A forum without username


#1

I understand user account is necessary to join a forum.
Members with good reputation, of course, often have a good name associated with their user name.
However, other members may have prejudice against minority of member by their user name because of their characteristics in the past. Those affected members have asked to have their user account deleted or anonymized.

E.g. A member might stop replying to a particular member if he disliked him.

Why not put discussion first before people?

A forum without username might be a silly suggestion. Any thoughts on how to discourage “preconception” on certain members by their user name and list of activity on their profile?


#2

Hi there,
It is actually possible to post anonymously on Discourse, but I’m not sure that would get to the root of the problem.

Making judgements about people based on their prior behaviour is human nature and it happens IRL as well as online. That’s how we protect ourselves. I don’t want to hang out in a room and have a discussion with someone that says things that I find upsetting or insulting and the same applies online.


(Rafael dos Santos Silva) #3

Also, there are many examples of forums without usernames, like the imageboards and to some extent, reddit.


#4

I agree and disagree.

The identity in real life is different from identity online. Most people don’t change their face, their name or their gender.
Unlike in real life, identity online such as username and profile photo can be easily created and changed.

What if identity online is going to be unified and applied to all web accounts (e.g. cyber identity number) one day in the far future?


#5

I’m not sure I’m understanding your point. I agree that it’s easy to hide behind anonymity or a different persona online – are you wondering what will happen if that is no longer a possibility and that people have to be accountable for their behaviour?


(Roland) #6

Yeah and look at the kind of content 4chan attracts lol.


(Roland) #7

Ok funny but sad story here… a few years back I had a forum I was just building and was looking for content to start growing it. I was tired and thought to myself “Hey, I’ll post on 4chan and see if I can get some help. Those kids have no friends and nothing to do anyway.” I made a post to what i thought was a relevent and safe section and used a temp email for people to reply too. I got about 6 people wanting to help me. They signed up. Everything looked good. Then I went to sleep…

When I woke up I had about over 1k posts of all sorts of porn everywhere. Aparently right after I was offline they posted the url to random and other boards to “help” me with the site. Never again…


#8

I accept the possibility that one day people will have to be accountable for their behaviour online. I was hoping for less stigmatized comment online against the disabled because they have suffered enough in real life.


#9

Eeeeek, I’m completely lost now. We’re talking about the mistreatment of disabled people online?


#10

Partly yes, but partly no.

Sometimes not just the disabled, everyone else has negative feelings. Their rants normally left a bad impression.

I was reluctant to talk about it lengthy but I think you understoond my points.

Thank you for your concern.


(Eli the Bearded) #11

Personally, I think Discourse does a good job in this area. Unlike other forums, there is very little done to call out who is new and who is established. The comments they make are what is highlighted instead of signatures, join dates, posts made, etc.

I’m not a big fan of avatar flare and status seeking titles (like “regular” or “contributor”) as used here. Marking staff as staff rises to clearly useful, but the others off-putting I find.

Since there is nothing from stopping someone from using a new username with a new site, I think that your concerns about associations from usernames is misplaced. Pick a new name, start out, and make that name known for itself.


#12

The site doesn’t allow duplicate user account. Either change the user name with assistance from moderator or ask moderator to anonymize the old user account before signing up for new one. It is simply not practical.


(Roland) #13

New throw away email takes all of 2 mins to make and join under that. Its simple and practical if someone “must” have a new name


#14

I thought it is based on IP address, no?


(Roland) #15

My site is behind cloudflare and Ive seen same ip addresses sign up. I also see my ip address as a different one that it really is.


(Jeff Atwood) #16

All you can really do is have a policy against it, and moderators who actively step in when this happens.

Even without a username, certain text patterns or favorite topics are going to be recognizable as a certain person.