Enabling and Using Anonymous Mode

When anonymous mode is enabled, logged in users are able to switch from their normal account to an anonymous account. This allows users to create topics and replies without any details being displayed in the Discourse user interface to connect the anonymous user with its associated account.

Enabling anonymous mode

For self-hosted sites, enable anonymous mode by selecting the allow anonymous posting site setting. For sites on our hosting, send a message to our support team. We will enable anonymous posting for you.

Using anonymous mode

To enter anonymous mode, open your user menu by clicking your avatar from the site header, then clicking your username. From the user menu, click the “Enter Anonymous Mode” link to enter anonymous mode:

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After clicking the link, a new username and avatar will be generated for you:

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The username will be anonymous plus a number, for example anonymous1. The only anonymous user who will not have a number appended to their username is the first anonymous user who is created on the site.

Any topics or replies that you create while in anonymous mode will be created under the username that was generated for you.

To exit anonymous mode, click your avatar from the site header, then click the “profile” link to open your user menu. Select the “Exit Anonymous Mode” link to exit anonymous mode and get back to your regular user’s account:

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Anonymous mode settings

The anonymous posting min trust level site setting sets the minimum trust level that is required to enter anonymous mode.

The anonymous account duration minutes site setting sets the period of time that an anonymous account will remain in place after a user has entered and then exited anonymous mode. This setting defaults to 10080 minutes (7 days.) With the default value for this setting, if a user exits anonymous mode and then re-enters it within 7 days, they will be logged back into their previous anonymous account. If the user waits longer than 7 days before re-entering anonymous mode, a new anonymous account will be created for them.

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I’m working on a project addressing mental health. Is it possible to have all members anonymous to each other by default?

I don’t think that what you are wanting to do can be accomplished with anonymous mode. With anonymous mode, users will need to click the “Enter Anonymous Mode” link to enter anonymous mode from their regular account.

I’m wondering if you could accomplish what you are wanting to do by deselecting the enable names site setting. When that setting is disabled, user’s real names will not be displayed anywhere on the site. Disabling it also removes the Full Name field from the signup form. As long as users don’t give away any identifying information in the posts that they create, there shouldn’t be any way for users to associate a Discourse user account with a user’s real identity.

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Thank you @simon. This is very helpful!