities on mefi, at least some consistency in pseudonymous interactions with the site across an account's history. An anonymous question every once in a while isn't a big problem on that front, but in large volume it starts to become one, and that's where we're feeling like we are in this case.

Let me emphasize: this is your prerogative. However, you guys are clearly in some way tracking who is posting questions and it is annoying that you would try to give the impression that this is not the case.
posted by Anonymous at 11:47 AM on July 8, 2021

Without knowing any details, I don't think those two scenarios are incompatible. Jessamyn's answer indicated to me that mods not knowing an anonymous poster's identity is just a UI issue; she mentioned "digging in the database", which clearly indicates that the database does store the poster's identity. It's pretty common for database tables to have columns for reporting purposes that aren't displayed in to users. As I understand the mod position, I wouldn't expect them to be regularly querying the database. And they could also set up automated reports to flag users with >x anonymous posts in y time period.
posted by kevinbelt at 12:37 PM on July 8, 2021

I mean, sure, if that's what you want to believe.
posted by Anonymous at 12:44 PM on July 8, 2021

schroedinger, is it possible other members of your household (or wherever you access the site) have active MetaFilter accounts? As in, perhaps the question submission system clocks the IP address, and flags multiple Asks from that address?

It's not working right and needs to be resolved, regardless; I'm just wondering if you're one of many users experiencing Ask MetaFilter glitches.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:59 PM on July 8, 2021

In a comment part way through a MeTa thread linked to in the FAQ, it's clarified that (at least back in 2012), anonymous AskMes end up in a queue to be approved, and the mods (or some subset of them?) get an email that says something like "[Username] asked a question, go to the queue to approve it" but without a link to the actual question. So the mods could match timestamps of emails to timestamps of when something entered the queue if they needed to verify who posted an anon ask, but can otherwise maintain a bit of vague disconnect between who submitted a particular request. This explains how they knew if one user had been submitting a ton of anonymous questions lately—lots of emails saying "shroedinger asked a question…", even if they didn't know which questions that user asked.

How effective this semi-anonymization ends up being probably also depends on how full the queue is when a mod goes to approve things from it—if it's got a dozen things in it each time, who knows which one a particular user asked? But if there's only one anonymous question a day (which seems to be the case more often recently), then the mod probably has a better idea of which of the one or two anonymous asks go with the "[username] asked a question…" email.

NB: This is all based on mod comments from 2012, for lack of more recent info, so while it is relevant to shroedinger's case, it may or may not be how things currently work, with a different set of mods and ways of dividing the workload.
posted by JiBB at 2:01 PM on July 8, 2021

The mods can easily know how many questions you asked without knowing which questions you asked. The system of course knows which questions you asked ( that is how the time out lock works). And the mods can use that system knowledge to query, either regularly or on an ad-hoc basis, to find out who the top anonymous questioners are or who has asked over a threshold per time unit and still not know who asked any particular question or what questions were yours.

The mods can, with work, find that information out if say someone asks how to commit suicide or something. But it is not something they normally see.
posted by Mitheral at 2:05 PM on July 8, 2021

Thank you for clarifying the issue, JiBB. Iris Gambol, as far as I know all of the requests came from me and the removal of privileges was not a glitch (if it was I assume they would've fixed it when I sent them emails about it). Like I said: if the mods don't want me to have that ability it's their website and they can do what they want. But after my experience I took umbrage at the suggestion there was no tracking going on.
posted by Anonymous at 2:49 PM on July 8, 2021

Came to agree with kimberussell and ftm.

If I can tell why it’s anonymous then I treat it as any question and if I can, I try to help. Sometimes though those anonymous quesitons leave out certain details that are needed and are not identifying, and in those cases I sometimes feel the asker is pushing for a certain answer. I will still answer if I can, but I can’t say it doesn’t effect how I craft the response, because it totally does.

I looked back at some recent anonymous questions to see if I could put this general feeling into an example.
1) Asking where to get a haircut for a trans person in a given city, I have no problem at all understanding why one would want to be anonymous in that situation.
2) Asking about wanting another child when the other parent doesn’t, but carefully avoiding saying which person is the child-bearing parent or would be for the hypotheical next child, very very odd. I mean I get why it’s anonymous in the first half, but not why that key information was withheld, and I wasn’t the only one. I think the answers in that thread spent as much time dealing with the lack of that information as they did actually trying to asnwer the question.
posted by tiamat at 3:33 PM on July 8, 2021 [3 favorites]

Mod note: I will ask cortex to address the more complicated questions about digging into the database when he is next online (and schroedinger, your specific situation was before my time so I can't speak to that). "Regular mods" DO NOT get e-mails that say "X asked a question, click here to approve it," and I have never met the database. Instead, at the top of the admin page, there's a list of queues, like so:

Pending: anon askmefi ⚪, projects ⚪, metatalk ⚪, fanfare 🟢, mall ⚪

And inside each of those circles is a number. frimble added nifty color coding; when there's nothing in the queue OR the anon queue has questions less than 24 hours old, the numbers have a grey circle. When an anon question is "ripe" or something new is in one of the other queues, the circle turns green to say "Hey, take action on me!" and if things sit there, they turn yellow after 24 hours (48 for anon), and then red after 48 (72 for anon) to let us know there's something more urgent to get to. (Something popped up in the fanfare queue while I was writing this comment, so imagine that green circle has a 1 in it, and I'll go approve it when I finish this comment and it'll go back to zero and grey.)

Anyway, we get no notification of new anon questions; we look at the admin page and see if there's a green light there that wants attention. We go in and read the question -- no user info is attached in the queue -- and approve it, or refuse it and attach a reason to the refusal ("this seems way too personally identifiable" or "poster asked to have this question removed"), or say "huh. I'm not sure what to do with this one" in which case we generally go over to the staff slack and say "hey look at the anon in the queue, I'm not sure what to do with it" and then it might sit for a while until other staff members weigh in.

Anons wait in the queue for 24 hours for two reasons: First, that means the user is probably online when the question goes up (that is, it's not the middle of the night for them), and second, an awful lot of people post anons in the immediate aftermath of something horrible and stressful, and after they get a little distance and a good night's sleep, they e-mail us and ask us not to post the question because it was an emotional mess and they want to go ahead with a clearer, more focused, less-emotional question (either anon or sometimes under their main or sock accounts), or they talked with a therapist or a friend or a partner and have answered a bunch of their question themselves.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 5:24 PM on July 8, 2021 [11 favorites]

So does that mean that an anonymous question is basically guaranteed to never be approved in less than 24 hours? I haven't posted one in a long time, so I can't remember how long it took. (This isn't a gripe; I'm just curious. Thanks for the peek into the process!)
posted by primethyme at 6:57 PM on July 8, 2021

Yeah, cortex can show up later with more specifics if he wants, but basically the system radically changed from "Only mathowie even sees the anon queue" to the "We have a system that preserves user anonymity that multiple mods can manage independently" system that exists now.

In between there was a system that would email mathowie (and later he and I, and later I think him, me, and cortex) saying something like "Anon question asked by jessamyn approve it here [LINK]" I don't remember specifically, and I deleted all those emails so can't check. We wouldn't see the specific question and the link just went to the question queue which always seemed to have a bunch of questions in it. And we'd often approve them out of order.

So, in order to link the asker (which we'd get in email) with the question, there would either have to be a weird situation where there were no questions in the queue--volume was higher then and that basically never happened--or pb would have to mess around in the database and match up timestamps of the email that was sent and the question that was posted. That was literally the only way, and we'd only do it basically if someone seemed suicidal or if there was some other emergency situation.

So we could tell if someone was using the feature a lot by seeing if we'd gotten a lot of emails saying that USERNAME was asking anon questions, but we wouldn't know what those questions were.

EM explains how the system works now and I don't think there is any email generated, but I know for certain I wasn't getting any.

So does that mean that an anonymous question is basically guaranteed to never be approved in less than 24 hours?

Sometimes they would get approved faster if something seemed non-problematic (i.e. not as EM states above, something that might be later regretted -- happens an awful lot) but there is consideration given to a user's likely awake time based on when they asked the question. If something is urgent (and not clusterfucky) a user could email and ask for something to be approved quickly which I know mods have done in the past.

I've periodically asked for this functionality to be re-enabled, figuring it had been long enough and I'd learned my lesson, but I've yet to receive a reply.

Last email I see from you about this was in 2010, though I had a few years off in there and could have missed some. mathowie and pb were notoriously bad at replying to email however. Mods nowadays reply to nearly every reply-requiring email from users (not always MeMail) so maybe check back in?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:32 PM on July 8, 2021 [3 favorites]

Mod note: "So does that mean that an anonymous question is basically guaranteed to never be approved in less than 24 hours?"

That is generally the process, like jessamyn says -- I cannot overemphasize how many people e-mail us the next morning in their time zone and ask us to remove a question b/c they were extremely upset and freaking out, but with a little time and sleep, they've started to put it in perspective and have reached out for local support. It was really startling to me when I came on staff! (But I totally get it, I've done that too, completely freaked out about something, texted everyone in my life, finally cried myself to sleep, and woke up the next morning being like, "Okay, this sucks, but it's not the ACTUAL end of the world, and now that I am not exhausted and panicking, I can see next steps.") But if someone e-mails us and says they've put in a time-sensitive anon, or if we happen to notice a time-sensitive anon while checking the queue, and it doesn't seem like something someone might regret, we'll go ahead and put it through.

I thiiiiiiink frimble may have actually put the "timer" for the green light at like 22 hours, so that mods checking in at the beginning of a busy shift can approve anons that are ALMOST 24 hours old, and then check again at the end of the shift. This was a bigger deal during the megathread era when you might not get any breathing space at all during a shift, and only check the queues at the beginning and end of the shift. But any time the site is busy or fighty, or a mod is sick, or there's some kind of insurrection storming the US capitol, the queues might only get hit once or twice a shift, so the anon approval timing might be a bit weirder then.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 9:39 PM on July 8, 2021 [2 favorites]

Mod note: Heya, following up and clarifying a couple things above, including schroedinger's question about the anon block situation. I think between Jess and EM and those older 2012-era MetaTalk comments, people have pretty much gotten the overall picture down, but: here's how the anonymous Ask process works:

- User X submits a question via the Anonymous sub-page of the New Question page on Ask.
- The system generates an email that goes out to two mods (to avoid a single point of failure) that says User X has submitted an anonymous Ask.
- The system stores the question itself in the database, sans any identifying information. This is an intentional break in continuity of identity; User X is not related to the question within the database, period.
- When a mod clocks on for a shift (and probably again before they clock off), they look at the status of the queues EM illustrated above. If there's any ripe questions, they'll go through and make an approve/reject/discuss decision about them.
- If an anon asker wants to follow up, they can reach out to the mods at the contact form (or mefimail in a pinch but the turnaround time on that is going to be much spottier depending on shifts).
- If an anon asker wants to know about why their question didn't go through (or whether it just hasn't gone through yet), they need to contact that mods, which again the contact form is the way to go there, and we'll ask them what the subject was so we can find it in the queue that way.

Currently the two mods that get the "User X has asked an anonymous question" email are me and taz; previously (as in probably prior to 2014?) it was me and Jess, previously to that it was some combo of just mathowie or him and Jess and in any case it was a long time ago and I wasn't involved. But the current setup there is how it's been for a long time.

Neither taz nor I pay any real attention to those emails, because (a) they have no content and (b) we really don't care and who is asking stuff anonymously is general not our business. We just need the emails to deal with occasional problem situations, which usually means a suicide/self-harm thing, more occasionally something just plain odd in one way or another that needs looking at. We (meaning either taz or I, specifically) can use some elbow grease to correlate an anon question with an asker by looking through both the anon question content in the MeFi database and the content of our individual email archives, but no other mods can accomplish that and someone with access to the database but not those email accounts can't either.

The only way we'd notice someone using the anon feature a lot is if it's enough that their username is jumping out even as a keyword in emails we don't particularly pay attention to in the first place. It's happened a few times over the years; I didn't remember off-hand the 2009 episode with you, schroedinger, but I've looked through my email archives and found the initial email chain you were quoting from above to get context.

Which, it looks like Matt or pb did in fact put a block in place there in late 2009, in what in retrospect feels like a very 2000s Matt-era move in that it wasn't communicated clearly or discussed with the mod team ahead of time, It Just Quietly Happened and Jessamyn and I found out after the fact when you asked what was up. I was also under the clear impression from reading that email chain that they were removing the block after we'd had that discussion about throttling back on anons, but it sounds like that didn't happen, which sucks and I'm not sure why that's the case.

I've periodically asked for this functionality to be re-enabled, figuring it had been long enough and I'd learned my lesson, but I've yet to receive a reply.

I see a followup from you from late Feb of 2010 asking about undoing the block; I don't see a reply on it so if anyone had gotten back to you it wasn't via reply-all. Also don't know why that happened, though I know we hadn't firmed up our "try to respond to basically every contact form message" policy until a year or two later when we had something approaching round the clock staffing finally. But that sucks too.

I can't find any other messages from you about it since 2010, though there's been mail about other stuff; you may have rightly thought "well, fuck it" after the non-response that Feb and felt like it had come up more recently, or their could have been email via some channel I'm not on, but as far as I know that was the last point of discussion about it with the mod team. If you've sent something that I should have seen but missed, I am very sorry about that; we try hard to be responsive when folks write in.

Whatever the case there, it's shitty that that block stayed in place all this time; it shouldn't have happened like that in the first place and it should have been undone after we had that initial conversation about it in 2009 or when you brought it up in 2010. I'll ask frimble to track the block down and undo it when they're next able; it's a custom tweak to the db, not something mods can do, but hopefully they can sort it out this weekend. I'm sorry about the weird long-haul runaround on that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:08 PM on July 9, 2021 [7 favorites]

I am pretty sure I reached out more times than that, but it honestly doesn't matter that much to me--I didn't want to make the thread about that issue. My original point was that it seemed like mods were tracking anonymous questions. I'm glad for the provided clarification.
posted by Anonymous at 8:06 AM on July 10, 2021

Mod note: Quick update: frimble has that fixed now, schroedinger.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:31 AM on July 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

Can assume that the next 7 anon questions are shroedinger who has been saving them up for years? .
posted by AugustWest at 7:40 PM on July 11, 2021 [6 favorites]

It seems almost eponysterical re: schroedinger?

Anyway, I answer anon questions the same as everyone else. Yeah, they can't follow up, but given the general social context of Ask Mefi being "for the love of god, don't keep posting and posting to your own question, you can say maybe ONE response after 24 hours," it's probably better that someone be anonymous and thus prevented from that temptation. If I ask something, I don't look at it for 24 hours for that reason.

As for having done anon questions, it's usually for reasons of work, embarrassing, or identifies me too much if it's in my personal history. Not a huge deal. Nice option to have.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:50 PM on July 15, 2021

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