I had a request from a co-worker to find a way to offer “anonymous Q&A” to our division’s employees. At first blush, Discourse seemed like the wrong tool for the job: anonymous posting seemed anathema to the whole point of fostering open, friendly, but lively discussions. Discourse does have built-in support for anonymous posting, but it’s a global setting. What we needed was a way to restrict anonymous posting to a single category (or a select subset of them). Even better, make anonymous posting automatic, so that users don’t have to think about it (and can’t get it wrong).
This plugin lets you choose individual categories for “always-anonymous” behavior, where all posts and replies automatically use the anonymous pseudonym for the user instead of their actual identity. The user doesn’t have to opt-in, and more importantly, doesn’t need to remember to opt-out when they are done posting.
Here’s what that looks like:
After the plugin is installed, turn on the global setting to enable “always-anonymous” categories:
This plays very nicely with recent versions of discourse-feature-voting, which can be used to anonymously vote on topics. (The votes themselves aren’t anonymous, but the identities of the voters are not currently surfaced through the UI, unlike “Likes”.)