Why was this question anonymous? February 1, 2005 8:52 AM   Subscribe

I'm not sure I understand why a question about driving with earphones in, was posted anonymously...
posted by benzo8 to Etiquette/Policy at 8:52 AM (50 comments total)

I've understood most of the reaons up until now, but this alludes me, unless the author really knew the answer in the first place, knew that it was a dangerous (and thus selfish) thing he/she was proposing, and didn't want people to say "[x], you're an idiot". Or am I missing something?
posted by benzo8 at 8:52 AM on February 1, 2005

I think you answered your own question: the person knew he'd be abused, perhaps deservedly so. But why was it worthy of a MeTa post?
posted by anapestic at 8:57 AM on February 1, 2005

Because I didn't want to derail the AskMe thread to call the poster an idiot. I respect the sanctity of AskMe... ;-)
posted by benzo8 at 9:00 AM on February 1, 2005

Just wondering: Is the asking anonymously option a loophole to the 'posting-one-AskMe-question-a-week' policy?
posted by naxosaxur at 9:08 AM on February 1, 2005

Because the person may have a connection with his/her real-life identity linked via the profile page, and in the future, if he/she is ever in an auto accident someone might use this against anonymous?
posted by taz at 9:09 AM on February 1, 2005

MetaFilter alludes me.
posted by handee at 9:15 AM on February 1, 2005

Yes. Eludes. Sorry.

And taz - that sounds awfully worrying to me: "I'm going to ask a question about doing something I know pretty well is stupid, but I really, really want some small level of validation. Of course, I'm scared and so will post anonymously, and that gives me the beneficial side effect that, if I go off and do what people have advised me against doing (and I know full well myself is wrong), and it all goes tits up, then they won't be able to trace this question back to me."

Is that really how some people think?
posted by benzo8 at 9:21 AM on February 1, 2005

is anything really worthy of a post in metafilter ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:28 AM on February 1, 2005

Nah bezo, I agree, the only reason to post the question anonymously is to avoid legal culpability, which is across the line.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:34 AM on February 1, 2005

posted by squirrel at 9:35 AM on February 1, 2005

So all the DVD-ripping, file-sharing and music-swapping questions are across the line too, then?
posted by mcwetboy at 9:41 AM on February 1, 2005

Depends whether the line is drawn just before "people might die"...
posted by benzo8 at 9:43 AM on February 1, 2005

There's been a lot of anonymosity (I just made that word up!) on AskMe lately, but since #1 supposedly checks them out before he lets them appear on the site, I figgered they were ok. But really, some of them seem like clever ways to get around the one-a-week limit.
posted by goatdog at 9:50 AM on February 1, 2005

I asked a file-sharing question once anonymously only so that Matt could see it before it became public and he could nix it if he thought it inappropriate. I explained this to Matt in the body of the question submitted anonymously and he e-mailed to say that the question was fine and to re-post it under my own name. But if I hadn't specifically asked Matt to look at it for appropriateness I imagine it would've made it to the green as an anonymous question. So maybe something like that happened in this case.

goatdog: anonymity.
posted by TimeFactor at 9:55 AM on February 1, 2005

No, I'm fairly libertarian across the board on what I consider victimless crimes, but posting a question anon to avoid a future prosecution for showing foreknowledge that your behavior is negligent where someone could be injured or killed crosses the line and it smells a little depraved, you can go ahead and saw away at your own hobbyhorse though.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:57 AM on February 1, 2005

"Hi. I'm Lou and I'm a poster at AskMe."

12 steps closer to god!
posted by LouReedsSon at 9:59 AM on February 1, 2005

TimeFactor: yes, but goatdog said "anonymosity"
posted by terrapin at 10:01 AM on February 1, 2005

benzo8, I don't understand what you are saying here. I was only answering why someone would post this question anonymously, which is what you asked, I think.
posted by taz at 10:06 AM on February 1, 2005

And I was just following through the thought-process (as I imagined it) if that was someone's reasoning for wanting to ask said question anonymously. Which, as I said, I found worrying.

(I note also that my link in the AskMe thread to this MeTa thread has been deleted. Never noticed that happening before - is that some kind of minor moderation without actually deleting this thread too, if #1/#1a feel this call-out is unwarranted?)
posted by benzo8 at 10:12 AM on February 1, 2005

benzo9, I think you are confused about the purpose of AskMe. I don't care that much what your confusion is, but if you want to come here to have your confusion validated, you've probably made the wrong choice

AskMe is not a church, or a 12-steps program, or a psychiatrist's office. It's a place where one can ask "what is the best practical solution to this problem/question in your experience". If the answer is "don't do it, for these reasons....", fine and good. It doesn't need to be brought up in MeTa, does it?
posted by taz at 10:40 AM on February 1, 2005

1. Messing with someone's nick is very childish.
2. I'm not in the slightest bit confused about AskMe. I just think there should be some level of moral limit as to what is acceptable to ask. We all had a lot of fun with the "how do I dispose of a dead body", but that's what it was - fun. If anyone is seriously in any doubt as to whether they should drive with sound-exlusion headphones on and ask the question in AskMe, and moreso, manages to ask that question anonymously, then yes, I fully believe that MeTa should be the place raise the validity of said question, on whatever grounds.
posted by benzo8 at 10:52 AM on February 1, 2005

I don't think it deserves to be anonymous. Having asked a question on a web site does not constitute damning proof in court, as far as I know. In general, I think anonymity in AskMe is being used more for convenience than necessity.
posted by Hildago at 10:55 AM on February 1, 2005

Timefactor: The "anonymosity" was a joke. I thought it was clear, since I pointed out its non-wordness immediately after using it. Apparently I should have attached a fart cushion or a hand buzzer to make it more apparent.
posted by goatdog at 11:05 AM on February 1, 2005

benzo8: Moral limit? Why? And if you can answer that, Whose?
posted by taz at 11:19 AM on February 1, 2005

Because without morals, we are nothing.

And it would be flippant to say, my call-out, my morals.

Instead, I'll leave you to ponder a world where killing, via negligence, or otherwise, is not considered immoral by the majority.
posted by benzo8 at 11:36 AM on February 1, 2005

what taz said
posted by matteo at 11:39 AM on February 1, 2005

Because without morals, we are nothing.

Kinda solves the whole serial killer problem. Without morals, they are nothing. Being nothing, they can do nothing. Being able to do nothing, they cannot kill.
posted by Bugbread at 11:40 AM on February 1, 2005

Um. Yes. Of course.

/me steps out of this derail before it gets any more surreal.
posted by benzo8 at 11:42 AM on February 1, 2005

having recently posted a question to AskMe, no, you cannot post anonymously or namedly more than once a week.\

also, i'd say it's mathowie's morals. he set up the anonymous feature and he mods it. searching MeTa for "anonymous questions" will reveal several previous discussions on the anonymous feature.
posted by Igor XA at 12:16 PM on February 1, 2005

/me steps out of this derail before it gets any more surreal.

ach. That wasn't a derail; this was a derail. You pretend to ask about one thing, but then it really turns out that you are just wanting to expound about something else entirely.
posted by taz at 12:26 PM on February 1, 2005

I disagree with this callout. I'd rather that the anonymous person ask this question, be told how dangerous it is (as they were in the thread) instead of perhaps going ahead and doing it.

Yeah maybe they knew the answer in their gut but in a sense, he/she was looking to get talked out of it by getting more informed on what the dangers actually were. I think thats a valid use of ask.metafilter.
posted by vacapinta at 12:44 PM on February 1, 2005

goatdog: Yes, please, a fart cushion would be great if it's not too much trouble. Thanks so much.
posted by TimeFactor at 12:49 PM on February 1, 2005

Here you go. You can choose between the cushion and the high-tech, remote-controlled fart machine.
posted by goatdog at 1:08 PM on February 1, 2005

Taz, I hadn't even considered that someone might post such a question anonymously to avoid future legal complication until you mentioned it (in a perfectly legitimate answer to my question of "Am I missing something?") When I took onboard the fact that that could be the reason the poster went for anonymity, yes, it worried me and, yes, I felt a sense of moral confusion.

Obviously, what I failed to take into account, is having asked a question, and been given an answer by you, that that should have been the end of it. I apologise for stepping out of line by responding to your wisdom. I shalln't make that mistake again.
posted by benzo8 at 1:14 PM on February 1, 2005

Moral limit? That's ridiculous. Someone posts a question anonymously and you make the wholly unfounded leap to the wholly unfounded conclusion that they're specifically trying to avoid liability? It is among the crazier things I've heard, even here. And it's a conclusion that you reached only after this thread started, so it wasn't the reason for this wholly unnecessary thread. People should really think three or even four times before they start a thread over every little thing that they perceive to be less than ideal in the MeFiUniverse.
posted by anapestic at 1:17 PM on February 1, 2005

Yup, I said initially the reason for starting the thread was that I wanted to call the anonymous poster an idiot without derailing the metafilter thread.

It was taz who raised the spectre of avoiding criminal culpability, and I considered that and said I found it worrying.

I didn't realise that, having asked a question ("Am I missing something?") and being told that perhaps I was, that I was not allowed to consider that new information and respond to it.

posted by benzo8 at 1:26 PM on February 1, 2005

Ooo.. I can answer this one. Wait, someone already did. In the very first post of the question. Please see the linky. Thanks for playing!
posted by tinamonster at 1:48 PM on February 1, 2005

Alright already, I admit I was the Anonymous poster. I've never been called out here before and just knew in my heart someone would find my ridiculous post MeTa-worthy.

What a stupid thread. I can't believe some of the shit you people fight about. Pistols at ten paces, anyone? sigh.
posted by LouReedsSon at 1:52 PM on February 1, 2005

Whether you used the 'how to dispose of a dead body' thread for fun or profit was entirely up to the individual. Some people laughed; others took notes.

Moral limit? No thanks. Please limit your own involvement in other's morals.
posted by cosmonik at 2:03 PM on February 1, 2005

Please limit your own involvement in other's morals.

Amen. And second what anapestic said about starting a thread over every little thing you perceive to be less than ideal in the MeFiUniverse. And why is this especially prevalent at the start of a month, when it pushes all prior threads back into the deep recesses of the archives??
posted by languagehat at 2:31 PM on February 1, 2005

I never even look to see if the poster is anonymous or not. What does it matter?
posted by agregoli at 2:35 PM on February 1, 2005

IF there was something wrong with making anonymous posts, the feature would not have been implemented. So it's patently not worthy of a metatalk thread. If you don't like it that's your lookout ... make your own website.
posted by walrus at 3:47 PM on February 1, 2005

I only notice if I need additional information to answer the question, and realize that, being anonymous, they are extremely unlikely to be able to provide it (unless they've changed their minds and decided to decloak).

This particular AskMe question aside, the constant bile about anonymous posts just makes me think the same thing I think about people getting annoyed by folks talking on cell phones on trains: people talk to their friends all the time, and nobody has a problem. Put a cell phone to your ear and speak at the same volume, and all-of-a-sudden you're rude, a nuisance, etc. I figure it's because people are annoyed they can only listen to half the conversation. Same with anon posts. People are just annoyed that they don't get to know who's posting. Blaming voyeuristic tendencies on the person being watched, not the voyeur themselves.
posted by Bugbread at 3:59 PM on February 1, 2005

IF there was something wrong with making anonymous posts, the feature would not have been implemented.

In other news, innocent people are never sent to jail.
posted by bingo at 5:28 PM on February 1, 2005

The poor guy likes Koss. Anyone would be ashamed.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 5:59 PM on February 1, 2005

Because without morals, we are nothing.

Please define your terms.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:36 PM on February 1, 2005

stav (and everyone else): no, I shalln't define my terms. This isn't about morals, nor never should it have been.

taz played me very well - he first mentions criminal culpability, then, ignores my question of "do people really think like that", instead he acts dumb to get me to expand and then accusatory, jumping on a key, emotive word and gets me to explain further. Then follows the inevitable pile-on, as morals are, and always will be, subjective.

As for the "making a MeTa" post for every tiny thing that annoys me - a totally ridiculous accusation, as one click on my username would show that this was the only MeTa thread I've started in four years of being a member. It will almost certainly still be the only one in four more years after this.
posted by benzo8 at 1:05 AM on February 2, 2005

FYI: taz != he
posted by dg at 3:25 AM on February 2, 2005

Apologies for the gender confusion then - assume I was using "he" as a shortcut genderless pronoun...
posted by benzo8 at 4:37 AM on February 2, 2005

then, ignores my question of "do people really think like that"

Oh, if that's the issue, I can clear this up in a jiffy: Yeah, people really think like that.
posted by Bugbread at 5:10 AM on February 2, 2005

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